Kofi Houston, author of The Cootie Wars series stopped by All Ages of Geek to talk all about his debut published book The Cootie Wars: Rise of the Germaphobes, his inspirations as a writer and how he honors God in every project he works on.
The wonderful part of this article is how Kofi talks about God and how He is present in all of his works. Being able to talk about God and faith is so important when creating books, especially when you wish to express your gratitude to others. All Ages of Geek is thankful for authors like Kofi since he shares his thankfulness with others, and in turn helps lift others up by God’s goodwill and grace.
A reminder to help authors like Kofi Houston get more support is by leaving reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Make sure you also purchase a book for your local library to help books like The Cootie Wars: Rise of the Germaphobes get discovered by young readers!
Tell us about your work and what you create!
Well, The Cootie Wars series is a fun story that I came up with over 20 years ago as a Junior in High School. The story had evolved a lot since its initial conception, but a lot of the same concepts are still around. Things like the cooties, cootie shots, all things icky and funny that kids, and the big kid in us all, love. The Cootie Wars is the first book I’ve ever published, but it certainly won’t be the last. I have many other projects in the reserves that I’m eager to write, but I’m going to be sure to honor God in every project I write.
How has God helped shape your creative path?
Ever since I was a teen, He has always guided or been a heavy influence in all that I did or created. When it came time to create, I would pray and ask for His help and His idea for the story we will create together. I would then brainstorm and try to figure out unique stories to write that would point back to Him, but also tell stories with realistic characters. Sure there’s going to be some fantasy and imagination involved, but I want to create realistic and relatable characters.
Any tips for anyone who wants to learn more about God?
One of the most important tips I could give anyone when it comes to strengthening your relationship with God is to be honest, authentic, and genuine. He already knows, so trying to sugarcoat or tip toe around things does little. You can’t fool Him, so just be real. Are you hurting? Let Him know. The Bible is full of stories about great men and women, prophets and heroes, who expressed their true feelings to God. Be respectful of course, but He delights in us when we are upfront. Remember: He desires truth in the inmost parts. Start there and watch your spiritual life blossom.
What are tips for anyone starting out in their craft?
I’ve come to realize that an important thing you must do is believe in yourself. Be confident, but not arrogant. Be a sponge and eager to learn from other writers. The moment you think you’ve arrived and need no help is where you mess up. We can always be better than we were before.
What do you think discourages people the most about creating books?
Psyching ourselves out. Thinking our work is either the worst piece of literature ever written or we go to the other extreme and think it’s the next big masterpiece, and ignore the healthy criticism others may offer to help you improve.
Another thing is that it’s a daunting market. Struggling to find an agent, a publisher, and all the things that come with it. Then you run into predators that prey upon hopeful authors and gauge money out of them by dangling carrots in front of them, making promises that they can’t possibly deliver on. It’s a sick game and it’s very easy to be duped and discouraged, but don’t. There’s even more vultures out there should you have an agent. Be innocent as doves, but as shrewd as snakes.
What are tips for young creatives?
Don’t ever put a cap on your imagination. Never stop dreaming and always dream big. Protect yourself and be sure to surround yourself with a strong team that you all can mutually benefit from one another.
Who inspires you?
I draw inspiration from everyone when it comes to writing and creating. When it comes to being a better person, then I would say The Lord, my fiancee, my family, friends, and so on. There are authors out there that inspire and influence me in my writing as well. The biggest would be R.L. Stine since he is who inspired me to start reading more and writing as a kid.
Your 3 favorite books?
Well, this is tough. I will start with one book that was very transformative for me, and that is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I had to read that book for class and I couldn’t put it down. I took that book everywhere, lol. Taking it back a bit, I will say one of my favorite Goosebumps books is Welcome to Camp Nightmare. That was another book that I read over and over. If you ask me, that one is easily in the upper echelon of the best Goosebumps books he’s ever written. Another favorite book of mine is Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Narnia Series.
What are some things you would change about picture books and kids books in general?
To be honest, I don’t think I’d change anything. Those authors and artists are doing their thing and displaying their creativity in their own unique ways, and that’s beautiful.
Any favorite picture books about God and Christianity?
I can’t say that I have one. I haven’t read any, and if I did I don’t remember them.
Where do you like creating? Cafe? Home?
Oddly enough, I create a lot at work. The funny thing is, my mind starts imagining things, planning out storylines and dialogue, and bunch of other things to help pass the time there. I would then grab some scratch paper and jot down all of my thoughts for later. I like creating at home too. I’m not much of a cafe person. I’ve tried it, but I strangely get more distracted at a cafe than I do at home.
This interview is posted onto All Ages of Geek! What do you think about us? What can we do better?
I think you all are awesome and I love what you are doing and building here. I don’t necessarily have anything for you to do better, but I do want to encourage you to keep going and believe in your vision. I truly want to see you find success, so one day I can look back and say, “Hey! I remember they gave me the time of day and interviewed me. Look at them now, all famous and stuff.
Who should All Ages of Geek feature next on the website?
My boy Xavier Small! He’s an author as well. He’s also a pastor, psychologist, phuge geek, and very inspirational. You guys will love him.
Kofi Houston’s visit to All Ages of Geek show us the value the role faith holds in his writing and how The Cootie Wars: Rise of the Germaphobes is a big example. Kofi continues to emphasize the importance of incorporating one’s faith into creative works, and his gratitude for the opportunity to do so. By supporting authors like Kofi through leaving reviews, purchasing books, and making them available in libraries, readers can help to uplift and inspire others through literature and faith alike.