One of the pleasures I have an an editor here on No Wasted Ink is to encourage young authors that are coming out of the gate with new work. Enter Mel Snyder, an enterprising and upcoming writer.
Hello, my name is Mel Snyder. I am 22 years old, I’m an artist, author, language enthusiast (although I’m only fluent in two so far). I love learning how to renovate and do repairs around the house, recently rediscovered my joy for gardening, and am trying to learn my first instrument; drums. I have a noisy three-legged cat named Matrix, and spend my downtime with my wonderfully chaotic family and friend. Despite struggling with depression, anxiety, and other problems, I try my best to be outgoing and inviting to those I meet.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing at around 12-13. I loved to read, and I always thought it would be amazing to have my worlds, characters, and stories enthusiastically read and talked about. To have people empathize with the characters, immerse themselves in my stories, and clutch every page tightly as they desperately try to unravel the mysteries of the plot would be a dream come true.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I was 18, when I officially published my book. As much as I loved the idea of calling myself a writer, I felt like I needed physical proof to give myself that extra confirmation.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
It takes place in an alien world where the citizens of the planet have undergone a brainwash that left every last one of them emotionless, obedient, and silent. At least, that’s what the governing system would like to think. The main character, Zepharius, is broken from that enforced repression and is trying to find the answers to why this happened while searching for the solution to restore her people. Finding others like her with the same ambition, she struggles with trust, betrayal, disabilities, ignorance, and the unknown. It’s a story about internal and external battles, fighting for what’s right, understanding oneself, and developing close bonds with family and friends to endure trials.
What inspired you to write this book?
Much like JRR Tolkien who wrote the stories of Middle Earth to cope with his traumatic and life-changing experiences from World War I, I find a lot of inspiration comes from the things I have witnessed and endured in my life. This series was my way of venting my feelings, or previous lack thereof, and showing the way life can change a person as their world seems to collapse around them. I wanted to have a book that included the complex internal struggles that many stories forget to include but many are so desperate to read, and show that characters disabled both mentally and physically can still be strong. I suppose it’s not only to inspire others, but also to myself.
Do you have a specific writing style?
First person perspective seems to be my go-to. In terms of style, I could say I am very descriptive, perhaps even too descriptive. I want my stories to be like a virtual reality world where the reader can pick up the book and be inside the scene, looking around and experiencing the sights, smells, sounds, and feel of everything around them.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
I’m very bad at titles, which is ironic because I can make up obscure names and languages with ease. So, I decided to stick with the main character’s name. After all, the stories are only from her perspective.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are various messages I’ve strewn throughout the stories, whether it be political, social, familial, or interpersonal. The most important message I want my readers to grasp is that no matter what you are going through and where you are, it is important to find people that you can trust and rely on. They may not have the same ideals, be the same “species”, or use the same methods to get through situations, but it is still possible to be united and push through difficult times with them. We are all in this together.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As mentioned before, the plot, the characters, and the situations are heavily inspired by the events I have endured in life. Some situations I have extracted from my family or friend and have used them as a basis for a scene or quote. Most of my characters are either a variation of myself and others that I am close with, adding a few quirks here and there.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Arthur Conan Doyle and JRR Tolkien. Maybe it’s why I find myself getting lost in descriptions. Tolkien opened a gateway for me to discover the lengths I could go to create an immersive, awe-striking world with various characters, scenes, situations, and action. Doyle’s work showed me how to create quirky and intriguing characters, as well as showing the importance of including even the smallest details, especially if they’re needed to understand a later plot point.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
I actually design the covers myself! While searching for ideas on how to put the cover together, I came across the endless photos of stock covers and other illustrator’s work, but nothing seemed to come across as what I envisioned for my cover. So, I decided to sit down, pull out my paintbrushes and put my vision on canvas paper.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up. If you receive criticism, accept it and learn from it. If you can’t get yourself to write, give yourself a distraction until you’re ready again. Remember that your work is a part of you, so be sure to consider it as yourself. Take pride in it, share it with others. Soon enough you’ll find those who love your work as much as you do.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Despite everything, there is hope. Despite betrayal and loneliness, there is trust and family. Despite trials and setbacks, there is a way to push forward. And even if you feel like giving up, you need to keep pushing through each day, because if you live through your trials, you can use them to inspire and strengthen others.