Sunday, August 21, 2022

Q&A with Lori R. Snyder



Lori R. Snyder is the author of the middle grade novel The Circus at the End of the Sea. She also is the founder of the Writers Happiness Movement, and she lives in Los Angeles.


Q: What inspired you to write The Circus at the End of the Sea, and how did you create your character Maddy?


A: I wanted to write a magical love letter to Venice, California, which has been one of the most enduring loves of my life. (True story: Before I met my now-husband, I decided I may as well make it official and marry myself to Venice. I was actually looking for a ring when he and I met. Which meant no marriage to Venice, but it was a good trade-off.)


The character of Maddy came about over time, with a whole lotta work. I wanted a character who was kind and didn't like being the center of attention but who was always going to say yes to magic. I tend to start from theme and work backward (a silly way to write I do not recommend anyone else try), so Maddy's character took a lot of revision for me to get right.

Q: What role do you see magic playing in the novel?


A: In this book and in the world, magic is just shorthand for all the things around us that dazzle, delight, and are by their very nature extraordinary.


The magic in Circus is really just an outpouring of the way I see the world. It says, I'm always here if you want to look more closely. It says, Even in the midst of sadness and trauma, things can glitter. It says, Anyone who chooses to see magic, will.

Q: As you noted, the book takes place in Venice, California--how important is setting to you in your writing?


A: For this book particularly they are inseparable! In general, though, I think setting will continue to be important.


I'm a Los Angeles native and one of the few people I know who absolutely loves LA. For some reason there aren't a ton of books for kids set in LA, and my next two books—the one I'm revising now and the one after that—also take place at in the Los Angeles I love.

Q: You also have a project called the Writers Happiness Movement. Can you say more about it?


A: Gladly! I started the Writers Happiness Movement to help writers have the literal and figurative space to write and to remove any paywalls for this.


Writers Happiness offers what I think of as free happiness tools for writers, which currently include online retreats, yoga, meditation, breathwork, salons, and other gatherings/workshops; weekly five-minute Happiness prompts; and monthly microgrants of $25.


The long-term goal is to build and manage larger grants, live-in residencies, and retirement homes for writers that are completely supported by the Writers Happiness Movement.


I started this because I want to live in a world where every writer or person who wishes to write has a solid structure around them to allow that to happen, where having the time to create is not correlated to money, and where kindness and creativity are rewarded.


I wanted to build a structure of financial and emotional support for writers that operates outside of capitalism as much as possible, and is instead based in communalism, kindness, and everyone's wellbeing, with no one left behind.


I've led in-person retreats for writers since 2015, and yoga retreats since about 2005. I've seen firsthand how much just a few days away, where everything you need is provided, can shift the psyche into a place where creativity flows. But retreats are expensive, and I wanted a way to bring this same kind of support to writers everywhere.


The economic structure of the Writers Happiness Movement is based in communalism and what I think of as open-handed support.


The way it works is this: Everything is available to everyone for free, and if someone can and wants to support this vision of the world, they can become a patron at $5 month (sometimes more or less, but that's the only official tier).


This patronage is what lets the Writers Happiness Movement continue to support to all writers for free...and as the patronage grows, Writers Happiness will be able to offer larger grants, send writers on residencies, design more programs for writers, and build retirement homes!


My goal is 100,000 people supporting Writers Happiness at $5/month by 2026. Imagine what we could build, and how many writers could be supported with that! 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I'm in revisions for my next book, another stand-alone middle grade fantasy coming out in 2024 with HarperCollins.


It's the story of a 12-year-old girl named Zephyr who accidentally wakes up the winter wind and ends up going on an adventure with him to literally save time. It features chocolate and pocket watches pretty prominently, so I'm already thinking of molded truffles for launch party desserts...


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I launched the Writers Happiness Movement less than a month before we went into lockdown for Covid, and of course that changed everything I had planned for it. I've loved the shape it's taken during this time.


Now it's time for me to step away and give myself the time to figure out its next iteration, and so the Writers Happiness Movement is on sabbatical for the rest of this year and will start up again in January 2023.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment