A Review of THE AFRICAN CONNECTION from Michelle Clement James

Book reviewer Michelle Clement James posted a review of book two of The Forgotten Child Trilogy: The African Connection. 

It’s a terrific review, excerpted below. Please hit the link to read the full review and check out her book website. And if you haven’t started reading The Forgotten Child Trilogy yet, what are you waiting for?

“I have read and reviewed several of Mark Sasse’s books and I have to say The Forgotten Child Trilogy is fabulous and are my favorites!  Book Two, The African Connection, is every bit as intriguing as the first book, A Man Too Old, for a Place Too Far. I recommend you read Book One first so that you have a good understanding of who the characters are and how they fit into the story.

One of the most endearing traits of The African Connection is the way the author takes you into another realm with characters like Bee, who is flighty and childlike, and Ash, who is more than patient with Bee, but who can be stern with her at the same time.  These two and Zette, who has more power than Bee or Ash, appear out of “thin air” first to Francis Frick and then to others. But don’t think they are ghosts, they are far more than that.”


The African Connection HERE!

Book One HERE! Only $1.89


I Don’t Particularly Like Sequels, But I’m Writing One

I have written five standalone novels.

Novel six, which is complete, could have been another standalone, but I’ve decided to write a sequel for it.

Here’s why. But first, why haven’t I written any sequels up to this point?

First, Hemingway never wrote sequels, and I like Hemingway. Okay, that’s not a very  good reason for not writing sequels. I like complete stories. I like to bring closure, to show an entire world inside one story. Sequels seem cheap in some respects. Milking characters for more than what they really are.

There are so many bad sequels out there. The only  way I would ever write a sequel is if I believe book two can be just as good if not better than book one. That’s actually a tall order.

I’ve ready many blog posts from authors and writers who encourage sequels and trilogies and series to be a great way to build a loyal readership. Readers love to know about the continuing adventures of their favorite characters. I get that.

However, it was still never enough for me to want to write a sequel. Honestly, I’ve never written for readers. I write the story that I have. The story I want to tell. That’s it. And when that story is told, I’m ready to move on to the next story. There’s unlimited creative potential in standalones. Sequels have parameters. I don’t like writing parameters. I like to allow my creative freedoms to take me wherever they want to go.

So I really don’t like sequels, but I’m currently writing one. Why?

Honestly, I don’t rightly know. I think one of the main reasons is that I’ve never done it. I like to challenge myself in my writing and try new things. There are definitely different dynamics which go into writing a series, and I wanted to experience that as a writer to see how it feels. I’m hoping it will be a stretching experience for me.

In addition, it helps a lot that I really love the story and characters I created with my sixth novel, and after 80,000 words, it felt as if the story wasn’t quite complete. Oh, there is plenty of closure at the end, but there were many loose ends and avenues of creativity left to be explored. So it tempted me, and I took the challenge.

I sincerely hope that this will attract new readers who are willing to give this writer a chance. Perhaps this book series will help. Perhaps it won’t. But after six years of serious writing, it’s time to try. Much more about this to come. Stay tuned.

The Standalone Novel

Sometimes I feel like I’m the only author out there that doesn’t write series. Maybe I’m secretly part Chinese.

Don’t follow?

Chinese artist and social critic Ai Wei-Wei has described the traditional intent of Chinese art as trying to capture a whole view of the universe in one scene or work of art. He points at the Olympic Bird’s-Nest stadium in Beijing, which he helped design, as being an example. The round shape, enclosed structure, standing for the whole of Chinese culture and history – a vision of the past – a vision of everything China ever has been and ever will be contained in one structure.

In a way, this is how I write. I want to create complete stories, whole stories, stories that rise and fall and move and weave until they have exhausted their potential, until all the tales are told – OK  not all the tales because more can always be written – but all the tales that I think are worth telling about this particular subject.

This is why I don’t like sequels. Sequels tend to cheapen the story. Sequels tend to retrofit plot and character in order to make it something it was never intended to be.

I’m not saying that book series can’t be good and enjoyable.

They’re just not for me.

I write stand-alone novels.

Does that mean I’ll never write a sequel to any of my books? No. I’ve learned that anything can happen. I just don’t have any interest in doing so.

After I wrote Beauty Rising, I had many people ask me if I was going to write a sequel for it. In my mind, Beauty Rising is absolutely complete. It was about Martin looking for a real home. He found it. End of story.

I had readers wonder about his mother and what happened there. (I have a future post on this topic.) For me, I don’t care. Martin’s mother was there for only one purpose, to drive Martin to fulfill his destiny. She did her part and got out of the way, like a graceful character knowing when to bow out of a scene. It was Martin’s show, and so he got the spotlight.

In the Recluse Storyteller, everything wraps up so neatly, that I can’t imagine wanting to tell any more stories from Margaret’s perspective. Her stories are exhausted. I’m on to my next book.

I want each of my novels to be a self-contained story. I don’t want to leave anything out and “save” it for #2 or #3 of the series.

So you won’t see me releasing Beauty Rising 2 or The Recluse Storyteller #5.

When I release my fifth novel, it will be my fifth stand-alone novel.

That’s just the way I do things.

I think I’ll go to my favorite Chinese stall now.