Joel Savage was born in Ghana in 1957. In 1985, he lost his Ghanaian citizenship when he became a naturalized citizen of Sierra Leone.
Much of his life’s work has been influenced by his father, who was a veteran journalist. His father’s influence propelled his flair for writing at a very tender age. While he was still in school, Joel wrote numerous articles for publication and completed a short course in journalism at the Ghana Institute of Journalism in Accra to acquire more experience and writing skills.
As a freelance writer, Joel has written feature articles for the Daily Graphic, the Ghanaian Times, and the Weekly Spectator. He is now a prolific writer and an accredited card-holding member of the “Vlaamse Journalisten Vereniging” (Flemish Journalists Association) in Belgium. He currently lives in Antwerp, Belgium, with his wife and three children.
All my books were inspired by true events and each is related to my everyday life experiences. The Writer Died is about a Ghanaian boy who rises above his dire circumstances to become a successful journalist. The similarities between Kumbe’s life and my father’s are many.
2. Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
Life is not a bed of roses. If one is determined to achieve something positive in life, one mustn’t lose focus and get distracted by the hundreds of barriers that will often obstruct the way.
3. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?
How I survived as an illegal immigrant in Europe before becoming documented.
4. How much of your book is based on real life?
As mentioned before, all the books I have written so far have been inspired by true events. There is some fiction thrown in there, of course. Names have been changed…and some circumstances and situations mentioned in the book are different from what actually happened, but the bulk of the message behind the book is very real to me because someone I cared about lived and felt these things.
5. How did you get idea for the novel?
Writing is one of my very deep passions. There was a fire burning within me to write down what I’ve heard, lived, and what I knew to be true, so I decided to write mine and my father’s experiences down to share and connect with readers.
6. What came first–the title or the novel?
Since I already knew how the novel would begin and end, I chose the title first.
7. What scene or bit of dialogue in your book are you most proud of?
I can’t really pinpoint one scene in my own book that stands out in my mind. Every scene in The Writer Died was so important to me.
To answer that question, I really think I need to step away from my own book and focus on another book that has been so influential to me–The Power of Positive Thinking. I especially enjoyed the part where a woman was told to stop thinking to avoid pile of lines and wrinkles from developing on her forehead.
8. If you had to do all over again, would change anything about The Writer Died?
The simple answer–really, the only answer I can give to that question–is “no”.
9. What inspired you to write your first book?
I knew the story of my father–how he was neglected by his father and painstakingly educated himself to be a great journalist in his country. His story inspired me to write my first novel.
10. Do you have any advice for other writers?
New writers should always research and consult with other experienced writers and authors before submitting manuscripts to publishers. There are a lot of fake and bad publishers in the publishing industry. I failed to do any research, and I lost over three thousand dollars without publishing my books.
**Editor’s Note: Joel makes a somewhat valid point, although I would counter that there are not “a lot” of fake or bad publishers. There are some, and they are out to take what they can get from you without giving you much (if anything) in return. Visiting a helpful site like Preditors and Editors will let you know who you can trust and who you absolutely shouldn’t. Also, an experienced editor (like myself) should also be able to steer you in the right direction when it comes to navigating the rough waters on your way toward publication.