Tag Archives: Ivory Coast

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

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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.

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Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Excerpt, Facing the Son

Coupon Code: KK44Q
Expires: November 12, 2011

Click here and use the above code for free e-copy of Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa.

Matt Reiser, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, landed in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on a May evening in 1979.  He woke the next morning with a terrible headache.    

He rubbed his neck, his skin hot, gritty, and sticky, and blinked directly into a bright parched wall.  He sat up with a jerk.  “Ow!”  His back.  He twisted himself upright, confused, on a hard pack street.  A group of strange people stood over him.  A short heavy bald man in a horizontally striped shirt dangled a cigarette from his lips.  A severe woman with critical eyes held a headless chicken by its feet.  Several ill-dressed men looked on from behind.

“Get away from me!”  Matt waved his arms to shoo the crowd.  “What are you looking at?”  He meant to shout but coughed.  He was groggy.  His body didn’t respond.  He needed to focus.  “Where am I?” 

Matt struggled to his feet and felt the blood fall from his head, placed his palms on the wall for balance.  The wall felt warm and rough, and he waited for the dizziness to pass before turning to see where the hell he was.  The sun caught him in the face.  Too bright.  Couldn’t see.  Shaded his eyes. 

Who were these people?  The bald man stared at Matt.  Made him aware of his heavy, crumpled sport coat.  Matt pressed his lower back to stand straight.   

“Where is this?”  He stepped away from the wall, turned his attention to the area around the building, and stumbled into the street, splashing through a curbside rivulet. 

“The hell?”  He looked at his wet socks.  “Where are my shoes?”  He looked around and saw tenements running the length of the street in both directions. Weeds, spindly bushes, even a short tree, poked through the broken road.  Trash lay in scattered piles.  An old cane chair with a busted seat butted up against a wall.  A mangy mongrel rummaged through the trash at the corner of a building.  Nothing like Le Grande Hôtel here.  Le Grande Hôtel.  The idea of it burnt brightly in Matt’s yawning consciousness with the promise of cleanliness, a cool shower, and an air-conditioned room with a view.  And security.

“Police,” Matt said, his anger taking shape.  “I want the police!” he shouted.  “The police!  Do you hear me?  Get the police!”

The old woman knocked the bald man in the shoulder and uttered something. 

“My bags!”  Coming to, Matt looked back at the empty space around the square building.  “My bags were in the trunk of the car.”  He slapped his pockets with growing panic.  “My money!”  Then he slapped his chest to feel for his passport and rammed his hands inside his jacket pockets.  “I can’t believe this!  They took everything!”  He threw his arms out and traipsed toward the onlookers.  He couldn’t imagine going home empty handed, returning to his wife’s everlasting disappointment. 

A moped skidded to a halt beside the commotion.  The rider, a teenage boy with an Afro and wearing an orange and green soccer jersey, stayed seated, his feet as kickstand, watching.  The boy looked fresh, as if he just woke up and was on his way to school, or work, or whatever it was these people did around here. 

The group gave Matt space and watched him strut. 

“I don’t speak French,” he asserted. “No parlez français.”

The scruffy cur, suspicious of the strange man’s nervous energy, dropped his head and snarled and Matt kept the mutt in sight in case it lunged at him.  Was it rabid?  How much worse could this get?

 

BACK TO THE HOP

 

 


Alaskan Book Cafe Guest Post

I have asked author Mark Rudolph to speak with us today about how he came to write his book, Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa.

Thanks Cristina for asking me to contribute to your blog.

My first real job was working for a US multinational, based in Brussels, from where I was responsible for organizing the sales and delivery and maintenance of major truck fleets to West African countries. This was in the early eighties when communication was by telex, when flights to Africa were infrequent, and when once you were there, you were largely on your own.

I would go for a month at a time to tour the West African countries where the State, AID, and United Nations organizations ran projects and kept offices. These men, and they were all men, were my potential customers.  My competitors were the Soviets, the Chinese, the French, the British, the West Germans, and the Japanese.  All business was conducted in French, which slapped my textbook French into shape pretty fast.

Most the projects were meant to improve the lives of people living in near-Biblical conditions: improving access to water, building roads and bridges, establishing self-sustaining businesses, and improving agriculture. Some projects were major buildings that provided jobs for the period of construction and afterward were intended to be a source of continuing employment, such as churches, stadiums, museums, administrative buildings, and other municipal structures. Some projects were just excuses for politicians to get rich

Graft and corruption were rampant. How much of the money lined the pockets of corrupt politicians and middlemen is hard to say, but it was obvious to me as a young executive that by complying with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which all my colleagues and I signed, we were at a significant competitive disadvantage. We agreed not to provide payment to any middlemen not directly related to a project. Our competitors labored under no such restrictions.

Corruption however didn’t stop the many people who spent significant portions of their lives in these countries striving to contribute to the improvement of the environment, and the quality of life, at the grass roots level.

I observed the contrast between the world of multinational head-to-head competition, and on-the-ground person-to-person education. I had many conflicting thoughts at the time as I became acquainted with a full range of people involved in all apsects of foreign aid.

Nearly everyone did the best they could with the tools at their disposal. But the deck is stacked against the indigenous people. The poorest of the world’s poor are still the poorest of the world’s poor forty years later, despite the billions of aid money poured into the region.

I devised a story so I could explore again what it was like to straddle the developed and the developing world at a pre-9/11 time, prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which in a geopolitical sense started the chain of events that brought us to today’s dangerously polarized world.

Matt Reiser is a naive, untraveled American, who makes one huge simple mistake, which sends him on a journey that he is wholly unprepared for. He needs to find his son and deliver a letter from his ill wife who desperately wants to reconnect with their son.  Matt’s life until this trip has been orderly and predictable. His son chose to strike out on his own for a different and more challenging life, joining the Peace Corps right out of college, and cutting off all contact with his parents for his own reasons.

On the way to find his son, Matt discovers a West Africa outside the confines of the taxi-airport-hotel-embassy bubble which is where most tourists spend their time. By the time he reaches his son, he’s in a better position to understand him, and himself.

My hope is the reader enjoys and respects the characters, and the countryside, as much as I did when I first traveled through the territory.  And will develop a deeper appreciation for the region and its ongoing challenges.

Thanks for giving me this chance to connect with your followers, Cristina.

Thank you Mark for sharing with us today. I will be reviewing Facing the Son, A Novel in Africa at a future date.

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