By Deena Adams
I’ve never met Colleen Snyder in person, but the camaraderie we share as Christian writers online makes me feel as though she is a close friend. She’s smart, witty, faithful, a prayer warrior, and loves Jesus desperately.
Her book, Verdict at the River’s Edge,” a contemporary suspense with a touch of romance, released October 20, 2020. I hope you enjoy getting to know Colleen a bit through this interview and will consider supporting her work as an author. If you read her book, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and any other book selling platforms.
When did you start writing?
I had been “encouraged” by a visiting author in Junior High, “You should consider writing as a career” after she read a piece wrote. But I started writing with a vengeance in high school. I discovered it was “acceptable” and “normal” to write episodes for your favorite TV shows! It’s called “fanfic” now. I wrote for two Westerns and could turn out an episode in a few days. My friend and I kept them in a secret binder we had. (Now lost to time and better sense…)
Why did you choose to write in the suspense genre?
Life is suspense. You never know what will happen or why. My characters aren’t looking for suspense. They sort of stumble into it. Over it. Through it.
What challenges do you face in writing about murder and mayhem?
Finding out I have a darker side than I first believed. Also, I keep losing the ‘body count’ (how many people are dead in this book right now??) Body count aside, there is something “dark” in all of us. How dark is only revealed when we let our imaginations begin to flow too freely.
I likened imagination to a winged dragon in my first book (Journey to Amanah.) Turned totally loose, she was trouble. But under control, she served her purpose. (She didn’t like being controlled, however.)
How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your novels?
By presenting the Gospel without apologies. Not the Roman Road, but an explanation people can relate to. Using examples that are “current” to the times. Jesus’ sacrifice can be seen in so many ways and places.
Every book I write WILL have a clear presentation and “invitation” for the reader to examine their own lives and accept Christ. Hope comes from knowing the Lord. Without Him, there is none.
Are your stories inspired by personal history?
Yes and no. Someone said, “Your first book is autobiographical.” Wellll…. My FIRST published work was written as a take-off on Chronicles of Narnia, and used my children as the main characters.
Of course, by the time the story had been “upgraded” to publishing-worthy, the children were late teens, and the names were changed to better fit the Biblical theme. But I did pattern some of the characters after people I knew.
In the “current era” published work, Verdict at the River’s Edge, I struggle with some of the same issues that Collin, my protagonist, struggles with.
What has God taught you along your writing journey?
That the challenges may look big, bigger, biggest…but they are all the same to God. He is forever challenging me to “give up” dreams. As my characters discover, He will ask, in essence, “Do you love me more than this?”
Would I give up my dream of marriage? Would I give up my dream of living on the West Coast near my family? Would I give up my dreams of a career? Would I give up writing? It came in the form of a direct, “If I asked you to give up writing, would you?” My honest response was, “Please don’t ask me.”
But the question came again, “Would you give it up if I asked?” And the only answer had to be, “Yes, Lord. If You ask me never to write another word, I won’t.”
Took me two days to come to that point, but I did. Only after that did He give me the first book I published. But it had to come from the point of surrender.
Which character in Verdict at the River’s Edge was easiest to write and why?
Collin. She is my alter-ego. She suffers the same “voices” in her head I do (poor woman.) She is me at my best and worst. The hardest was Mitch Kellum, the boating instructor and the villain. In my head, bad people are BAD. I want them to BE bad. Writing a “realistic” bad guy was hard.
What was the hardest scene to write?
Collin is alone, being pursued in her head by the demons of her father’s voice. Harder. Work harder. You never work hard enough. You want love? You want acceptance? Work harder. And know that no matter how hard you work, it will never be enough. Never enough. Never enough…
Collin defends herself across the miles and years, “I loved you. I tried to love you.” But did you try hard enough? To which there is no answer.
That scene strikes to the heart of who I am, what I grew up with. What, in honesty, I still battle. Did I try hard enough? Did I DO enough? Maybe it’s in all of us. But it’s there, deep down. Always.
How can readers and fans support you?
WRITE REVIEWS!!! And HONEST reviews. For myself, I don’t care if it’s not a 5-star review. If the book missed the mark for the reader, tell me why. How can I grow in my writing if people don’t tell me what I’m doing wrong? Or right? So, review, review, review!
Any last words for readers?
I hope people who read my books draw closer to the Lord. I hope they see Him as He is: Love and Joy and Peace and Patience and Gentleness and Goodness and Kindness. That He is worthy of praise, and that He is our Only Hope.
Join the conversation. Do you enjoy reading Christian suspense? What’s your favorite aspect of that genre? Can you relate to Colleen’s hardest scene and the drive to work harder? Do more? What helps you overcome?
All those who comment on this post by 8 p.m. EST on December 8 and provide your email address will be entered to win an e-copy of Colleen’s book, Verdict at the River’s Edge. Winner will be announced in the post comments and contacted on December 9.
Colleen K. Snyder has always had a passion for writing. She authored two previously published books: Journey to Amanah: The Beginning (1991) and Return to Tebel-Ayr: The Journey Continues (1993) (B&H Publishing).
She lives on a “ranchette” in California and is training as the (very) junior ranch hand. She serves on her church prayer team and exercises a ministry of encouragement.
Colleen has worked as a factory line worker, pharmacy technician, USAF missile systems analyst, nanny, teacher and whatever else the Lord required. Her story is for His glory, always.
Connect with Colleen:
Verdict at the River’s Edge by Colleen Snyder
(Click on the book cover for Amazon purchase link.)
What terrifies you?
In the dark recess of your soul, what is it that you’ve managed to avoid, to hide, to bury deep, never to be faced? And what if the Lord asked you to face that fear for no other reason than, “Because I’m asking?” What would you do?
Welcome to Collin Walker’s world.
Collin Walker, a social worker from the innercity of Oakton, Ohio comes to Camp Grace for what is billed as “an extreme sports camp.” Her single purpose: to show her ward, Rob Sider, that there is more to life than the streets “…show you can be strong and still love, win without cheating, and succeed in life without all the bells and whistles…” Collin has no way of knowing that God has other plans for her week: facing a lifelong terror of rushing rivers, and perhaps her greatest fear of all, the possibility of real love.
Jeff Farrell is the camp “go-to”man: janitor, tour guide, paramedic… Collin finds his easy banter, gentle humor and quick wit intriguing. As their paths cross over and over—and over and over—Collin finds herself drawn to him. When Rob picks whitewater rafting as his challenge and asks Collin to come along, Collin must muster all her rigid self-control and her faith to face her fear. But when a killer makes her his next target, which will she rely on to see her through? Her strength? Or her faith? Can she “walk the talk” when the events of the week spiral out of her control?
If you missed the video interview last week with author, Christine Dillon, you can watch it here.