Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Meet my friend, John Snyder

How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

When I was in the seventh grade I wrote a science fiction story and was told by my teacher that it might be good enough to publish. This was a total shock to me. Until that moment it had never even crossed my mind to write.

My call to write came much later and mostly from my friends and church members who said that I would be irresponsible for not utilizing what they saw was a gift from God that needed to be used for his glory. But it’s clearly the case that when I write, I feel God’s pleasure.

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

Probably religious non-fiction. My style and interests have changed greatly over the years. In the beginning, I wrote mostly academic type stuff (papers, articles, and the like), but in recent years I’ve shifted to down-to-earth books about God, Jesus, and general faith and church related issues, striving for simplicity and clarity to communicate the greatest news on earth.

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

Due to a visual handicap I can write only about two hours per day, first thing in the morning. After that it’s over. On the average it takes me about a hundred days of writing to complete a book.

You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

My newest book is entitled Your 100 Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on God. It’s a guided prayer tour for a hundred day period to encourage the reader to keep on faithfully bringing their prayer requests to God. It’s not just for those facing an unusually big problem, life transition, or decision, but also for anyone seeking a discipline of reading Scripture daily and to journal their prayer walk. Our family has found that wonderful things happen when we follow Jesus’ admonition to keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking.

The book can be found at Amazon or CBD or Barnes and Noble.

What is the spiritual message in your book?
What I’m hoping to communicate is God’s love, faithfulness, and very best for us—his trustworthiness, compassion, and kindness. God is near and very accessible. What I hope everyone gets from it is that God doesn’t dwell in a heaven light-years away from us, but just inches above our heads. He enters into our grief and pain. I want them to be encouraged to wait on him and to see how he brings us through to the other side—to learn how he blesses us not according to our excellent faith or performance, but according to his excellent mercy and generosity. I have tried to put a course on biblical theology in the form of a readable prayer guide.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?

I’ve not only been tempted to give up, I’ve given up—many times and sometimes for years. It’s just too hard to keep trying when no one seems to like what you have to say. The rejection notices can be joy killers! You have to look at them and laugh and figure out how many you’ll collect before God opens just the right door.

Writing for me was like the Myth of Sisyphus, trying to roll the boulder up the hill only to have it roll back down, over and over again. But the love of writing and the inner “push” to write were the driving force. My only regret is that I did give in and stopped writing. If you truly believe that God has called you to do something, you just have to keep going, keep climbing, even when all you want to do is quit and find the nearest hammock.

Who’s inspired you the most?

I would have to say my wife Shirin. She always kept after me to pick up the writing again when I was fed up with it. She never lost confidence in me even when I thought I was just wasting my time.

Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

Twenty-eight years ago I found a publisher on my own. That was when they were still accepting unsolicited manuscripts. After that, I got so busy pastoring that I didn’t have time to write.

Today, it’s really tough to do that. Now I have a great literary agent, Diana Flegal, who I believe came only by divine providence and is really an incredible gift to our family. She just knows a lot about the who’s and where’s that I could never get.

Rather than relaxing now, I’m even more motivated to keep going and at an even faster pace. Our family really wants God to use us for his work.

Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?

I love being with my wife Shirin and daughters Sarah and Stephanie, research and learning, watching old and new films, and thinking by the hour. I still haven’t been to my wife’s country India, so that is on our prayer list.

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

A lot of my writing that’s still unpublished appears on our website Community 321 (named after Ephesians 3:21). For promotional work, I point to Shirin, Sarah, and Stephanie who are all great writers and computer gurus. They know the new rules on how to maximize the web in order to get the information out. Besides being musicians, Sarah and Stephanie are social media consultants.

Thanks for joining me this week, John!
Blessings, readers. Check out John's book if you want a deeper prayer life with God.

1 comment:

L.A. Cecil said...

Thank you for doing this interview. Sometimes I feel like giving up as a writer, but reading John say how he laughs at the rejection gives me hope. Also, to be reminded that God is right there is wonderful. Thanks so much!