Interview with Vivian Lee Snodgrass, author of “Word Play : A New Approach for Understanding”

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?


The reason the genre I wrote in is so special is because eternity is important to many including myself. Jesus is special to me and so is accessing His power through words. I have been able to overcome the obstacles of life with this knowledge.


When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?


When in the fifth grade, which was the last grade before leaving elementary school and entering into Intermediate School, all the students had to write a short book complete with illustrations. Only certain books were kept and were added to the school’s library. Mine was chosen. It was a great honor.


Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?


I have produced one book. For that book first I asked a friend to run each chapter through the “Write Point” academic editing program. Then I made the corrections and proofread it myself. After those corrections were made I printed out a copy and asked a friend to proofread using a red pen. I made those corrections and printed out another copy. I did this process with two more friends until the draft was reading for submission to the publishing company. They sent it back to me for one final proofread and edit. I did that part myself. When the publishing company sent back a copy of the final draft I saw I had missed a few corrections. I had to pay extra to make the changes before the manuscript was sent for typesetting.


Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?


Yes. The idea of the book I produced was something I carried inside for a bit over 20 years. Currently I have a couple of other projects still stewing.


Have you ever designed your own book cover?


Kind of. During the production phase of the publishing process I told the design team exactly what I wanted and they designed the cover for me.


Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?


I would tell my younger self to stay in school. I graduated high school by taking a test. It was a month before my 15th birthday when I did. I went to a community college when I was still at that age but dropped out. Yes I would tell myself to stay in school and also to take a lighter course load.


Did you ever think you would be unable to finish your first novel?


Yes. It took two years for me to finish my first manuscript. During that time I didn’t have any idea how I was going to pay to self publish. I kept writing regardless. I believed if the Holy Spirit wanted me to write this book then the Holy Spirit would find a way for me to pay to self publish.


How much of yourself do you put into your books?


In my only publication there is much about myself. I poured out stuff people don’t speak of. My next idea for publication is of my poetry. You can bet there will be more of myself in that one.


It is often believed that almost all writers have had their hearts broken at some point in time, does that remain true for you as well?


Yes. I could write a series of novels for all of the times my heart has been broken. What I decided to write of is how to find strength in God through the power of words. Word define reality. I can change my perception of reality by changing the words describing it. This knowledge is what I chose to share.


Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?


My mom is who initially supported my writing. It was my mom who taught me how to read and write. I believe it is because of her I have a passion for words. It was my mom who wanted me to compile my poetry into a book. I am currently working on that project.


Poets and writers in general, have a reputation of committing suicide; in your opinion, why is that the case?


I have always considered myself to be a poetess. Inside of my very being I have carried feelings that have erupted onto paper in rhyme. This means I feel with an intensity like that of a volcano. Any person who feels emotions with that kind of intensity will feel at some point in their lives it is all too much to bear. For me it has been a lifelong exercise in learning how to gauge my own feelings and to know when to try to change the course my heart is following.


Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors?


Before 2015 I would have replied to this question with I like to stay indoors. In 2015 I traveled to Hawaii with my best girlfriend and had the time of my life. We have three more vacations scheduled for 2016 and am very excited to go.


Have you ever marketed your own books yourself?


For the first two years following my book’s release I did all of the marketing through friends, family and social media. In 2015 I hired an advertising agency to assist with my book’s website and other marketing strategies. Currently I am trying out Serious Reading’s reviewing process to see if it helps in acquiring more readers.


What do you do in your free time?


I use my free time to spend with my four little dogs. Wintertime can be difficult to get out and do much but in the spring and summer months I like to work on my yard and gardens. I also spend a considerable amount of time using the Internet for social media to promote my book.


Was it all too easy for you – the writing, the publication, and the sales?


No. The complete process of writing, publication and sales has been the biggest exercise in patience. I thought all I had to do was write the book and that took me two years to finish. The publishing process took about a month. The most challenging part has been finding ways to continue promoting the book. I am not a salesperson but I have had to learn how to have the courage to reach out to people not in my circle of friends convince them to buy my work.


How did it feel when your first book got published?


I thought I would feel different somehow but didn’t. I was excited and felt accomplished. I was also curious to know if people would buy and read it. There was an overwhelming feeling of personal satisfaction when I held the book in my hands. It was then I felt all of my hard work had finally manifested into something tangible and bearing my name as the author.


Was there a time you were unable to write, At All?


Yes during my teens. I was struggling in the freshman year of English during the poetry section of the curriculum. I was in the English honors class and thought my struggling was because the class was tough. I was plagiarized by other students I shared my poetry with. The worst part was they got A’s on the same poems I got F’s with. When I saw their papers with the big fat A+’s something inside of me snapped. I could not write for nearly a decade.


Did you ever change sentences more than five times just because it didn’t hit the right notes?


Yes. I found I write backwards when it comes from my head onto the computer. After writing the first draft I had to reverse the order of the content and had to reverse most of the sentence structuring. This insight into how I write was surprising. Once I thought I had finished the sentences I would recite them aloud word for word to make sure they sounded just right.


It is often said that in order to write something, you must believe in what you are writing. Do you agree with that?


Yes. I believed the information I wrote of was given to me so I would write it. I have a deep desire to help others in their own spiritual walk and I thought the best way to do that was to write it down and make it available to the world by publishing. I can’t imagine writing about something I didn’t believe in. You could say I am genuine in that way.


Do you wish your first novel hadn’t been the first to introduce you to the world?


No. I poured out 20 years of personal experiences into the contents into my first novel. I feel it may be the only novel I produce. I worked diligently on this project for two years. I did the best I could and am convinced it was worth every ounce of energy it took to accomplish.


Tell us about an interesting or memorable encounter you had with a fan?


I believe the most memorable encounter I have ever had with a fan is the time my neighbor purchased a hardcover copy of my book and asked me for my autograph. Before then I had never been asked for my autograph. It was a true compliment I will never forget.


What weather inspires you the most, in terms of bringing out your literary best?


The winter. Where I live the weather turns cold and gray during that time. We also experience good snow falls. I have more inside time than any other time of the year. I make use of the extra time spent inside my home.


If you were given a teaching opportunity, would you accept it?


I would like to think yes but am not sure. I have never officially been a teacher before and am not sure of what I could teach. I love to share knowledge I possess but more so in a one to one conversation.


What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?

My dream goal before I die is to have sold a million copies of my first book, “Word Play: A New Approach for Understanding.”


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