About Charles Souby:
Charles Souby is an author and improv actor based in Kapaa, Hawaii. A formal degree in English Literature from San Francisco State University provides a foundation for the past seven years of mentoring by San Francisco Chronicle bestselling author, James Tipton. A writer of diverse genre, he has recently completed his third novel, The Wild Revisited and a collection of short stories, A View from the Borderline. Souby’s second novel A Shot of Malaria (Infinity Publishing; ©, April 2015) received strong critical praise. His poetry and short stories have been published in The Saturday Evening Post on-line, e-Fiction Magazine, 5 Poetry Magazine, The Opening Line, Bohemian Magazine and The California Quarterly Review.
Charles Souby is also an improvisational actor who graduated from BATS Improv in San Francisco and The Upright Citizen’s Brigade in Los Angeles. He has studied with the Groundlings and was the founder of an Improv Troupe, MarinProv, which performed in the Bay Area for four years. His exploration of narrative in these venues, along with his studies under Keith Johnstone (author of Impro), a master of narrative, propelled him to write his third novel based on his own experiences hitchhiking through Alaska and Northwest Canada.
What inspires you to write?
I love to free myself and see where a story will take me. To discover characters and watch them interact in a dramatic (often comical) setting. My poetry is also discovery but usually based on a setting or memory that I let unfold on the page and provide its own meaning.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Tim O'Brien, Mary Oliver, Kurt Vonnegut, Denis Johnson, Raymond Carver, Nick Hornby, (ridiculous I could extend this list ad infinitum.)
Tell us about your writing process.
I write best when I'm in public (coffee shops specifically) in a somewhat private area but with slight distraction. I have not figured out why this works so well but it allows me to sit for longer periods of time and lose myself either in creation or editing process.
My writing tends almost entirely to be in the form of discovery. I find my story as I move forward. With novels, I have vague sense of the end result but usually have no specific ending until I am at least part way into the story and see a arc and clear theme arising. Editing is a huge part of the process for me. I enjoy editing and tend to rediscover what a story is about during that process.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
No. I embody my characters to some extent while I am writing but I don't communicate with them externally.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read and write. Keep reading and writing. Read with a critical eye for author's craft – why did he do that? Find a workshop and/or mentor to share your writing and hear what others are doing. Go back to reading and writing. Repeat.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
While I would love the ease of a traditional publisher, the paradigm of appealing to an agent is difficult for me. I write what I enjoy and think will be enjoyable to read, not what is presently "popular." I'm not adept at "promoting" my art, that is a different profession.
Everybody has their own niche though and I think it's important to develop the practice of submitting work for representation and publication and get use to "failure." It is a huge part of the process and a growth experience.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It's changing so rapidly it's impossible to predict. I believe bookstores and hardcopy books will regain popularity, but the independent author will ultimately become the strongest force in the industry because it is just too difficult for the major players to capture "trends" in literature. It is an entirely different format than film and television where they control the budget and the production time.
In literature, the budget belongs to the author who can do what makes him happy and ultimately find his own market.
Meanwhile the mainstream industry is searching for success based on formula and guesswork.
What genres do you write?: Commercial fiction, humor, satire, short stories, romance, literary fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.