Q: Hello Mr Lawrence. How are you and family?
A: I am well, thank God. The family is great, settling in just fine after 18 months away in Ghana.
Q: Your family is very blessed to have an author and Musician (Beth Mugisha) could you share how you met?
A: Thanks for the kind words. First off, It is not just an author and a musician, but we also have two talented, gifted and pretty children that we believe (and we are raising them) to make a mark in the universe. Titles can be deceiving as well as limiting. “Author” is just one hat that I am happy to wear, but at the core of it all, I am “the one who speaks a Word in Season to comfort the weary”…and I do that through writing, speaking, coaching and mentoring.
For Beth, the title “Musician” can also be limiting. This woman is more than a musician, she is a minister whose heart cries for the salvation of the masses and for the comfort of those who have been abused (especially women). She has a mighty business mind and God is setting her up for great things, even as she sets herself apart in preparation for the same.
We met at work. She was working for MTN part-time and I was consulting with MTN as an expatriate with Mobile Money. I noticed how brave, intelligent and daring she was especially to speak up when certain rights were not being upheld. Immediately, I asked her to meet me at my office in Ntinda, because I wanted to work with people of that nature. So we became friends and she introduced me to her Cell (Spiritual Mastermind Group). She also introduced me to her Pastor and his wife, the one she has been accountable to all the while she has been a member of Watoto Church Central. The rest is history.
Q: You have a new book that is on Amazon. First of all, what is the title?
A: The title of the Book is “Turn Your Setbacks into Major Comebacks”. I am currently tweeting some of its nuggets with the Hashtag #SetbacksToComebacks daily.
Q: What inspired you to write it and how long did it take to write it?
A: This book was actually pulled out of my recycle bin. I had been toying with the idea of discounting what I call the “Strategy of Hope” that most Christians employ. This means that they are waiting on God to do stuff and at the same time neglecting to do what they can do in the moment with what they have where they are. I say “THEY” but I really mean “I”. So I put it off but some time later on towards the end of 2012, I went back to the recycle bin and started reading the discarded document. It ministered to me so mightily that I immediately started researching and adding more nuggets to it. I decided to use a true life story of a character called “BEN” in order to bring the story home as a narrator, but at the same time share concepts.
I intended to call the book “The Illusion of Hope”, but then I realized that the title does not help anyone, it did not contain a promise. So when I changed the title to include Setbacks to Comebacks, the momentum hit an overdrive. I gathered 21 nuggets that anyone in a setback can use to create their comebacks. I not only did the book, but also created another even more powerful E-book titled “21 Commandments to Mastermind Your Comeback”, that I had previously given for free to all my subscribers on my blog. In reality, the book took less than a year to write, however, I was delayed greatly by the publisher I chose, it should have been out last year April.
Q: You are a very prolific blogger too. How would one classify your blog and content?
A: My blog is Inspirational, Motivational, Educational and Self Help in content all the time. Nothing less, nothing more.
Q: Back to the writing. At what moment in your life did you realize you would be an author?
A: The story of my writing (and reading) goes back to my days in primary school. When the English teacher would come to class and give us ‘Composition Examination’, all my classmates would start clamoring for the second position, because the first position was already taken by me. I cannot explain it, but I never really struggled with reading and writing. I loved to read and would devour books at an early age. I remember reading “Animal Farm” during my primary school vacation, and that book ended up being one of the set books to be used in S4 English examinations. Anyway, the nudge to write was always there, like a spark flickering in the distant, waiting to be fanned a flame. I remember seeing an advertisement in the newspapers those days that went, “Why Not Be A Writer?” I seriously wanted to enroll, but my folks were more concerned with school, college and degrees. So I let the spark dim a little. Later on after clearing College, one of my mentors was a writer, I remember asking him how he could manage to write. I honestly never imagined that I could have a book, a whole volume of information with my name on it as an author. It really seemed so farfetched. But once I clarified my strengths which are Prayer, Reading, Writing, Speaking and Coaching, I started writing on a blog.
My thoughts started crystallizing into various themes, chief of which is a life full of purpose and direction as well as mentorship. I still blog at a self hosted site: http://life-signatures.com each month and I have three more titles ready to be published: “Permission for Greatness”, “Self Executive Officer”, and “Shine”. So Yes, the origin of my being an author dates back to my childhood days, and I think it is important for us as parents to take note of what passion our kids have once they are six and above.
Q: Who are the authors who inspire you the most. Name 5 at least.
1. Dutch Sheets: When I grow up, I really wanted to write like this man. He is deep, funny, and has a knack of making complicated things so simple. His writing style is full of metaphors. For example, I will never forget the way he terms praying in the Spirit as “The Butterfly Anointing”, in that a butterfly flies herky jerky this way and that way before it “lights upon” a place. If you observed it, you would think it doesn’t know where it is going, but at the end of the day, it has a general direction. So it is for those who know how to pray in the spirit.
2. Jack Canfield: What a writer. I love this man so much because of the STORIES he uses to illustrate his points. Each concept, chapter and section that Jack writes in his books, he will always use a powerful and true story. Jack shows me the importance of research and the importance or making your book ‘relatable’.
3. Charles Swindol: I have never read a book so vividly described by an author like Charles Swindol does. Swindol has a way of telling you as it is with so much wisdom that I cannot describe. He is a great author.
