About S.A. Softley:
S.A. Softley lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his wonderful wife. He is a teacher and musician with a number of album and writing credits to his name. When he is not teaching, playing music, reading or writing; he enjoys travelling and seeking out new experiences and adventures. Softley is a perpetual learner and graduate of the University of Calgary.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by the books I read, the music I listen to and the stories I live and observe. I have always loved storytelling through any art form and I am also a great consumer of stories. I love searching for the story that hasn’t been told and the story that needs to be told. I have always been a writer, even as a young child, and the day I decided to publish and share my work was a day of excitement, adrenalin, fear and most of all relief.
Tell us about your writing process.
I usually start with a rough idea. Often the idea is a “what if?” sort of question. Sometimes a title or opening sentence will come to me and I’ll run with it until I see where it’s headed. Other times I talk myself through a story in my head repeatedly, tweaking and retelling things until I feel ready to commit it to paper (or Word). I’m almost always listening to music that suits the mood of the story I’m telling. So far, my stories have had a very clear musical genre that provides my soundtrack and often that plays into the story in some way. The stories almost always take me in unexpected directions and my plans (if I have any) are almost always fluid and flexible. Sometimes it’s the characters that guide me, other times the story is decided by what I need to have happen to the characters. I’m also a “two steps forward two steps back” sort of writer in that I get to a point and then stop and revisit everything up to that point to make sure I’m writing what the story needs me to write.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I’m more of a wallflower witnessing my characters’ conversations and interactions.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just do it. You know you want to. Do the absolute best you can, have as many people as possible look it over and edit it, close your eyes, hold your nose, and hit the print or submit button. You can stall yourself forever by overthinking things. My novel “Ain’t No Grave” was stalled at least a year before I had the courage to let it out. Now it seems silly and I can’t wait to release my next novel, “The Luthier.” It’s easy to be afraid and after so much work it’s natural to feel attached but the best advice I can give is release the best work you can as quickly as you can, learn from the successes and failures you experience and move on to the next project.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’d already written a good portion of a novel when I learned about the self-publishing movement. Honestly, between work and university, I didn’t try as hard as I might have to procure a literary agent or traditional publishing deal, but I did submit sample chapters, manuscripts, query letters and bios to a variety of places. The more self-published authors I read on Kindle, the more I realized: this stuff is great and they didn’t need a publisher. I also realized: I can do this! I read authors’ blogs, news articles, personal stories and industry publications while researching the best approach to publishing my work. My first novel was a learning process and I was happy with the result. My family was a source of encouragement and support.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that there is a place for all types of publishing. Traditional publishing isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon and self-publishing will only increase. The biggest hurdle to overcome is that an increasingly vast array of material is flooding all markets at the moment (my own work included) and navigating the deluge can be difficult for both author and reader. The same is occurring across all media. Music, film-making, print, e-books, video games, radio and podcasting: all of it is readily accessible and cheap to produce. I don’t believe there has ever been a time of more exciting creativity, but there has also never been a more difficult time to be noticed and to make a living as an artist. I think persistence will be the key. If artists can persist and increasingly improve the quality of their work, they’ll make it eventually.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Apocalyptic Fiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction… You name it, I’ll try it.
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.