W. Brad Swift – Author Interiew!

My Interview with W. Bradford Swift!
I want to begin by thanking you for making time in your busy schedule for me.  I am thrilled to learn more about you and your work, and I think my readers will be, too!
1.  To begin, how would you describe yourself?
I haven’t a clue how to answer this question so maybe we can start with #2. Okay?
2.  Before you became a full-time author and life coach, you were a veterinarian.  What led you to that career field and what ultimately made you decide to leave it?
I’ve been drawn to science and medicine for as long as I can remember. I started out wanting to be a medical doctor around the age of six, but then began to notice that people spent a lot of time complaining to their doctors about their health, which didn’t sound like much fun. But animals never complained, so I changed my mind and decided to become a vet. It wasn’t until my senior year in vet school, close to twenty years later, that I figured out that attached to the other end of the leash of just about every animal I saw would be a person who was quite good at complaining about their pet’s health as well as their own. Unfortunately, it was too late to switch majors at that point.
After being in practice for over fifteen years, most of them on my own as a solo practitioners, I burned out. The stress of balancing the business aspects of the practice with the medical side became too much. Luckily, around that time I was introduced to an amazing lady, Judy Billman, who I hired as my business coach. I hired her so I could build my practice so I could sell it “going out the top,” which I did about three years later.
During that time, I started dabbling with writing and found myself getting up at five or six in the morning so I could write for a couple hours before going to work, so I decided that would become an integral part of my next career.
·         Do you feel your life as a vet has impacted your writing in anyway?  If so, how and why?
Well, like I said, I’ve always been drawn to science and medicine. Around thirteen, my next-door-neighbor introduced me to the joys of reading for pleasure. Since she was the head children’s librarian in Raleigh, she knew I would enjoy science fiction and fantasy, which is also what I write these days.  Also, as I was making my transition from vet to writer, I spent a lot of my time writing magazine articles on such topics as science, biology, and animals.
·         Has it influenced you as a life coach?
Again, yes. I went through a pretty rough time of burn out as a vet, so once I finally got on the other side of it, I felt drawn to wanting to help other people dealing with overwhelm and burn out.
3.   You are quite an accomplished author with approximately 34 published works listedon Amazon alone, this doesn’t take into account the 350+ magazine articles you have published.  How did you get into writing and when did you decide to publish?
Believe it or not, the impetus to start writing came from making an impulse purchase of one of the first 1,000 Macintoshes ever sold. The full story is on my blog.
Since I was trying to figure out some way to make the money back I’d spent on the computer, becoming a published and profitable writer was pretty high on my list. It certainly didn’t hurt that I sold the very first article I wrote for a grand total of $50 (which went to paying off the credit card I’d opened when I purchased the Mac.)
·         You have published fiction, non-fiction, and magazine articles.  Which did you start with, and have you noticed any differences in how they’re handled in the industry?
I started writing magazine articles for a wide assortment of national and international magazines. I believe writing magazine articles is a great way to start a writing career because you can get valuable feedback much more quickly as well as making a few bucks in the process.
As I outline in detail in my book, From Spark to Flame: Fanning Your Passion & Ideas into Money-making Magazine Articles that Sell, the best way to make it writing for magazines is to sell the article before you write it. You do this by perfecting the art of writing query letters. The whole process can be done in a matter of a few weeks or months; much more quickly than the average book can be written or even a non-fiction book proposal can be shopped around.
·         Do you see a cross over between your fiction and non-fiction readers?  If so, how do you know?
Not much. Most of my non-fiction books are related to my work as a Life On Purpose Coach while most of my fiction is either science fiction or fantasy, so the crossover is negligible. I do tend to have a common theme where some of my protagonists are trying to find their purpose. This is particularly true for my YA book, Amberlin: Divine Destiny, and for an upcoming book, entitled, Babble, but I don’t think many of my non-fiction readers have discovered these books yet.
·         What sort of writer do you consider yourself?  Do you identify yourself as a scholar, academic, scifi writer, editor, or something else entirely?
Well, I describe myself as a writer of visionary fiction and non-fiction. I believe visionary fiction should first and foremost entertain the reader while at the same time inspiring and encouraging the reader in some way, but not in a heavy-handed or preachy way. I’d prefer whatever lesson or insight they glean from reading one of my books to have happened behind the scene as they’re being entertained. As for visionary non-fiction, the order is reversed a bit. I want the reader to be inspired and encouraged, but also entertained in the process.
4.  Having such an array of work and publications in different literary markets, do you have any preferences when it comes to writing style, genre, or market (i.e. magazines, fiction, or non-fiction)?
I’ve enjoyed writing all of these different forms, but today, in 2016, a lot of my focus is on writing visionary fiction in the form of SF and fantasy for adults, young adults and middle grades.
I still keep my hand in writing some non-fiction, including a number of true stories that have appeared in 6 to 8 different Chicken Soup of the Soul books.
·         If you could go back and change anything, would you?  If so, what and why?
Other than perhaps starting to concentrate on writing fiction a bit earlier in my career, nothing else comes to mind that I’d change.
·         What advice do you have for other authors?
And there’s a start of a whole book or series of books. Wait, I don’t have to write a new one. I’ve already done it. It’s From Spark to Flame: Fanning Your Passion & Ideas into Money-making Magazine Articles that Sell. Also, I have a number of blog posts at www.wbradfordswift.com offering advice for other authors.
