Interview with Richard Paa Kofi Botchwey

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes, I remember the first story I ever read. It is called Musa, the Carving Boy. I don't remember the author or the publisher, but I could relate to the story. Musa, a-10-year old boy lost his parents and happened to travel to Accra to live with his Uncle. His Uncle's favorite food was porridge. And one day he asked Musa to prepare him porridge. Musa didn't know how to go about it. So fetched water and mashed it smoothly and left it to boil on the fire. When his Uncle returned home he was so hungry. After going to the kitchen to taste the porridge, he realized that, Musa couldn't do it as he wanted. So he sacked Musa from the house. Then Musa discovered his talented. He started carving dolls.
One day a rich man stopped by his works on the high-streets in Accra to purchase a doll for his daughter. That was when Musa's life changed and he traveled abroad. At the end of the story, Musa became a very important person in his community.
His story inspired me to keep my head up. It provoked the champion within me to rise and bang the odds. And that is why I am where I am today. Glory to Jesus.
How do you approach cover design?
Book covers are very important to every author. No matter how good your story is, one needs a good book cover to match it.
For my first book, The Tale of an Orphan, which was published by E-magine Publishing in the United States of America, I suggested ideas to my publisher and he communicated these ideas to the cover designer, Irene Archer who produced a very catchy cover. And this cover was ranked among Urban Books Authors and Writers of America's best 100 Books in 2013.
I think authors must assist in sharing ideas on book covers as they know the story/book best.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1.Dreams From My Father by Barrack Obama. I like this book because the story was well told. The narration is on point. I have read it several times and I can't let go of the book. I am simply in love with the style of writing.

2. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I am inspired by the way she tells stories in a magnificent fashion. And indeed, it is a good read.

3.I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by Malala Yousafzai. I was in London when I heard her story. I was running to catch my flight when I saw this book in a nearby book shop. I couldn't run. I stopped and touched the hard cover. I admire her bravery; not every girl has that tenacity.

4. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelsom Mandela. This is a classic.

5. Failure: Key to Success by E.I Hunter
What do you read for pleasure?
I don't discriminate when it comes to reading. I like to read the International New York Times a lot. I like to read both fiction and nonfiction. I like to read magazines. If my eyes chances upon it, I will read it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Amazon kindle and android phones are what I used most of the time to read my eBooks.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word-of-mouth has always been most effective for me. But social media has also been awesome.
Describe your desk
My desk is always messy. For that I can't lie to you. No matter the number of times I have tried to keep it clean, it's always suffering from heavy use. But I am not a messy person. I think sometimes I find inspiration in the mess. [Laughs]
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in June 2004 after reading few stories from a Christian magazine. It really inspired me to see my words in print. So, I started writing short stories and by so doing I started my first book, which I didn't publish until April 2012.
What's the story behind your latest book?
At the moment, I have two books which I am releasing in the first quarter of 2016. The first one is called:

My Shoes Don't Fit. I wrote this book in 2010, thus, six years ago. My Shoes Don't Fit is a breathtaking adventure—one never to be forgotten of a young man intermeshed in a battle to rise above the tragedies of his life. In his rattling conversation with God about his life, he shares with you his hitches as a house boy, his chemistry of soreness, and some light on issues confronting his world—wars, global warming, fire outbreaks, corruption, sanitation, unemployment, education, earthquakes, divorce, losing weight, financial crunch. He is trying to fit in, but his shoes don’t fit.
This gripping and seditious conversation will bring peace to a soul gone awry, a heart broken, and a mind unhinged. As he talks to God, and He answers his uncompromising questions, you will be egged on to rise beyond your circumstances. This one-on-one conversation will guide you on how to live your life, and be able to stand tall no matter your bumpiness. God calls people without a social class. When God called him, he had no idea how shoes are worn. There was a battle in his mind as to how he was going to wear the shoe God had given him having walked barefooted all his life.

The second book is called : If I Were an American. I started writing this novel on the 25th of July, 2014.
In If I Were an American, I use the first-person voice of a young woman to tell a thought-provoking tale that will communicate to you in a magnificent fashion. Adwoa India who has lived in my head for months believes a society wouldn’t grow until we all start building houses for people we have no bloodline with. In her stance, Americans are privileged and they ought to hold their head up despite the flashes of 9/11. Adwoa has spotted a hole somewhere in this land. Which hole could this be? Why are many Americans falling into it?
Her zeal is to fill this hole with hope, bringing to light golden opportunities Americans have ignored that to her can bring a big U-turn if only you can see America from on top of her roof.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is to see and hold my own book in my hand; It is to see others read my book whether they are happy or sad. My joy is reach out to the people who believe in me with my story. It is to see my book transform lives and uplift others.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are very important to me. If they tell me something is not good I'll listen to them and make changes. I always have my fans at heart. I make time to meet my fans and share jokes with them. I pay attention to my fans, because they pay attention to me. I think we should all give it up to our fans for being there. [Laughs]
What are you working on next?
Like I mentioned earlier on, I am working on If I Were an American. That is my latest work yet to be released this year. In the course of the year I will also release a short story.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The fact that I am alive and have another day to live. It inspires me to get out of bed each day and go get what I want.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing then I'm sleeping. I don't like to go out that much. I like to be indoor lots of times. I only go out when I have to go do some research or probably meet my fans or a client or do some public speakings or book signings.
Published 2016-01-11.
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