Motivated by her high school passion for writing, Botho Lejowa set aside her qualifications as a certified chef and marketer and decided to publish a novel.
The U.K based youngster published her first novel entitled Leah; a Seer’s legend, which focuses on a young warrior who discovers a plot to start an inter-realm war. In an endeavour to prevent the war, Leah unearths dark secrets that challenge her warrior identity and bring her into contact with many mysterious and powerful creatures across the realms.
“There are hundreds of books at home and all of us have our own collection. One of our friends once called our living room a library,” says Lejowa, adding that the first book she ever read was a very thick Robin Hood novel, which she read when she was in standard three.
She recalls how she couldn’t contain the love she had for the book. “I was curious to know how other people got their books published, so i searched for some publishing companies online. A certain publisher then requested five sample chapters of my novel,” Lejowa recalls. Having written a few chapters of a story which had never been published, she then decided to send those chapters to the publisher.
“The editors liked the chapters and requested to view the whole manuscript. For a whole month i then wrote like a mad woman and when I felt that I was done, I sent it to them. Five weeks later, I was offered a contract,” she recalls.
Lejowa says she started compiling the story during her stay in Stellenbosch. She says it was an emotionally rough time for her, adding she needed a hero. She also says the character Leah in the novel is symbolic of her – living in a world where she needed to be strong. “I needed to view myself as a strong and capable woman who could take on the world. Leah evolved from that,” Lejowa adds.
In a way, she says the story was a means for her to cope with her reality saying she had no idea where the story would end up, but how it turned out came as a shock to her. “I pay homage to Botswana, but it is open to interpretation. Read the book and tell me what you think,’ she says.
Lejowa says she might write another novel because the ending of Leah; a Seer’s legend is very suggestive of a sequel. “It’s very tempting to start the writing process again, especially because there are random scenes bouncing around in my head, new characters I simply can’t wait to meet,” she emphasises, adding that she, however, wishes to enjoy her first publication first.
Lejowa urges Batswana youth to stay true to themselves saying that everyone who has ever made any kind of grand move did so from believing in themselves and not being afraid to take risks. “This was a huge risk for me and it still is, but my mother has taught me to overcome doubt and insecurities and take chances. Find what you love and do it how you love, that’s what will work,” she encourages.
Leah: A Seer’s Legend will be available for sale in the UK from October 29th, 2015 at ┬ú 7.99. Buyers outside the U.K can purchase the book through Amazon.com, which also delivers to buyers in Botswana. All buyers can use Amazon.com to purchase the book on pre-order before the official release date.