“People in the book business tell us that young adult fantasy is today’s most popular genre,” says author Dave Schneider. “And people in the ski business say there are millions of skiers and snowboarders worldwide, with nine million in the U.S. alone. And yet, it appears no one’s ever written a YA fantasy adventure about them.”
Schneider has officially changed that status by announcing the publication of his first novel, “The Snowy.” A YA fantasy adventure novel about four boys and girls who track a strange, snow-sliding creature beyond their ski area, where the four are grabbed by a rogue wormhole.
Schneider, a resident of South Burlington since 1987, said the story was inspired while heading to the top of Sugarbush North, a place the former ski racing coach knows well.
“After a blizzard, some racers and I went up to ski the fresh powder,” Schneider said. “As our chairlift rose over the snow-laden trees, we wondered what it would be like if an alien creature was hiding down there. Why would it be there? How would it get there? Would we ever see it? Would it be friendly, or dangerous?
Released in October, “The Snowy” is available in softcover, audio, and e-book. Like many enterprising authors, Schneider notes, “At this point in my life, I wasn’t willing to submit my story to a host of publishers, then wait. So, I went to Waldorf Publishing, an innovative, hybrid publisher who combines self-publishing with extensive advice and promotional support, plus worldwide distribution.”
Writing is not a new endeavor for this author, having had a career in professional healthcare writing for 30 years with his own direct marketing businesses in the U.S. and Canada.
“The writing was highly technical and had to adhere strictly to U.S. (FDA) and Canadian (PAAB) guidelines,” shares Schneider. “When I retired, I took a deep breath, freed-up my imagination, and began to write this novel. It took me five years, with editorial guidance, to learn creative writing - a whole different animal - and to refine the story.”
Schneider’s creative powers must have been waiting patiently all along as transforming from a medical writer to a YA author is a leap not every scribe can make. Let alone, one that can create hair-raising adventures, outlandish creatures, and an alien world.
Schneider describes the character of Snowy as an “Earth-watcher” and a “young humanoid from a colony of intergalactic refugees who fled from an apocalyptic planet to a pristine, yet perilous, new world, called Snoflia, which they vigorously protect.”
Noting that all age ranges appreciate a good story, he adds, “I think the only difference with YA (novels) is that you have to keep (the action) moving - same as coaching young athletes.”
“I’ve started reading ‘The Snowy’ and am completely pulled in,” said Noreen Cargill, administrative manager of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Middlebury. “I feel like I’m right there with the characters! What a great story.”
Schneider has many chapters in his own life beyond writing professionally and coaching ski racing. For over 30 years, he served on the Board of Trustees of the Green Mountain Valley School in Waitsfield. He is now an honorary trustee at the school. In addition, 20 years ago, he and his wife, Paula took up competitive ballroom dancing. As a couple, they have won bronze, silver, and gold syllabus Latin and Standard ballroom at the USA Dance National Championships in the over 45 age group.
“Our Montreal coaches are five-time World 10 Dance Champions,” says Schneider. “We’ve taught for some time now, and after 12 years, just retired from coaching the UVM SASS competitive ballroom and Latin dance team.”
For an active person who also jogs, alpine and cross-country skis, sitting down to write everyday might be considered a challenge. But not for Schneider.
“I first thought that writing early was best… nowadays, I find that writing later helps me escape the cares and concerns of the day. In fact, for me, delving into the world of fantasy is like meditating.”
It appears that Schneider’s meditation is not so much a Zen state of being as it is a rollercoaster adventure including “a volcanic island in the middle of a vast sea.”
“A wonderfully creative world,” said bestselling author Eric Rickstad. “Snowy is a fantastic invention. Young readers will adore him, the kids, and their adventure as they try to make their way home. The stuff of a great YA novel.”
After reading “The Snowy,” one might ask the author, what’s next? Schneider wanted to know as well. He reports he is halfway through writing the sequel, adding, “It’s moving faster than the first.”