Today we’d like to introduce you to Tui Snider.
Tui, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
What brought me to Texas? A man! And no one was more surprised than me. After moving nearly twenty times in the space of ten years, and living in far-flung places (including Belgium, Italy, and a tiny island with a population of 7) I finally settled down for good – or so I thought!
I moved to the city of Olympia, Washington because my sister and her family live there. The timing was perfect since one of my nephews is autistic and he was frequently kicked out of class. Since I work from home, I could pick him up on short notice and watch him until my sister and her husband came home.
My other big decision at that time was to avoid romance. After a series of unhealthy relationships, I wanted to focus on family and friendships. So, that’s exactly what I did until… along came Larry!
We met online and he courted me from afar. Even though I told Larry I didn’t want a boyfriend, and that I worried he would end up with a broken heart, the exact opposite happened. Before I knew it, I was in love with him!
Long story short, a couple years later, we were married at Scarborough Renaissance Fair in Waxahachie, Texas. Silly as it sounds, I finally found my handsome prince! To top it off, our house has a turret and gargoyles, so it looks like a little castle.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would not be a full-time author and speaker today if it weren’t for encouragement received, and connections made through the Internet. I know that cyber-bullying is a sad reality, but in my case, it was the exact opposite. