Friday, December 27, 2013
Interview with Author Carrie Snyder
Carrie Snyder's latest book -- The Juliet Stories -- was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General's Award for fiction, and her new novel, Girl Runner, will be published in Canada by House Anansi, next fall.
How/why did you start to write?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I started reading books (or perhaps slightly thereafter, when I realized that the books I loved reading were written by people called writers). I love words, language, ideas. I seem to have infinite patience for the technical challenges of writing books: crafting characters and story in ways that use carefully deliberated structure to create momentum, suspense, surprise, pleasure, and emotion for the reader.
How did you become an author?
My first published poems were written when I was 16 and still in high school, and were published three years later in a well-respected Canadian literary journal. Over the years I’ve had many mentors who have encouraged and guided me, including teachers and editors. My first job after graduating from U of Toronto with an MA in English Literature was in the books section of the National Post newspaper. This was an excellent crash course on the publishing industry. The steps to becoming a published author are too tedious to recount here, but suffice it to say that there were rejections and disappointments along the way, but I found an agent, who sold my first book, Hair Hat, to Penguin Canada, and it was published when I was 29. I never gave up, despite rejection.
What was your first published piece?
Two untitled poems, published in The New Quarterly. Small literary magazines are enormously important in the life of a beginning writer. Enough cannot be said about the hard-working, eagle-eyed, supportive, gentle, warmly enthusiastic editors who nurture new writers and help bring them to maturity.
How long ago?
My first poems appeared in 1994. My first book was published a decade later in 2004.
What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
I always intended to be a writer. I aimed myself at developing a career as a fiction writer from a very early age. I have degrees in English Literature, and my only real “job-job” was at the National Post, where I worked in the books section, and then later as a copy editor, and also wrote for the arts section. A great deal of reading and writing – any form of writing – can only be an asset to one’s career as a writer.
What inspires you?
I love a good story. And I love an iconoclastic character, perhaps an outsider, or someone who pushes the boundaries of convention in their time. I read the obituaries faithfully. I’m fascinated by how we make choices in our lives, and how bound we humans are by our own flaws; but also how adversity is overcome, painful rifts mended sometimes, and sometimes really beautiful things happen against all odds. I love the flaws in a character, almost as much as the strengths. Flaws are what make us interesting. Relationships are fascinating too. We are who we are in relation to others.
Thanks for your interest in my books and my blog, Leanne. Good luck with your own writing!
(Thank you for the well wishes. It was a pleasure having you visit.)
author photo taken by Nancy Forde
Visit Carrie Snyder's popular blog: Obscure CanLit Mama