A Family Empire

“We were children who still volunteered at hospitals and shelters; who still shopped at Old Navy and ate at chain restaurants. We put up more money than we spent and had to make sure we tithed ten percent to our church.” – Brelyn Michele Clover

I love the TV show “Empire”. Most of us dream of building our own someday. What I love about my new YA series, The Clover Chronicles, is that it Chronicles the life of the Clover family, namely the four children and their journey being a part of a wealthy family. When I started this idea back in 2013, it seemed far-fetched to me.

Not because I didn’t believe I could write a story about an African-American family having a billion-dollar business, but because I wasn’t sure how I could bring it all together and not make it sound like something that was far-fetched (or now, with “Empire” being such a huge show, something that wasn’t already being done). The truth: everything in entertainment has been done before, regardless of the format it’s in.

What I love about the family empire I’ve built is that the family’s foundation is built on their Christian faith. I also chose to have Papa Clover, the family’s patriarch, inherit his grandfather’s winery, which was already worth billions before he was even born. Every family story will have its ups and downs, but it’s the characters that people fall in love with that makes the family real to the reader or viewer.

The Clover family has three key things that makes them who they are. This is also why readers will love them:

  • No matter what they face, they pray together and they stay together
  • They don’t compete with each other. They encourage each other, oftentimes, forgetting about themselves in the process
  • They give more than they receive. This isn’t literal, but their values are built on a strong work ethic and caring for others. Each character’s passion for people shows through in the story.

Of course, in book one, you will get to see this mainly with Brelyn. As a teenager battling Lupus, her compassion to see Saith, her crush, is all based on a moral foundation she got from her parents. She doesn’t just want to help him because she likes him. In fact, she pushes against her feelings for him for quite some time. She helps him because seeing a boy her age in a wheelchair doesn’t sit right with her.

What are some things that you would like to read (or see) when it comes to family sagas? Do you feel like there is a void in entertainment (publishing, TV/film) as it pertains to shows that embrace family values?

To read an encounter between Brelyn and Saith, click here.


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