E.C. Hanes Rides the Bus to Fame

SPONSORED CONTENT: Immigration issues pervade our newsfeeds now more than ever—especially following the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. In his super-popular recently released book, The Bus to Beulah, author E.C. Hanes brings to light this and other significant and timely social issues (think human trafficking, local politics) so as to bring attention to the uncomfortable but significant matters that we sometimes avoid discussing.

According to Hanes, an estimated 160,000 to 200,000 seasonal immigrant workers come to the U.S. for the agricultural and tourism industry every year, with North Carolina ranking as one of the top landing states. 

“Hanes’ prose is tight, forthright, and no-nonsense as he illuminates the lives of multiple characters willing to risk everything for a chance at survival.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Thus, through his heart-wrenching tale, the NC native hopes to appeal to the hearts of North Carolinians while educating readers about immigration workers in NC and the corruption behind the scenes.

Set in Eastern North Carolina, Hanes’ riveting masterpiece is a thrilling and fast-paced novel organized in an hour-by-hour structure. It introduces Maria Puente, a fictional character who discovers a human-trafficking ring in the midst of starting a new job in America and, after stumbling into the knowledge of the ring, is kidnapped. While locals work together to try to find her, the county sheriff discovers many conditions of human and drug trafficking that had been overlooked by dishonest or indifferent state officials. 

“It’s a societal problem,” says Hanes. “Society wants to pretend it’s something that it isn’t—and I always find it compelling to set a story within that idea.” Thus, Hanes purposefully aims to fit the topic into a story that is at once entertaining, educational and eye-opening. 

And he’s undoubtedly succeeded. … “In The Bus to Beulah, Hanes skillfully zeroes in on what happens when our byzantine immigration laws, the powerful farmers’  lobby and local politics collide in bucolic North Carolina,” says The New York Times former executive director Howell Raines.

“This is a story based on a lot of research on immigration, which is essential in NC and one of the biggest parts of our economy,” says Hanes. “Yet, if you took a poll, many people would say ‘keep [immigrants] out,’ but then we would have no food, few buildings… and everyone seems to look past that. Hopefully, if this is read and paid attention to, everyone will understand the critical role that immigrants play in our lives.” Barnes & Noble, local bookstores and online; echanes.com

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.