Tag Archives: Africa

About Facing the Son, a Novel of Africa

1: Where did the idea for the book come from?

I wanted to go back in time to the West Africa I traveled in the early eighties.  It was a different place than today. The risk to white, western, or European travelers was not as pronounced.  The US State Department didn’t warn to stay in the main cities.  Such as it was, I got 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 close to my heart.

So I set the story in a place and time that was familiar to me, and struggled with a father’s journey not only though the territory but through his own feelings and past behavior.

2: What genre does your book come under?

Let’s say Adventure, or possibly Family Adventure.

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 a 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.  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 allowed me to feel a little closer to him.

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:

Tom Gething


Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2005. Biafra. Famine. Distended bellies. Massacres. Rock concert to raise awareness. Overwhelming military force used to conquer a short-lived breakwaway republic. Somewhere in Africa. A faraway place. A natural consequence of post-colonial self-government.

Which of these impressions did you have of Biafra? If any. Find Biafra on a map. Which country did it break from and why? Who won and who lost? How many people died? Which European country was the past colonial master and how did it respond?

If you’re like me, even if you lived through the Biafran saga – when was that again? – your knowledge is/was incomplete. Yes there was a tragedy which involved those issues and images from the first paragraph above. But the genesis of the conflict? The outcome?

The beautifully narrated Half of a Yellow Sun filled in the many gaps in my knowledge of this sad chapter in African post-colonialism. Adichie follows up her impressive debut novel Purple Hibiscus with a richly nuanced story of the Biafran separatist effort told from the perspective of five main characters: the teenage houseboy, the academic revolutionary, the twin sisters from a powerful and corrupt trading family, and the ex-pat gone native after colonial rule. Each perspective illuminates a group that suffered and survived, but not without tragedy and loss.

With intimate understanding of her tribal and national culture, of her family history, and of the impact international diplomacy had on local events, Adiche creates a compelling and powerful narrative. The main characters come of age as does the newly independent country at a time and within an environment when self-interest among nations created a disastrous situation for the innocents on the ground.

These individuals caught in the vice of history first met when struggling to make their ways in the heady world of independence. Gradually, the forces that shaped their personalities made demands that pit the individuals against their native groups and in the struggle for survival no one was blameless for the suffering of friend, family, neighbor, and countryman.


Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

1959. Love it or hate it, Achebe’s tale of a flawed tribal patriarch is a powerful and important contribution to twentieth century literature.

Think back to 1959. Liberation from colonial masters had not yet swept the African continent when this book appeared, but the pressures were building. The US civil rights movement had not yet erupted, but the forces were in motion. Communism and capitalism were fighting a pitched battle for control of hearts and minds, for bodies and land, around the world. Africans would suffer under the proxy wars waged there to keep the Cold War cold.

Achebe tells the tale of Okonkwo, a young man of some fame throughout the nine villages and beyond for his wrestling prowess. He is a product of his land, his culture, his religion, and his people. He represents a way of life which admires and rewards strength, loyalty, hard work, a strong hand, and strict adherence to a social code.

He builds his life, takes wives, works his land, produces boys and girls to honor and carry on his legacy. When duty to the tribe makes demands, he must respond even if that response requires great personal sacrifice.

You can’t read this book through the prism of your own experience. Part of the mystery of fiction from cultures far afield from your own is the chance it affords to consider how men and women of a certain time and place grappled with the very human issue of living within an exotic social group.

Consider your own social group, and imagine how you would explain your daily and exceptional actions to someone from another religion, from another country, from another language group, from another generation, from another century. Where would you start? Perhaps by considering how you spend a normal day, then how you arrived at the great choices that formed your life. That’s a helluva task to set yourself. In my humble opinion, that was the task Achebe set for himself in writing this book.


FREE Day on Kindle. Sunday, April 15. What You Got to Lose?

Former Number One at Kindle Action and Adventure.

Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa

Free all day Sunday. Load up a great summer read.

The Best Choice in 2012, March 15, 2012 By Cat mom (LI NY) – This book is different from my usual Kindle choices…. It was absolutely outstanding. I found the African setting interesting. The father’s search for his son drove the exciting plot. The novel was worth many stars.*

I loved this book, March 12, 2012 By Jim Brumm – I can’t believe that this wonderful book is as inexpensive as it is. It is a great read of a father’s quest to find his son in Africa to deliver a letter from the boy’s dying mother. But it’s so much more than that. It is a saga of cultures clashing, of regret, redemption, and adventure, all told with great writing. There aren’t enough good books that are set in Africa. This is one of the best. I would have been happy to pay $10 for this book.

Captivating! March 5, 2012 By BookAddict (FL) – I was engrossed in this story from beginning to end. The plot is multi-layered, with mystery, suspense, drama and adventure. The characters are unique and have many dimensions. They made me care and I wanted to crawl inside the story with them. The dialogue is realistic. The ease of the descriptions immersed me in African countries and cultures. I did not simply read this story. I experienced it.


FREE Days on Kindle. Friday, March 30 & Saturday, March 31.

Former Number One at Kindle Action and Adventure.

Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa  Get it here!

FREE Friday and Saturday, March 30 & 31. Load up a great summer read.

The Best Choice in 2012, March 15, 2012 By Cat mom (LI NY) – This book is different from my usual Kindle choices…. It was absolutely outstanding. I found the African setting interesting. The father’s search for his son drove the exciting plot. The novel was worth many stars.*

I loved this book, March 12, 2012 By Jim Brumm – I can’t believe that this wonderful book is as inexpensive as it is. It is a great read of a father’s quest to find his son in Africa to deliver a letter from the boy’s dying mother. But it’s so much more than that. It is a saga of cultures clashing, of regret, redemption, and adventure, all told with great writing. There aren’t enough good books that are set in Africa. This is one of the best. I would have been happy to pay $10 for this book.

Captivating! March 5, 2012 By BookAddict (FL) – I was engrossed in this story from beginning to end. The plot is multi-layered, with mystery, suspense, drama and adventure. The characters are unique and have many dimensions. They made me care and I wanted to crawl inside the story with them. The dialogue is realistic. The ease of the descriptions immersed me in African countries and cultures. I did not simply read this story. I experienced it.


My First Amazon FREE Day! Sunday, February 19

Rush over to Amazon for my first free promo on KDP Select. Load your Kindle with a wild journey through the African countryside.

Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa

 Go here.  NOW!

And thank you for making the trip.


Follower Love Giveaway Hop

A father’s enduring love for his estranged son propels him on a mission to West Africa.

The trip misery piles up but nothing can deter Matt Reiser from finding his son.  Except his son.

Use this code: RD36Z at this site for a free copy of Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa.

Or for a 99 cent copy click Kindle.

Back to the hop here.