1: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wanted to go back in time to West Africa, when I traveled there in the early eighties. It was a different place than today in that the risk to white foreigners, western, or European travelers, was not so pronounced. The US State Department didn’t warn us to stay close to the main cities, and never travel alone. Such as it was, I was able to get around without the sense that my mere presence would incite trouble.
Plus I wanted to tell a story about a father trying to find and repair his relationship with his son, a subject very close to my heart.
So I set the story in a place and time that was familiar to me, and struggled with the father’s journey not only though the countryside but through his own feelings and past behavior.
2: What genre does your book come under?
Let’s say Adventure, or possibly Family Adventure, or Crime.
3: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I could see Jeff Daniels as Matt, the midwestern father in search of his son. Maybe Chris Rock as Jean-Louis, the angry concierge. Mary Steenburgen as Melanie, Matt’s ex-wife, organizing the trip to force the two men in her life to come back together.
4: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Matt Reiser fulfills his ex-wife’s request to travel to west Africa in search of their estranged son, and upon arrival he is drugged, robbed, and left penniless and paperless in an Abidjan slum.
So starts the book and Matt’s journey of discovery.
5: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
My book is self-published. And I plan on self-publishing all my books, even if I get lucky and one turns out to be an exceptional hit. I like the independence. And I will remain a GREAT fan of all independents.
6: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took about eight weeks. Revision can take me many months more, depending on how much time I have to devote to remake and rework the story, the characters, and the language throughout. And I reworked this story at least a dozen times over the course of eighteen months.
7: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I just wanted to write the kind of book I like to read. Plus I really missed my son, and writing about those feelings a father has for his son, I felt a little bit closer to him, even though not physically closer.
8: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Take a look at the headlines coming out of north Africa. My characters are amalgams of some of the people I met and got to know over the course of my travels through the territory. There was always a tremendously strong and prevalent feeling about the former French colonists, and this I noticed and felt constantly. There was and still is a seething animosity toward that chapter of history. It’s not surprising to see that historical and cultural resentment flare up as it has recently.
If you’re interested in looking a little bit deeper into the territory through the eyes of fictional characters, then this is the book for you.
Now! Let’s get to know this great new novelist: