Home Books IR-approved author Chuck Snirly on his motivation: “Nothing in the world makes...

IR-approved author Chuck Snirly on his motivation: “Nothing in the world makes you feel better than making other people’s lives better.”


A distant person received a 4+ star review, making it IndieReader Approved.

Find an interview with author Chuck Snirly below.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

The title of my book A distant personit was published in May 2022.

What is the first line of the book?

“If it was a hunch, it was bullshit.” (At the beginning of the book there is a required reading program for the main character’s English class, but this is the first line.)

What is the book about? Give us a “pitch”.

Sixties literature professor Jack Crost is the victim of a vicious internet hoax. He loses his job, has a near-death experience with a marionette from a TV show, and is targeted by a drug dealer. To solve the mysteries of his life and death, he consults a drunken Buddhist detective and a beautiful physicist who conducts a strange experiment. Together, they embrace the spirit of the sixties to catch a killer on the loose among the ruins and rooftops of Detroit.

What inspired you to write the book? A specific person? An event?

Many things intrigued and inspired me at the same time, so I put them all into a book to see what would happen. The main character, Jack Crost, was partly inspired by a great friend of mine who embodied the free spirit of the sixties. Jack is not such a free spirit, but he really wants to be. I’m a paranormal skeptic, but a few years ago I had a dream that predicted a future event in my life with incredible detail and accuracy. I thought it would make a great start to a novel. After that, I came across several articles about well-documented near-death experiences that intrigued me. I’m also fascinated by advanced science like quantum physics that defies logic and cannot be rationally explained. I also had in mind the “who did it” plot, which I really enjoyed. When I put all these inexplicable things together, I got a mystery novel with a lot of mysteries.

What is the main reason someone should really read this book?

Entertain – that’s what mystical thrillers should do. I hope I also gave the readers something to think about and laugh about. In many ways A distant person it’s not your usual crime thriller, it starts a little slower and demands a little more from the reader. But ultimately, I think it rewards the thoughtful reader with a fast-paced thriller that also deals with themes of life and death, love and loss, and how people should treat each other on the most basic level. I didn’t write this with these times in mind, but I think it’s very timely.

What is most distinctive about the main character? Who, real or fictional, does this character remind you of?

The main character, Jack Crost, is a man carrying a deep burden of pain who presents himself with humor and nonchalance. Jack reminds me of a lot of people I know, myself included. He wants to be a free spirit, but he can’t achieve it yet. His stoic acceptance of strange and threatening circumstances is reminiscent of many of the characters in Kurt Vonnegut’s novels, something I wasn’t consciously trying to achieve but became aware of after I wrote the book. Vonnegut is my favorite, so it is not surprising that all those books of his that I read remained in my memory and were reflected in my works.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I grew up reading every book I could get my hands on and knew from the earliest moment I can remember that I wanted to write novels. True story: at 5thousand class I had to do a research report on what I want to be when I grow up. Unfortunately, the encyclopedia didn’t list “Writer”, “Possist” or “Novelist”, so I wrote about being a journalist, which was listed in the encyclopedia, and then I became one. I didn’t want to be a starving artist, so I made a living as a reporter, public relations executive, and speechwriter. I am returning to my youthful dreams, having made a career from a successful speechwriter to a struggling novelist.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

No, the first book I wrote was a textbook on speech writing It’s a matter of right. My first novel was Keeper of Detritus, which includes several characters found in the A distant person. Two books are now part of the series, Murphy’s Murder Mysteries in the Motor City, and the third book is already written. Importantly, each book can be read as a stand-alone novel.

What do you do at work when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing books, I write speeches that pay well. I’m not quitting my day job just yet.

How much time do you usually spend writing?

I don’t write novels all the time, but when I’m serious about working on a book, I try to write every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. During the pandemic, I wrote 6-8 hours a day because I didn’t have much to do – a blessing and a curse.

What is the best and most difficult thing about indie?

The best thing about being a freelance writer is not having to deal with corporations and corporate bureaucracy. God bless them, I have worked for corporations all my life, but they are not set up to support and encourage individuals. The hardest part of being an indie is doing the marketing and sales on your own, because it takes a completely different skill set and passion than writing. It’s like being an Olympic-level swimmer and then being invited to an alpine ski competition.

What’s one piece of good advice you can share with fellow indie authors?

Persistence. Point. Nothing else is so important. It’s scary and lonely to sit on your bum for hours, days, months and years writing your first novel. There is nothing to prepare you for, there is no one to cheer you up and say: don’t worry, it will all be worth it. (If someone says they really don’t know, or they’re lying.) After climbing that mountain that you think will be the greatest challenge of your life, comes trying to find an agent, a publisher, a reader who will pay full list price. Good luck, get ready for rejection. But… and it’s a big but… hang in there and keep trying. Turns out, the process is priceless, the rewards are intrinsic, the rejection doesn’t matter. And then finally, if you hit it big and you’re a critical and financial success – well, I’ll let you know when I find out.

Would you go traditional if a publisher called? If so, why?

In the blink of an eye. Not just for money, which would be great. More importantly, to validate that what I created is worthwhile, that someone else will receive it, that it touched another person. I would also like to have professional support for marketing, sales, promotion, etc., all the things that are so important that I don’t want to do.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

At this point in my life, I’ve made enough money and gained enough public recognition to appreciate them both, but not worship either. It would be great to have more money and fame, but I honestly just want to touch people’s lives, make their day a little better, and maybe make them think a little. It sounds silly, but it’s true. There is nothing in the world that makes you feel better than making other people’s lives better.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

It’s a tie between Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut. Not only because of what they wrote, which is brilliant, but also because of how they handled their lives and treated the people around them. The sense of humor, which they both possessed in abundance, is generally underestimated and denied in literature and in life. This is a terrible mistake that makes me laugh.

What book would you like to write?

Another answer that sounds silly but is absolutely true: I am delighted and amazed by what I wrote A distant personI can’t think of anything better for me to write.

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