Friday, April 22, 2011

with G. Edward Snipes

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Eddie!
What started you on your writing journey?

I hated writing in school. In fact, I wrote my first *ahem* fictional story in high school. This might seem a bit off topic, but it will give you an idea of my ‘love’ for writing. I don’t remember the name of the class, but it was a required writing class for graduation. Half the grade was a research paper. I picked to write about the arms race between the US and Russia since the Cold War was still a hot topic in the American culture in the early 80s. Halfway through the class, we had to turn in our research note cards. The class had spent weeks in the library, supposedly researching. When the teacher reviewed them, she handed them back and said, “If you don’t have at least 70 research cards, you will not succeed in this assignment. I began counting my cards, wondering why she was looking at me as she made this statement. I ran out of cards – seven. I had seven notecards to show for weeks of research. Her note written on the top of the stack said something like, “You don’t have a prayer.”

The assignment must have *slipped* my mind, but the teacher jogged my memory a few weeks later when she said, “Don’t forget, your rough drafts are due tomorrow. Minimum 30 pages.”

I assessed the situation and came to the conclusion that now was the time to start getting serious. I studied the seven cards – which didn’t take long since there wasn’t any significant information on them. All combined, it may have equaled a paragraph. That is, providing fragments could serve as sentences. I took my paper and a pen and decided the best first step was to interview an arms race expert – me. Thirty pages later I had a complete analysis of the US / Russian arms race, including expert opinions, statistics, and a game plan for addressing the problem. In other words, I had just written my first fictional story. I should have known then that something in my brain was wired for writing.

BTW, I scored my best grade ever in the subject of English. My teacher was proud that I had finally gotten my act together and took care of business. Let’s just keep this secret between you and I. We don’t want to dash her ego.

Many years later, I became involved in a prison ministry. These guys were hungry for truth, and I realized they needed more than a 30 minute service. I started writing my messages, printing it, and giving it to prisoners for study. About thirty-thousand pages later I finally realized that I kind of enjoy this writing stuff.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Everything. Actually, once I start writing, I can stay focused for hours. I’ve been known to sit for 12 hours to write without stopping. Except for a few necessary things. Hey, I don’t have a steel bladder.

My problem is getting myself to actually begin writing. Everything demands my focus and I struggle to set aside the time. But once I do, I am in the zone. I just have trouble finding where I left my zone.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I like non-fiction. I like reading a good biography, or real event. True crime is interesting to me and gives me an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. I have never been a fan of fiction. In fact, I probably didn’t read more than 6 fiction books in my life until I started writing fiction. I never thought I would write fiction until I saw a flash fiction contest. On a whim I decided, what the heck? I always said, “I don’t have much of an imagination,” but when I wrote the story, my brain felt supercharged.

I didn’t win that contest, but I wrote a second story that won two awards. After that, I was hooked on writing fiction. It was for this reason that I started reading fiction. I figured that I couldn’t write a story well unless I knew what a good story looked like. In the last two years I’ve read over 150 fiction books. I still prefer non-fiction, but I have also developed a strong appreciation for fiction.

The best fictional book ever written is the classic, Phantom of the Opera. It was a book I hated to see end.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
I felt drawn to a character named Kenyon. He’s a simple man with a genuine faith. He wrestles with God and reluctantly gives in. And then when he sees God move, he is amazed. Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Kenyon is a good contrast to those whose faith is pretentious in the book. No one in the world knows who Kenyon is except those who are touched by his life. I wish he could have had a bigger presence in the story.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Praise-country-pop-classical-celtic-blues. How’s that for a simple answer?

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
A friend of mine got the bright idea to cut eye-holes into empty Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets. We decorated them and drove around town looking like morons. We got some strange looks at traffic lights. Then we backed through a fast food drive-thru. No, we weren’t drunk. Can you imagine what would have happened if we did drink?

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Going to bed. I rarely go to bed before 1 a.m. Then I get up early. Not a good combination. It’s quiet at night, the kids are in bed, and I can write or do anything I want to do. When my paragraphs look like “The man whent thrghou a drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,” I know it’s time to hang it up.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Beef vegetable soup. Homemade of course. Add a little cornbread and it’s better than crème brulee of foie gras after an appetizer of caviar. At least I think it is, since I’ve never dined on crème brulee of foie gras after an appetizer of caviar

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  
Since my background is writing about spiritual topics, the answer is yes. The problem is that I can’t think of a specific topic I like best. I love the way truth unfolds to reveal the harmony of scripture. From Genesis to Revelation, the word paints a complete picture. We miss so much when we don’t see the big picture. I like to take a bird’s eye view, dive down to dig out nuggets, and then pull back to see how it fits into the whole of scripture. It never gets old.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
Proverbs 2:1-9. This passage unveils the key to discovering the truth of the Christian life. We receive the word, cherish it, seek for truth and wisdom as if it were a treasure (which it is), and then we have the promise that we’ll find and come to understand every good path. Is there any better promise for the believer in this life?

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My book is officially launching on April 12, 2011. It’s the story about an emotionally shattered boy who finds refuge in his love for dancing. Because dancing is his life, he invests everything into it and eventually makes it to Broadway. A drug addiction destroys his career and he becomes homeless on the streets of New York. When his high school dance partner comes to New York, she sees him washing windows for tips and reaches out to him. Ashamed, he pushes her away and refuses to let her or anyone else into his life. Her enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to this man, who has given up on life.

You can purchase I Called Him Dancer from Amazon.

Eddie is giving away a copy of I Called Him Dancer. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Linda said...

This sounds like a tremendously sensitive book on relieving emotional upheavals. Please enter me. I'm intrigued.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Amanda Stephan said...

Hello Mr. Snipes! Just a quick question ~ what do you mean you don't have a steel bladder?! Just kidding ~ very interesting interview. Thank you for the chance to win ~

amanda38401 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Good interview! I'd so like to
win this book!

authorkathyeberly said...

Your book sounds wonderful, Eddie! I would love to win a copy!

ann said...

Would love to win this book. It sounds like its very good reading

Sheila said...

Eddie, I too like to write at night. As I get older it's harder to stay awake!

Congrats on your book!

Ellen Andersen said...

Sounds like a great book that I'd love to read. Enter me in the drawing please.

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Eddie, what a great interview! Thanks for sharing and being so transparent. Loved your "fictional" story in high school. 7 research note cards? LOL

Like you, I have a hard time getting TO the writing, but once there I'm lost to everything around me.

Your book sounds like a moving, sensitive read. Would love to win a copy.

peg at peggyblannphifer dot com

Eddie said...

Thanks for all the wonderful comments. I would say, 'good luck on winning', but wouldn't saying that to everyone confuse the Leprechauns?

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like an interesting story.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Keiki Hendrix said...

Loved this quote: " I love the way truth unfolds to reveal the harmony of scripture." Yep, that sounds like Eddie.

Great interview.


windycindy said...

Sounds like an inspiration to read!
Thanks, Cindi

booklister said...

I love the story of how you started writing. . . . took me right back to high school and the endless "research" papers that I was required to write. . .

Eddie said...

Ah, the days of high school. The time when we worked by faith, not by study.

lgm52 said...

This book sounds very moving. I'd love to read it.

Jo said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing about yourself. This book sounds quite interesting and very sensitive. I would love to win it.


Judy said...

Great interview! I'd love to read this book.

Kym McNabney said...

I’ve read I CALLED HIM DANCER and was blown away by the storyline as well as the writing and characters. It’s one of my all time favorites. I recommend it to everyone. I encountered a homeless man a few weeks after I’d read the Michael instantly came to mind. I could do nothing less than give the man a few bucks. I wept tear after I had done so, knowing he too may have story like Michael.

Cindy Patterson said...

I look forward to reading your book...sounds Great!
Thanks, Cindy

Chrissy said...

I too am a late nighter, often up until 4a.m. I also lose mysekf for hours and hours once I force myself to begin writing! Your book sounds very interesting, and the endorsement from the woman who read it ssid it was "one of my all time favorite books." That really intrigues me. Enter me to win please!

Eddie Snipes said...

Thanks, Kym! I really appreciate that.

BTW, if you don't win, the Kindle version is on sale for .99 cents.

Thanks for all the feedback on the interview.


Meredith said...

I've always had trouble with the anticipation of getting something written than the actual writing. Seems there's so many other things that need to be handled (bills, emails, etc..) when that computer turns on.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

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