Recently our staff interviewer, Billie Watts, sat down with Clayton Snyder to discuss his upcoming Before Sunrise Press release, The Pale Lady - available on Kindle and in other eBook formats, May 27, 2013.
BSP: To start this off, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?
Snyder: “My name’s Clayton Snyder, and I was born and raised in Michigan, and moved to North Dakota about 12 years ago. Over the years, I’ve worn more than a few hats, from landscaping to web development. I’ve dabbled in painting - landscapes, mostly - and occasionally picked up an instrument and played it poorly. I currently work for an advertising agency out of Bismarck, and in my free time, I write, which has always been my first love.”
BSP: Where do you believe your passion for writing stemmed from?
Snyder: “I’d have to say storytelling was instilled in me from an early age. Growing up, I had access to all kinds of books - everything from Grimm’s Fairy Tales to the Time-Life books on the supernatural. I devoured any book of fairy tales or mythology I could get my hands on, and was fascinated early on by the stories of the hero’s journey, or the titanic clashes between unfathomable powers. Later, I moved on from those to writers like Lovecraft, King, Gaiman, and Barker, and I had the opportunity to see how that mythology affected people on the human level. I think that’s when I first realized that as long as those mythologies persisted, there would always be stories to tell, and anyone could tell them.”
BSP: Who was the first author that you ‘clicked’ with as a reader?
Snyder: “Stephen King. I think I was 12 when I read Pet Semetary, and it scared the daylights out of me. After that, I read every one of his books I could get my hands on. It was when I read The Gunslinger, and that opening line - “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed…” - that something clicked in me. It gave me chills, and I knew, right then, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell stories, that even if they didn’t give you goosebumps, took you outside of yourself for a little bit.”
BSP: Tell us about The Pale Lady, your upcoming eBook.
Snyder: “The Pale Lady is a story about faith, and to some extent, love, and the dark corners some people will go to to have both.”
BSP: What prompted it?
“A dream I had some time ago was the original inspiration, though it evolved when I started playing the ‘what-if’ and ‘why’ game.”
BSP: Have you written anything else or are you currently working on anything?
Snyder: “I’m currently working on a book of shorts tentatively titled ‘Consider Wonderland’, which is a darker take on some of the main characters of Carroll’s wonderland. In addition, I have plans for another book of shorts titled ‘Coldhaven’, which will be set in an isolated prison in the Rocky Mountains, and the things that happen there. Consider Wonderland is an idea I had when I was reading up a bit on archetype and myth, and I really wanted to explore the darker sides of the characters. Coldhaven was born from the idea that I wanted to write a haunted house story mixed with some Lovecraft influence, and then throw a bit of claustrophobia in there to ratchet up the atmosphere.”
BSP: With technologies updating by the month and eReaders becoming increasingly popular, do you believe that reading from physical books will soon become a dead medium?
Snyder: “I don’t believe that print will ever truly be dead. I think there’s a certain romance in paper for people who love books. I think there’s a pride in actually owning the book, over owning an electronic copy. I still get a sense of accomplishment when I look at my shelves of read books. I have something I can point to and say I have something tangible to show for it.”
BSP: What do you think it takes to become a well known writer in a society that seems to undervalue authors?
Snyder: “Persistence and practice. I think talent helps, as well - it sets you apart - but I’m a big believer in writing every day, even if it’s garbage. You learn to recognize that, and I think it helps to get it out of your system, and improve. Learning to accept rejection is a big factor as well. Art is subjective, and learning that you can’t make everyone like what you write is part of that. Most of all though, write for you first. I’m a big believer in Joseph Campbell’s idea that if we do what we love, even if it’s only when we can, the rest falls into place.”
We’d like to thank Clayton personally for taking the time to let us interview him. Be sure to check out his upcoming short story, The Pale Lady, set to be released May 27, 2013 by Before Sunrise Press.
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