December 08, 2017

Author Interview: C.W. Snyder ("Child of Nod")

Hello my darlings!
My guest today is C.W. Snyder, author of The Balance series (in progress). After reading his debut book Child of Nod, I reached out to him on Twitter with an interview proposal, which he graciously accepted. But before we get to know him (and his dreams 😉) a little better, here's a spotlight on his first book...

Title: Child of Nod
Series: The Balance (3 books)
Author: C.W. Snyder
Genres: Afterlife, Fantasy, Mythology
Year: 2017
Age: 14+
Child of Nod on Amazon | on Goodreads

Blurb: Alice wakes one day to find herself on the other side of death, in the corrupted fairy tale land of Nod. Unable to remember much of the events leading to her demise, she sets out on a journey to discover her memory and the reason for her presence in Nod. Unknown to her, the man responsible for her death, Jack, is on a mission to find her spirit and end her second life.
Alice takes flight, only to find herself drawn into the lives of those around her and the mystery permeating that place. From the humble streets of Elysium to the mirrored spires of Memoria, her journey takes her on a path that leads to a decision that will affect the fate of Nod.
Along the way, she meets a cast of characters that include a madman with a dark secret, her faithful companion, Dog, and woman made of memory. Together, they help her on her journey as she uncovers the truth of Nod and the woman behind it all, the Red Queen. (Amazon)

Interview: So, first off, thank you Clayton for agreeing to a Q&A session on Offbeat YA! Would you like to introduce yourself?

In my day job, I'm the systems admin for a small business. After work, I write, because I'm not quite at the 'people are throwing money at me' stage of my career yet. I have two dogs, I'm married, live in North Dakota, and occasionally pick up a guitar and play it badly. In the meantime, I've published a few short stories, and I'm the author of The Balance series, the first of which is Child of Nod. [...]

Let's start with the mandatory question...what prompted you to become a writer? 

Reading Stephen King and later, Clive Barker, I knew I wanted to write the sort of things that made me feel the way I did when I read their work. I wanted to inspire dread and relief, sorrow and joy in people. And I just wanted to tell scary stories, at first.

Child of Nod is your debut book - but is it the very first book you conceived?

Ha, no. The first idea I ever had for a book was about an angel that had fallen from heaven, and was being stalked by a serial killer. I wrote about thirty pages, re-read them, and immediately 'lost' the manuscript.

Alice in Wonderland retellings are all the rage lately, but Child of Nod definitely stands out, since it uses AIW as a prompt for an original story, and on top of that, weaves many other literary (and mythological) references into it. How did you come up with the idea?

The original seed for Child of Nod was a dream I had about a temple in a desert. It was being visited by a caravan of nomads going to pay respect. I remember I joined them (in the dream), and from there, got to see the inside of the temple. I remember this feeling of awe - it was a massive thing, almost grown from the stone, and statues lined the main walk. At the head of the temple, a woman with pale skin and dark hair sat on a throne, one leg thrown over, a smirk on her lips. That day, I wrote the first short story with a connection to Nod - The Pale Lady - and then pieces started to filter in from there.

Child of Nod is a book that defies age categories - the protagonist is, arguably, younger than your average YA heroine, and the story almost reads as a fable, but at the same time it's dark and complex, peppered with horror and inhabited by older, sometimes even ancient, often disturbing characters. What kind of readers would you recommend your book to?

I'd say the book is for anyone who likes mythology or fairy tales, albeit from ages 14 on. I wouldn't really recommend it for much younger - there's some subject matter that's kind of brutal, and I don't want to be the font of therapist fees for some poor parent. It's a hard range to nail down. I was reading original Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson far younger than that, and King as well. I'd say if there's someone there to explain what this thing or that thing is, or what it means, please, feel free to read it, but caveat lector.

Child of Nod is the first book in a trilogy; however, it's self-contained. Without entering spoiler territory, what can we expect from the sequels?

With the sequels, I wanted to explore a few things. Primarily loyalty, friendship, and loss, and coming into your own, but also the myth of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, so you'll see some changes in Alice and her friends. I wanted to tackle all the things that a 'hero' of the land might have to deal with as a consequence of her prior actions, and I think I accomplished that - unlife doesn't really get easier for Alice, but it does get interesting.

You mentioned on Twitter that you have two more projects you're working on, alongside the sequels to Child of Nod. Would you like to tell us something about them?

Sure. Here's a bit:
A Promise of Steel (2018) is a novel set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world. The gods are dead, and humanity is struggling to survive. New gods are born, old resurrected, and war looms on the horizon. It's a piece about loss, revenge, and hope, and the things people do to hold onto those things.
A Handful of Dust (2019) is a mid-century gothic piece about a woman who can see ghosts and works as a con artist, her brother who collects souls and poses as a tent revival preacher, and what happens when they clash. I had started writing it as a homage to the HBO series Carnivale, but it kind of took on a life of its own when I realized there was room to explore the themes of a haunted past, abuse, and friendship versus family.
There's one other I had an idea for, and it may preempt Handful, the working title of which is WITSEC (2019/2020). It's about a necromancer who works for the US Government, resurrecting witnesses to testify in criminal trials. It's a much lighter piece - urban fantasy with a sense of humor is how I'm describing it right now.

Those are all great ideas, imaginative, complex and genre-bending. I do hope they see the light of day soon! But back to your debut book, and as a last question, I dare you to describe Child of Nod tweet-style (well, old tweet-style 😉), in 140 characters only!

I'll go with the SFFpit tweet that got my publisher's attention:
"A dead girl travels the fairy tale land of Nod in search of her twin while pursued by the man who killed her."

Thank you Clayton for being my guest - those were some interesting answers, some of which even managed to catch me by surprise. Best of luck with your debut book, and I hope to talk to you again when the sequel (or one of your other books) is out!

Thanks for taking the time to do the interview! And thank you for reading!

About the Author

C.W. Snyder is a marketing and communications coordinator currently splitting his time between work and writing. He has worked as a developer and a project manager and authored several short stories, including a runner-up in Fictuary’s short story contest. His literary influences include Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Richard Kadrey. 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 annual Brave the Shave event for research for childhood cancer, and the local humane society.

Find C.W. Snyder Online:


  1. Very nice! I was already sold on Child of Nod for its Alice premise, but some of those books-to-come sound really interesting. Definitely an author I'll keep an eye on. :]]

    1. I knew the Alice connection would pique your interest...but CON is so much more than that, plus all his book ideas have a great potential!

  2. Loved this interview! Though the book doesn't seem like my type (especially since Stephen King is listed as one of the author's faves) I loved reading these answers, and I'll be looking forward to your review to see if it might be my type after all. Great post, Roby!

    1. Admittedly, the book is a bit dark, and if I know you...which I do by's probably not your cup of tea. Maybe more like Vera's (a.k.a. DeVicious Mind 😂).

      Thank you dear!

  3. I've had this book on my radar since you started talking about it Roberta and this interview gave me the push I needed to download it.

    I do like creepy and dark and I love how that dream became the catalyst for the story.

    For What It's Worth

    1. Yay! Sometimes interviews do their job! 😉 Though of course, answers have to be interesting for them to succeed.

      I hope you'll like it!


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