4. Francine Rivers: You want Christian fiction? You want to cry, wail and be left in suspense? You want a book that you won’t put down? You want a book that will make you switch off the TV? Pick ANY title by Francine Rivers! My God! What a writer! I bought my wife one of her titles and she was not amused…but when she got to read it, she started asking for more and Francine Rivers is now one of her favorite authors!
5. Anthony T. Gitonga: This is a Kenyan author who is one of the greatest teachers in his books that I have read. The man has a way of organizing his content with so much excellence. Organizing his message with so much clarity, illustrations and excellence. I recently attended a Leadership Coaching that he did for one company in Uganda and I could see that no cost was spared to provide quality and excellent content. I look up to him.
6. Stu Webber: There are very few books written on Manhood. However author Stu Webber did a great piece when he authored, “Tender Warrior”. It speaks the soul of a real man.
7. Harv T Eker: Funny, very funny writer but so much on point that I have quoted him verbatim in my book. He talks about being a millionaire in his signature book, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”. I like the way he speaks about the mindset and I would read him again and again.
Q: So, why is it that some African authors and writers stop at dreaming about publishing their book only and never achieve it?
A: Things are changing in Africa. More and more writers are coming up. I was recently in Ghana and I met common folks who launched their books left right and center. But I really think that in Africa, there is no “Path” provided clearly to guide would be authors through the process. We keep re-inventing the wheel again and again. For example, when I was coming up with my books, I could not get any coaching or help within Africa. It is a gap that I intend to fill up as soon as this year to help and guide as many people as possible who have a message that needs to be read. So people do not publish and write because they lack two things: Education on the subject and two, Exposure to the Industry. But like I said, things are changing rapidly. For example, in Uganda, there is a thriving Self Publishing Industry. There are organizations like the Authors’ Forum that is bridging the gap.
Q: Do you have plans of making the books available in East Africa in the bookstores for sale?
A: In a bid to go digital, I deliberately did not make my books available in the bookstores initially. I have this book available to ANYONE ANYWHERE AROUND THE WORLD by using Amazon.com. However, I am realizing very fast that quite a number of people in East Africa have never purchased items online. So it is a gap that I intend to fill again. So Yes, at some point, I will make the books available at the local book stores before the close of the year. I am looking at May and June 2015. However, anyone who needs the book can easily order for it at the comfort of their phone or laptop or desktop at this address: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1508520410
Q: Are you planning a book tour or something like that to promote the book?
A: No, I am not doing a book tour just yet. Probably in the future with the upcoming titles.
Q: Someone once said that, (Paraphrase) “it is not true that Africans don’t love reading, it is just that the writers don’t bring something that Africans relate to.” How true is that?
A: Hmm…interesting observation. But who are these Africans that have not found what to read that they can relate to? And who are these writers that have not brought what Africans want to relate to? I honestly think that that assessment is not necessarily true. A reader is a reader is a reader! But let me say this: Yes, I have come across some books that really do not need to be at the book stores and book shelves. Their content is not well thought out, their designs are not well done and so on. When I was writing Permission For Greatness, a major ministry in Uganda was hosting I think a Nigerian preacher who had a book on the same subject about mentoring kids. I spent my Ugx. 20,000 and bought the book, but was thoroughly disappointed. The content was shallow, the organization was pathetic, the fonts were like for PowerPoint slides, to me, the writer did a great disservice to the reader. But then again, that is just one in a thousand, and once in a blue moon. For the most part, we have great content out there…for example, “After University, What Next”, by my friend Ambrose Kibuuka Mukiibi, “Tears of My Mother”, by my good friend Robert Bake Tumuhaise, “Made for Greatness”, by my fellow author and friend Anthony T. Gitonga and so on. What I would encourage us writers is that we need to research yes, but we should also write from the heart and not regurgitate what other writers have already written. That is why I use quotes extensively in my books. Yesterday I asked myself this question: If my book is amongst a stack of other books by different authors, why would someone want to read mine and not theirs? If we can write to serve our audiences, then quality work can be easily produced, and I can vouch for my book on quality and delivery and design. We need titles that are not just written and finished, but titles that can be read, re-read, shared and provide great content. Truth be told however, the level of reading in Africa is not as good as in the Western world. There, in the Western world, reading was a culture as early as the middle ages. On my blog, the greatest commenters, readers and visitors are from America and Europe…so again, it is not necessarily that we Africans are not being served with the correct content, it is also that we do not have a well-developed reading culture.
Q: Any last words for our readers?
A: I would encourage the readers to go out there online and purchase the book. I guarantee you that the book will be in your Post Office in less than two weeks on order. You do not need to have a Master Card or Credit Card. All you need is a Visa Card from any one of the banks you belong to: Stanbic, Barclays, Equity, KCB, DFCU, and so on. If your ATM Card has VISA on it, it means you can purchase very many things online, including my books. Your success in 2015 will be greatly influenced with the content that you expose your mind to, so make it a habit to read a good book each month.
Q: What book are you currently reading and what is it all about?
A: I am currently reading “The Power of Focus” by Jack Canfield and Les Brown. As the title suggests, the book talks about doing more by doing less, giving you all the nuggets, ‘how tos’, as well as very powerful stories to tag along. I chose this book because 2015 for me is my year of Focus. I am focusing on three things: Speaking, Writing, and Coaching. Any other thing will be a distraction, especially if it does not contribute towards these three themes.