·         Was there anything in the industry that surprised you most?  If so, what and how?
Well, I’ve been writing long enough to see a lot of changes in the industry over the years. I’d say the main thing I’ve been pleasantly surprise about is how many opportunities there are today as a writer. No longer are we tied only to the traditional route of submitting our work to publisher after publisher. We can now be our own publisher, if we choose, or a combination of traditional and indie author, which is the direction I’ve taken. While I’m primary an indie author, this past year, I started collaborating with an innovative publisher, Creativia. They’re publishing several of my YA and middle school books as well as one of my non-fiction ones.
5.  What is your favorite genre?  Would the answer be the same if we specified it to what genre you love to read most compared to what genre you love to write in most?
My favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction. The main difference between what I enjoy reading and what I enjoy writing would be epic fantasy. I enjoy writing books by such authors as Brandon Sanderson, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Michael J. Sullivan, but I’m not ready to try my hand at writing such long books. Maybe I would consider it if I were younger, but not at my age.
6.  On our publisher, Creativia’s website, they have an Author Page for you where you have stated you’re involved in an experiment –
“For the past two decades, I’ve been conducting an experiment. Is it possible to create a new context for my life that I feel is “divinely inspired” and true to my deepest values, my sense of what’s possible, and true to my soul and spirit? If it is possible, what will be the results? Will it enhance my life? Will I experience a true sense of purpose and meaning? Will I know at the end of the experiment that my life has mattered?”  — Brad Swift
Have you come to any conclusions as of yet?
I would say unequivocally that it is possible to create a life of purpose, passion, and play. There was a point in my life when I was in my late thirties when I burned out so severely that I seriously contemplated suicide. Looking back on that time, I realized I’d lost my sense of purpose and meaning. Since then, I have my share of ‘off’ days, but I’m seldom bored nor without a sense of purpose.
·         This experiment has already been in progress for over two decades.  Do you have an end date or do you think it will continue for the duration of your life?
I’ll continue the experiment as long as it’s working and empowering me to make a difference in the lives of others. Why stop something that’s working?
·         What do you think has been the most beneficial aspect of this social experiment?
Two things. My personal sanity and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that my life has mattered.
·         What do you think has been the most detrimental, if anything?
It’s hard to sleep late in the morning or be lazy. There are too many fun projects waiting for me.
7.  In 1996, you and your wife founded Life On Purpose.  Can you tell us a little about this – what do they do, and how do people get involved?
We’re doing our part to create a world on purpose by helping individuals clarify their own purpose so they can design a life that is a true reflection of that purpose. Back in the mid-90s, I developed a six step process for doing just that. It’s outlined in my book, Life On Purpose. We’ve also had the honor to train many people to become Life On Purpose Coaches in their own lives.
·         Has the development of this foundation led to your social experiment or did you create it because of your experiment?
Life On Purpose is an Institution, not a foundation. The experiment and institution pretty much came together. I consider Life On Purpose Institute to be a ‘meta’ Purpose Project — a combination of many different projects, all of which give me the opportunity to be, be known, and to express my life purpose into the world.
·         What exactly is a Life Coach and what do they do for people?
The best way to answer that is to think of the job of a sports coach, which is to significantly improve the performance of the player or players in a given sport beyond what they’d be capable of on their own. The main difference is that the sport is LIFE.
·         How does being an author help or hinder you with Life On Purpose, and how does the institute help authors with expressing their “inner author”?
Coaching and writing are simply two different ways that I’ve chosen to express myself and my life purpose. I have found having a combo-career of coaching and writing has worked well for me. Like I’ve said, I’m never bored. Writing can be a pretty isolating career, and being an introvert at heart, I enjoy that about writing. At the same time, coaching gives me the opportunity to connect with other people in a powerful and intimate way. Win-win.
8.  As an author, I understand just how tough this industry is.  There are days when each of us questions why we do what we do.  That being said, can you tell us what drives you to continue to write?
I prefer to think of myself as inspired into action rather than driven. I guess that’s why I didn’t write The Purpose Driven Life but instead wrote about an inspired life. What inspires me each day is my desire to live true to my purpose which is to live an inspired, inspiring and courageously creative life of purposeful, passionate, and playful service; a life of mindful abundance balanced with simplicity; and a life of spiritual serenity.
·         I want to be sure to direct readers to your personal blog and one post in particular:
Weaving 2 Book Series Together – Brilliant or Really Bad Idea
Again, I want to thank you for sharing your time and talents.  I wish you all the success in the world!
For readers interested in purchasing books written by W. Brad Swift,
you can follow these links to your country’s Amazon page:

US Readers     UK Readers     Canadian Readers     French Readers

One comment

  • Julie, what a fantastic job of laying out the interview. I appreciate the in depth questions as well. Having interviewed many people including a few authors for my Project Purpose series, I know how important asking the right questions are. I'm also thrilled to report that one of my supernatural thrillers, Babble, has been accepted by Kindle Scout and will be up for nomination tomorrow. Woo-hoo! Thanks again, Julie.

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