Today, Joseph Valentinetti one of bookpleasures' reviewers is speaking with Michelle Snyder. Michelle is an author, speaker, columnist, teacher, and blogger.

Her post-graduate degree is from the University of Wales, she is co-owner of White Knight Studio with her husband Jay.

Her treatment of Symbology: Decoding Classic Images, puts symbols like the Cyclopes, Green Man, and Valkyries in context of climate, time in history, and location to decode their origin and meaning, and introduces translations of an Ice Age Language from 12,500 BC, revealing a lost civilization.

Joseph:

What is the most overrated virtue?

Michelle:

Honesty. Because in the face of cruelty, honesty fades.

Joseph:

What is the one thing other people always seem to get wrong about you?

Michelle:

That because I have a disability in my feet, my brain has also stopped working.

Joseph:

That's funny and sad at the same time. If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?

Michelle:

Cruelty.

Joseph:

What pet peeve do you have about other people?

Michelle:

Their assumptions.

Joseph:

Is there any occasion when it’s OK to lie?

Michelle:

The list would be very long. First we have to define a lie. According to Stanford there is no universally accepted definition of lying. But let’s just go to Rahab, and start there (Joshua 2).

Joseph:

What’s the name and focus of your book?

Michelle:

Symbology: Decoding Classic Images is a book that delves into the symbols left by a lost civilization and introduces translations of an Ice Age language by Duncan-Enzmann. Many symbols familiar today have roots in this language. To decode these visual records requires historic timeline, climate, geography, and basic astronomy. Maps, index, glossary, and bibliography are included for those who want to do further research.

Joseph:

Who is the audience for this book?

Michelle:

Adults – or anyone interested in the universality, origin, and meaning of symbols like dragons, fairies, Cyclopes, Gorgons, and other images from mythology and folklore, or those who would like answers to questions such as “why is Venus a female?” and like knowing more about the ancient past.

Joseph:

What benefits can a reader get from your work?

Michelle:

Our knowledge of the past shapes our understanding of today, and our vision for the future is based on our perception of the present; learn the past and plan a better future. Insight into the basis of mythological stories, rituals, and traditions enlightens us as people. Gaining a greater understanding of our prehistory increases our connection with our ancestors. Information about a lost civilization, the creators
of the megaliths, and answers to other mysteries is knowledge which helps us sort out historical truth. And it makes for great conversation.

Joseph:

Is this book part of a series? If so is it a sequel or a prequel? Name the other already published books.

Michelle:

Symbology was the first; I do have two ebooks published on the same subject: World of Symbols, and World of Symbols: Secrets of the Mermaids. .

Joseph:

What surprising things did you learn while writing this book?

Michelle:

I learned that cave men could not have lived in caves and why, and that we measured and navigated the earth thousands of years ago. I discovered why Venus is a female, where dragon folklore comes from, and why the names of the days are ordered as they are. I learned how my life today connects with the lives of people who lived thousands of years ago.

Joseph:

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

Michelle:

My mother is a wordsmith. She edited doctoral theses as I was growing up. At ten I was on the trolley taking manuscripts to Little Brown for her. She corrected my postcards and letters, and taught me that it was necklace, like lace around the neck, not neckless – having no neck. Even with her focus on words she encouraged my art, told me I was great, and sent me to art school.  My dad was a preacher. His words had passion and compassion in them. I believe all these things affected my desire to share the knowledge I have accumulated, and raise awareness of visual language – through the vehicle of the written word.

Joseph:

If you have a career outside of writing, how does it fit into your life as a writer?

Michelle:

When I was two I started drawing, and have ever since. I have been an art and visual language teacher for decades. It was a natural progression for me to delve into the origins of the images we use all the time in our culture and that we see in our history. This passion resulted in my postgraduate degree and four books. The next stage is working on original fairy tales and mythological fiction, stories which convey the origin and meaning of the symbolic characters in them in a playful format.

Joseph:

Do you have a special routine you go through before you begin writing?

Michelle:

For me writing is like drawing and painting. I need inspiration. So I peruse my library of images, symbol dictionaries, fairy tales, mythologies, and magical creatures. I make a cup of tea, and sit at my computer staring at the screen. If I don’t start writing then, I get on Facebook and share, and if that doesn’t work, I play music and dance. So then I am all sweaty and need a shower, so I start again with the tea. If it gets late, I sit in bed with my netbook. For some reason I can always write something after bedtime.

Joseph:

Discuss your philosophy of writing.

Michelle:

Do I have one? I am not sure. Perhaps it is to try to get into the head of the reader. What will grab them? Leave them happy to have picked up the book? Enrich, enlighten, and entertain them? I want them to have an “Aha!” moment. What I write is an extension of my passion and knowledge, and should transfer that way – truthfully and accurately. The book itself is the vehicle, so it needs to look good, both the layout and the language. The information should be enjoyed and the book transparent; the technology should not distract the audience. (Something I learned from my husband about media.)

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