Friday, August 10th, 2012
If you like early Truman Capote and Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City,” that particular ease, voice, style and literate sophistication, you’ll like Los Angeles author George Snyder.
Snyder, who next appears for Eduardo Santiago’s Idyllwild Authors Series on Sunday, July 1, will discuss his critically praised novel, “On Wings of Affection.” Touted as a novel of “Murder, mayhem, cocktails, kept boys, rehab and redemption in the City of Fallen Angels,” “Wings” captures the “noir” in crime writing while adding titillating humor and edgy asides in a cutting first-person narrator voice. It is the first in a series that will follow the same characters through their own evolution, much as Maupin did with his “Tales of the City.”
Witty, well-read, verbally adept and a keen observer of Hollywood and West Hollywood’s varied communities and coteries, both authentic, faux and superfaux, Snyder was born in Pittsburgh, Ohio-raised, and California-evolved, by his own admission. Remarking on his Midwest birth, rearing, and undergraduate education at Methodist based Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, Snyder said, “We’re not the kind of people who go to Hollywood to write.”
But like many of this year’s series authors, Snyder has had an interesting and varied career prior to becoming a writer that he credits with informing his writing and contributing to his personal growth. “I crashed and burned in New York and then came to California for the weather,” he said.
Among many professional stops along the way to writing professionally, Snyder worked as personal assistant to writer and director Joss Whedon (“The Avengers,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Toy Story,” and “Serenity”). In that capacity he worked closely with other writers and development people, initially for the Buffy television series. “In meeting the writers for the show I learned how they work, how they approached their craft,” he said. “I think it’s all about finding the voice, your voice, for your own writing. It is for me a process of self-revelation, in writing, finding my voice, I am finding out who I am. From it I derive great joy.”
Snyder said he began to find his voice as an author when he started his blog five years ago. “1904, The Year Everything Important Happened,” www.georgesnyder.org, is built on the conceit that, at least for Snyder, much that he loves, beginning with James Joyce’s “Ulysses” that takes place on June 16, 1904, is associated with that date. The blog discusses those links and relates them to the present, referencing in the process “The Cherry Orchard” by Chekhov, James Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” Henry James’ “The Golden Bowl,” Graham Greene, Cecil Beaton and many other connections. “I thought if I do this it will be good discipline,” said Snyder. “If you seek meaning you will find it.”
Snyder recounted that the blog connected him to historical periods, language, personages and publications that helped him discover his writing style. “A lot of writing ends up being about the process of writing, moving me into deeper waters where I‘ve become more aware of where I’ve been and where I’m going. And, as we [writers] all do, at the end of the day we’re writing about richly interesting communities.”
Snyder said that he publishes his own work so that he is guaranteed to find an audience. His choice has met with success, both with critics and fans. In an advocate.com article, “How to Self-Publish and Not Perish in the Process,” Snyder discusses why he chose this avenue and how he has succeeded. He will also discuss that at the Idyllwild Authors Series. Santiago interviews Snyder at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 1 at the INK Bookgathering on North Circle.