Author Pen Name: J.M. Snyder
CA: What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that youwrite?
JMS: I write gay erotic/romantic fiction. I like to think of my stories as "gay" first, with perhaps a touch of eroticism or romance mixed in.Some of my books are futuristic, paranormal, fantasy, or historical as well. The main reason I write gay fiction is because I believe thecharacters' stories need to be told.
When I sit down to start a story, the voice I write in is that of a gay man — that's what speaks to me. And I hope that my writing speaks to others, as well, that it encourages, empowers, and inspires people who identify as gay to value and love who they are regardless of what society wants them to be.
CA: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
JMS: When I was 8 years old :) I've always loved to write, and pursued it as a "hobby" until about the 11th grade in high school. That's when I realized all I wanted out of life was to write. In college I began to grow confident in my abilities as a writer, and after graduation, I set out to get published. At this time, I was writing fantasy, which seems to be what every writer cuts their teeth on at one point or another. I mean, that's what I read, so that's what I wrote. But it's a hard market to break into, and I grew discouraged.
After a few years, I stumbled upon slash fan fic (homoerotic fiction about straight characters), and it seemed as if a whole new world had opened up for me. Suddenly my writing came alive in a way it never had before, and I knew I had to continue to write gay fiction because that was where my voice was, where my stories were. In 2001, I stopped writing fan fic to begin publishing original gay fiction, and I haven't looked back.
CA: Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
JMS: I find inspiration everywhere. A phrase in a book I'm reading, a line in a song I hear, the way the light falls through the window and lands on a person's face in a way I never noticed before. A lot of my ideas come to me when I can't write them down ~ while I'm driving, or in the shower, or at a concert or outdoor event. Though I have taught myself how to drivewith one hand while scribbling on a notebook in my lap :) Not thesafest way, maybe, but at least I don't lose that thought.
CA: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
JMS: Well, I write every day. Every day. I don't see it as "work" ~ to me, writing is a discipline that you have to continue to hone, like any athletic prowess or mental capability. A runner doesn't begin at the starting line of the Boston Marathon; he begins with short jogs, daily exercises, to get his body into shape. To me, writing is the same thing. I have to write every day to keep the juices flowing, keep the storygoing, and perfect my ability to put words on paper that people willwant to read.
That's not to say sometimes I don't have "off days." Everyone does.If I'm suffering through a bout of writer's block or life gets too hectic and I'm unable to write, I find my mood becomes horrible and I'm not a pleasant person to be around. Writing is also a release for me, a way to let my bottled up emotions out so I don't explode :) So a day without writing winds the noose just a little tighter, if you know what I mean.
CA: Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?
JMS: Whenever I have a new release, I'm always excited :) No matter how many books you publish, whenever a new one comes out, it's your "baby." You want people to enjoy reading it as much as you did writing it, and you just want to shout out at the top of your lungs, "READ MY BOOK!"
CA: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
JMS: I play video games (I love The Legend of Zelda series and am in the final dungeon of Twilight Princess at the moment). I also read, go to themovies, update your website (I'm a geek; I think coding HTML is fun), and watch a little TV (now that American Idol is back on). And I lovegoing on "field trips," visiting battlefields and museums and whatnot to get inspiration or research my stories.
CA: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
JMS: I have 11 books in paperback, an additional 20 books in e-book format only, and have stories in 7 anthologies. It's hard to pick a favorite.I love Stepping Up to the Plate, which I think is the best story I'vewritten that's available in paperback. I also love Persistence ofMemory, which is a finalist in the 2008 EPPIE Awards in the GLBT category. And my favorite "couple" has to be Vic Braunson and Matt diLorenzo from my series, The Powers of Love and The Positions of Love.
CA: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
JMS: People definitely inspire my characters, particularly theirappearances. I see strangers in passing or actors on TV and subconsciously use their look as a guide around which I create the rest of the character. Some of my secondary characters are plucked straight from "real life" ~ I take idiosyncrasies or oddities from people I know and use them to help flesh out the character, make him/her more "real." But a lot of my characters' thoughts and mannerisms are actually my own.
There is a little bit of me in each character I create, good or bad, and I think that too helps readers connect to them, because they read like real people and not cardboard cut-outs or generic stereotypes.
CA: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
JMS: My only advice is to write. Whether you're just starting out orStarting a new story, write. Silence the inner editor and don't listen to what people say about whether you can or you can't ~ just put pen to paper and get the story out. Don't worry about what people will think about it; tell the story that's true to you. Worry about sentence structure or correct grammar or proper spelling it up after its written, but write it out first, at all costs. You can't edit something that doesn't exist so write, write, write.
CA: How can a reader contact you or purchase your books?
JMS: My website is at http://jmsnyder.net/, which lists all my publications, as well as free stories, book excerpts, and monthly contests. I have a blog at http://jmsnyder.com/ and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from people who've enjoyed my stories, so please feel free to drop me a line and say hi!
CA: Thank you so much JM for such a detailed peak at you as an author! Enjoy your week here!