SPFBO Author Spotlight on Clayton Snyder

Anne C. Miles > SPFBO Spotlights > SPFBO Author Spotlight on Clayton Snyder

Clayton Snyder entered The Oblivion Psalm into SPFBO 6. He’s known for a lot of other work (which you can see here.) This was not the type of book I normally read, but I picked it up as soon as the contest commenced. It’s dark, very very dark. This book is “dark madness” and very well written. I’m the person who hides behind the couch during Dr. Who. So I didn’t finish the book yet, not because I don’t have time, but because the darkness is a bit too thick for my fictional palate. I have to take it in very small doses. But I can tell you in complete honesty that if you’re into dark fantasy/grimdark, the book is for you. I will hopefully get over my thin-skinned-ness and finish the book this weekend. Snyder’s prose is extremely descriptive and the characters come alive on the page, particularly the main character, Rook. But I didn’t want my squeamishness to keep you all from our interview, and I figured my review would basically be the same. This is a really good book, and it is dark madness. So let’s stick with that. LOL.

Clayton very kindly granted me the interview below! I hope you enjoy it.

C.W. Snyder is the author of Child of Nod, currently splitting his time between work and writing. He has worked as a system admin, developer, and project manager and authored several short stories, his most recent, “Mother Time, Father Death’, at Helios Quarterly. His literary influences include Roger Zelazny, Stephen King, and Robin Hobb.
Born and raised in Michigan, Clayton is a North Dakota transplant currently living in Bismarck with his wife and two dogs. He participates in several charitable works, including the Brave the Shave event for research for childhood cancer, and the local humane society.

Welcome to my lair, Clayton! Tell me about a great book you have read recently.

Starting with the hard question, eh? Okay, if I had to pick one (and this is like yanking teeth with a tractor), I’d say Black Stone Heart, by Michael Fletcher. All the best elements of dark sword and sorcery, the book punches you in the face from page one, and never really lets up. The characters are solid, the story compelling.

What’s your favorite song?

I’m terrible at this. I rarely organize things into best of, since I seem to have a rotating stable. But a song that’s stuck with me for 30+ years? Probably Bruce Hornsby’s “Mandolin Rain.”

Okay, time to escalate things: you get to travel to any book’s setting and world but you have to choose only one. Where do you go?

If I’m a family member, Amber. Then again, maybe not, unless I’m one of the family members they think of as too ineffective to do much more than tie his shoes.

That said, someplace bucolic and peaceful. The real world is full of enough strife. 

How do you like to work? (In silence, with music? Do you prefer to type or to hand- write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or underwater in scuba gear?)

Tell me about your writing method!

I need background noise. I was once approached during a con by someone who wanted to know how I worked with all the activity. I tune it out, so music/TV running in the background always helps me focus.

Lifelong pantser until recently. The new novel is plotted, with tolerance for rogue characters.

What/Who are your most significant fantasy influences?

Anna Smith-Spark, Roger Zelazny, Michael Fletcher, Madeline L’ Engle

What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Most helpful is probably: Treat it like a job. Sit down when you can and put the work in. Inspiration doesn’t strike like a bolt from the blue, but rather in the accretion of experience.

The worst: That any writing advice is a one-size-fits all panacea. Not everyone works the same way. Some can only work at certain times because of their health.

So, the absolute best: Take care of yourself first. The words aren’t going to disappear.

Can you tell me a little something about your current work(s) in progress?

It’s very secret. Mostly secret. But if you catch me on social, I’ll occasionally drop a snippet. 

How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?

I use the “Just 5 Minutes” method. Pretty simple. Do a thing for five minutes. If you still don’t want to do it, stop. No reason to force it. But it you forget you were only doing it for five minutes, and now it’s an hour, well, it worked.

Who are your favourite characters in literature or pop culture? And do you have a favourite type of character you enjoy writing?

Marith and Thalia, Orhan and Darath, Billy Butcher. I love writing rogues. Charming, reckless, a bit dumb, but clever as well.

Tell me about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.

The entire Empires of Dust series. Incredible in every way.

Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle me with an elevator pitch?

Betrayed by those he trusted. Resurrected by a man he should loathe. A head full of memories he didn’t make. Rook is forced into a bargain that might kill him if he refuses, and if he accepts, could mean the end of existence. Trapped in a shadow war between necromancers, his choices are dwindling to one: Cut a bloody swathe of revenge across humanity’s last remaining city.

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