Friendship Games is a Sequel, But …


I know there are readers who purchased Alter Road but never got through it. It was my first novel, and I learned a lot from writing it. Things like what not to do. Not that it is a bad book; no, I read a lot, and I know what a bad book looks like. It's just that I am an academic, and so some of my habits as an academic spilled over into Alter Road. How could they not? There is probably too much detail and not enough dialog, especially in the beginning.

But I learned as I went, and I am proud of Alter Road. There's a lot that goes on in that book. It received good reviews, and independent reviewers called it 'smart'. I'll take that any day of the week.

In my interview on the Writers Fix Problems podcast, hosted by NY Times bestselling author Blaine Pardoe, Blaine noted that Friendship Games is kind of a sequel to Alter Road but:

"Alter Road, for those that haven't read it, I recommend it. It's not required to enjoy this book although this book is kind of a sequel. There's a couple of call backs to it; you really don't need it. I would almost recommend jumping in with this book. It was so much more fun for me."

It's true. Even for me, Friendship Games flowed much more freely as a writer than Alter Road did. I approached Alter Road like a research paper and structured it that way, too. Only as I got deeper into it did it begin to flow, and I am really happy with how it came together. Various characters really came to life in Alter Road, and that was a pleasant surprise to experience: LeRon Gordon (the "People's Mayor"), Ian Nguyen (the Wayne State cross country runner and his friends), Bernice Hamwanda (student journalist), Fave Avery (the gangster and his crew), and others.

I think if you stick with Alter Road, you will be rewarded.

That said, Alter Road is NOT required reading for Friendship Games even though it is kind of a sequel. It is not a direct sequel; rather, it simply overlaps timewise.

I improved as a writer, and Blaine recognizes as much. Friendship Games came so much easier for me. I simply let go. I let it flow. And it was a lot of fun.

If you purchased Alter Road and couldn't get through it, please give me a second chance, and read Friendship Games. I think you will enjoy it and, if you do, you might be inspired to fill in the background with Alter Road.