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Author Spotlight on Cheryl Snell and a Giveaway

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Teresa's Reading Corner: Author Spotlight on Cheryl Snell and a Giveaway

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Author Spotlight on Cheryl Snell and a Giveaway

I had the opportunity to ask Cheryl Snell, the author of Shiva's Arms a couple of questions. 

1. What is a typical day for you?

I was trained as a classical pianist and the habit of music is as ingrained in me as the habit of writing, so I begin my day by listening to Bach. Then, I read until my head is full of language and I’m ready to write. I juggle poetry and fiction, plus the occasional review---maybe that’s why I never suffer from writer’s block.

The rest of my day is spent with family and friends, doing ordinary things. The only difference is, I do them from my bed. I have a neurological problem that keeps me there.

2. What is on your bookshelf?

Let me look: I’ve got at least a thousand volumes. On the shelf I can see from here, there’s the complete works of Shakespeare, some Faulkner, and Henry James, The Brothers Karamazov, The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead, John Dos Passos's U.S.A. trilogy, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters.
3. What isn’t on your bookshelf but should be?

More novels by poets. Where are my books by Jack Kerouac, Kathy Acker, Michael Ondaatje, Randall Jarrell, James Schulyer, Thomas Wolfe, Kenneth Patchen, Djuna Barnes, Henry Green, John Crowley, Tobias Hill, and Elizabeth Smart? Maybe in a box in the basement.
4. What question are you never asked in an interview but wish you were?

What is your true subject?

5. What’s next?

Another volume of short stories with post- modern American, quirky characters. The stories are in a very different authorial voice from the long fiction. Another project is another collaboration with my artist sister on a poetry and art book, like these: Also, I’ve made progress on another novel about Nela (the sister in Shiva’s Arms) that will try to give her a happy ending. No guarantee though---at a certain point in their development, my characters seem to have their own plans, and I can’t force them back into mine. Mary Lee Settle advised that empathy without identity was one way to keep control of a character, but it's very hard to maintain that distance. In early drafts of Shiva’s Arms, for instance, I insisted that the character of Shiva treat Alice badly throughout the book. But as the women became fleshier on the page, it seemed inevitable that their relationship relax a little. When Amma offers Alice the other half of her banana during Golu, the festival of women's friendship, the stage is set for a new beginning. The Christian ideal and power of reconciliation dovetailed into the Hindu belief system in the cycle of birth and re-birth, and turned out to be one of the most important themes in the book.
6. Anything else you'd like to share?

My whereabouts on the Web-

               Author’s blog:
               Amazon Author Page:

Thank you Cheryl for stopping by Teresa's Reading Corner today.  I guess I should have asked that one question... "What is your true subject".  If you happen to stop  by, maybe you can answer it for us.  I'm looking up to your follow up on Nela, she was one of my favorite characters.

If you would like to win a copy of Shiva's Arms please leave a comment or question for Cheryl with your email address (or have it accessible in your profile).  The Giveaway will be open until 7/16/2010 12:00 Mountain Time.  Winner will be chosen using  I will notify the winner via email and announcement on the Blog.  The winner will have 48 hours to get back to me with their address or I will have to select another winner.  Good Luck!

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At July 6, 2010 at 9:08 AM , Blogger Cheryl Snell said...

Good morning,

Thanks for hosting me today. I'll be happy to answer any questions your readers may have about the novel, its origins, living in a poly cultural family as part of an academic couple, or anything else.

At July 6, 2010 at 1:31 PM , Blogger Jo-Jo said...

I've read a couple of great reviews for this book and would love to win a copy!
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

At July 6, 2010 at 2:44 PM , Blogger Cheryl Snell said...

Good luck, Joanne! It's heady stuff, sending my characters out into the world.

At July 6, 2010 at 10:12 PM , Blogger nanette said...


Congratulations on writing such a lovely book with such realistic characters. Alice is my favorite. Nela is second. You are very talented....

At July 7, 2010 at 7:49 AM , Blogger Cheryl Snell said...

Thanks Nanette! One of my goals was to portray realistic characters, but also have them stand in for more abstract concepts: assimilation (Ram and Nela), hidebound tradition (Amma),and Alice, with her very American willingness to absorb influences and transform herself, smack in the middle of a world divided loyalties.

At July 7, 2010 at 10:48 AM , Blogger Teresa said...

So Cheryl,

I have to ask the question that I should have asked during our interview. What is your true subject?

At July 7, 2010 at 5:04 PM , Blogger Jen Kumar said...

Looks like your blog tour is going strong, Cheryl! All the best on this and days to come.

At July 7, 2010 at 5:23 PM , Blogger Cheryl Snell said...

Hi Jennifer! Yes, I'm still at it. BTW,I got a compliment on your review the other day from a very cosmopolitan professor.

At July 10, 2010 at 6:59 AM , Blogger Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Cheryl I love how you say that yo read until your head is full of language! I would love to have a chance to win a copy of your books!

*Teresa- great questions!

journey through books @ gmail dot com

At July 10, 2010 at 1:07 PM , Blogger Cheryl Snell said...

Hi, Sheila! A wise man once told me that you can't write unless you read - and read and read.

All the best with the giveaway!

At July 16, 2010 at 10:26 AM , Blogger karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com


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