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Interview: Dr. Gil Snider, Author of Brain Wrap

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Dr. Snider has written a political medical thriller that stretches the boundaries, Brain Warp is a captivating novel and includes the feelings of this awareness of a Ukrainian’s potent feelings of nationalism and long history of their formidable neighbor to the East.

Dr. Snider shared, “I researched years prior to publishing Brain Warp and became aware of the political and historical complexity of the relationship between the two Slavic countries.” This not only provided an interesting plot line, but Dr. Snider also learned more about his heritage and served as a jumping off point to write Brian Warp.

Amazed by the storyline of Brain Warp, I asked Dr. Snider what genres he loves to read in his spare time.
Dr. Snider said: “I tend to be a “non-fiction” type of guy, and I’m not sure that I have a favorite author per se. I have always liked cosmology and astrophysics. I recently have been reading a lot about the development of early Christianity and its relationship to Greco-Roman and Judaic society of antiquity, with authors like Bart Ehrman, Karen Armstrong and others. I also enjoy reading about the process of development and evolution of societies and cultures. In that sense I might consider Jared Diamond as a favored author. Of course, stories on neurological topics by Oliver Sacks are fascinating for me.”

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Dr. Snider has a day job other than writing, which influenced/inspired his book. I asked him to share a little about this and some of his writing experiences.

“My “day job”, which sometimes turns out to be a ‘day and night job’, is as a neurologist, just like the main character in my book, Dr. Peter Branstead. It was my knowledge of and interest in neurology and neuropharmacology, as well as my professional experiences, that I drew on when I wrote Brain Warp. In fact, the original idea for the poison grew out of my readings in Alzheimer’s disease, and some of the medical events were taken from experiences I have had with patients.

“As part of the plot line, I needed a country that was politically unstable, had nuclear weapons and had an ethnic community in New York City. Ukraine fit the bill perfectly (although by the time I had finished writing the book they had given up their nuclear weapons, which necessitated some hasty plot revisions). As it turns out, my father was Ukrainian by birth and immigrated here as a young man, so this was a wonderful opportunity to learn about my own heritage. In fact, when I gave my son a copy of my book, I signed it saying ‘when you read books, you learn about others. When you write books, you learn about yourself’. In some manner, I think this is a truism for many authors. In my case, it was a very direct connection, but I think when you write a book, there is always something deeply personal in that book, whether you realize it or not. I think that an author can learn a lot about himself by going back and re-reading his book with that in mind.”

However, the main character Dr. Peter Branstead, is not the only thing in common with this neurologist turned author. Dr. Snider also lived and worked in Greenwich Village and that is the primary location of Brain Warp, which helped in writing his novel; not to mention that Dr. Snider is not the only author in the family. His wife, Judy Snider is the author of children’s book, Goldy’s Baby Socks and a wonderful gift book with her sister Joan Dickow, I Love You, Be Careful.

Before we ended our chat, I wondered how Dr. Snider would answer this same question I’m asked in a lot of my interviews, When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your books and writing?. He response was touching.

“That I was moved by how people could learn to cope with disorders of the brain, that would affect them at the deepest level of what we consider our very being, and that I did my best to help them understand what was happening to them so they could get on with their lives. I also hope they will mention that I was a good father and husband, and that writing provided me with an expressive and creative outlet that is so important in a profession that has such an intense interaction with people at a critical phase of their lives.”

Dr. Snider’s is working on another novel. This next book is more of a medical/religious thriller that will touch on issues of free will versus God’s will, as well as the ethics of stem cell research. The release date to be announced.

You can find out more about Brain Warp at its website.

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