Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Interview With Author Eddie Snipes

Good morning all! I'd love for you to help me in welcoming Author of I Called Him Dancer, Eddie Snipes :)
AW: Hi Eddi! Please tell us a bit about yourself so we can get to know you...
GES: I’ve been actively writing for about 15 years. Somehow I went from hating writing to loving it. I can remember sitting in class, staring at a blank piece of paper and saying, “I can’t think of anything.” I didn’t have writer’s block. I had writer’s blockhead.
Here’s a little story that gives an insight into my writing habits.
I wrote my first *ahem* fictional story in high school. This might seem a bit off topic, but it will give you an idea of my ‘love’ for writing. I don’t remember the name of the class, but it was a required writing class for graduation. Half the grade was a research paper. I picked to write about the arms race between the US and Russia since the Cold War was still a hot topic in the American culture in the early 80s. Halfway through the class, we had to turn in our research note cards. The class had spent weeks in the library, supposedly researching. When the teacher reviewed them, she handed them back and said, “If you don’t have at least 70 research cards, you will not succeed in this assignment. I began counting my cards, wondering why she was looking at me as she made this statement. I ran out of cards – seven. I had seven notecards to show for weeks of research. Her note written on the top of the stack said something like, “You don’t have a prayer.”
The assignment must have *slipped* my mind, but the teacher jogged my memory a few weeks later when she said, “Don’t forget, your rough drafts are due tomorrow. Minimum 30 pages.”
I assessed the situation and came to the conclusion that now was the time to start getting serious. I studied the seven cards – which didn’t take long since there wasn’t any significant information on them. All combined, it may have equaled a paragraph. That is, providing fragments could serve as sentences. I took my paper and a pen and decided the best first step was to interview an arms race expert – me. I mean Colonial Smith. Thirty pages later I had a complete analysis of the US / Russian arms race, including expert opinions, statistics, and a game plan for addressing the problem. In other words, I had just written my first fictional story. I should have known then that something in my brain was wired for writing.
BTW, I scored my best grade ever in the subject of English. My teacher was proud that I had finally gotten my act together and took care of business. Let’s just keep this secret between you and I. We don’t want to dash her ego.
Many years later, I became involved in a prison ministry. These guys were hungry for truth, and I realized they needed more than a 30 minute service. I started writing my messages, printing it, and giving it to prisoners for study. About thirty-thousand pages later I finally realized that I kind of enjoy this writing stuff.

AW: Haha! It took you thirty-thousand pages to discover you liked writing!?! What genera do you write and why?
GES: I write Inspirational fiction and Bible related non-fiction. I like to use both fiction and non-fiction to communicate truth to an audience. Jesus used parables to reach the masses, and then deeper studies of truth to those who responded. Both are valid ways to communicate the love of God to people.
AW: Please tell us a bit about I Called Him Dancer...
GES: I Called Him Dancer is a story about a neglected child who falls in love with performing. He makes it his life’s goal to become a Broadway performer. Through many hardships, he achieves his goal briefly, but a drug addiction overtakes his life.
When his former dance partner comes to New York, she is shocked to find him homeless. Though he pushes her away, her unconditional love causes her to reach out to this man, who has given up on life.
AW: What inspired you to write this book?
GES: A song called ‘Dancer’ is the inspiration behind the book. Tralena Walker performed it at the Atlanta Writer’s Club. The talk was about storytelling in small spaces – such as song lyrics. When she said, “We’ve been looking for someone to turn this song into a novel, I had an epiphany. The entire story unfolded in my mind and I knew I was the one. I worked with her and her co-writer to shape the story.
In my epiphany, I also saw the opportunity to reach out to those struggling with addiction. I personally have witnessed people addicted to Meth. I’ve seen people escape the clutches of addiction, and other people waste away. My hope is twofold. For those who have loved ones struggling with a destructive addiction, this book presents the hope of God’s outstretched hand. For those fighting addiction, it shows that God doesn’t reject them. Nor does God hate those who lash out at Him. God doesn’t deal with us based on who we are, but based on who we will be when we stand before Him. No one is beyond hope.
AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?
GES: I felt drawn to a character named Kenyon. He’s a simple man with a genuine faith. He wrestles with God and reluctantly gives in. And then when he sees God move, he is amazed. Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Kenyon is a good contrast to those whose faith is pretentious in the book. No one in the world knows who Kenyon is except those who are touched by his life. Many readers have told me how much they liked Kenyon as well.
AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?
GES: Editing.For I Called Him Dancer, I have over 500 files with that name. So that should give you an idea of the number of saved revisions. On the advice of a publisher, I rewrote the novel completely, hated it, and rewrote it again. At one point I saved my manuscript with 'final draft' in the file name. When I hit final draft 29, I decided to name it something more realistic – something like, ‘Pathetic attempt 193’.
When everything was complete and perfect, I gave it to my editor. I received it back with needed corrections on nearly every page. I wanted to toss my hands up and say, “I’ve given it my best, what more can I do?” Turns out, there was a lot more that I could do. And these painful edits made the book so much better.
AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?
GES: I am just finishing a non-fiction book called ‘Simple Faith’. It’s a book about how God laid out a simple plan that shows every Christian how to walk in victory. It’s in the editing phase now and hopefully will be released soon.
AW: Do you have any interesting quirks you want to tell us about?
GES: I like to smash fire ants with a sledge hammer. One at a time, of course.
AW: Sledge hammer huh...I guess that is one way to 'kill time' :) Do you have any advice for writers out there?
GES: Write every day if possible. Our craft improves with perseverance. Also, no matter how good of a writer you are, the work has to be edited. The mind is a strange thing. We always fill in the gaps with our understanding of our work, and we can’t see the holes in our plot. If a writer has to explain what they meant, it needs to be rewritten. Once you edit your work to perfection, have it edited. When it’s perfect in your eyes, you’re ready to have your ego dashed to smithereens. Ah, the joy of the editing process.
AW: Where can we find you? (facebook, twitter, blog, website, etc)
GES: My website and blog is http://www.eddiesnipes.com
Twitter: @eddiesnipses
Facebook – eddiesnipes
Linked in – can you believe it? eddiesnipes
AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book?
GES: The kindle version is 99 cents at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ISLPUE/
There is also a print version at http://www.amazon.com/Called-Him-Dancer-Edward-Snipes/dp/0983224706/
For ebooks, it’s available on all major retailers.
Thank you so much Eddie!


  1. Nice job, both of you. As a teacher I have seen that same look of 'I hate this' on some students faces. Maybe some of them will be writers!

  2. Thanks, Tracy. You just never know who has the spark deep inside, waiting to ignite.

  3. Hi Eddie and Ashley! What a terrific interview ~ tutu's lookin' good... ;)

    Going to Tweet about it now...

    Books By Amanda

  4. I bought the book a couple of weeks ago and look forward to reading it on vacation.

  5. Eddie, I bought the Kindle version after reading this. Hope everyone does.

  6. Great interview guys! I've heard about this book for some time now and it's always nice to know the history behind it. This one is definitely on my to be read list.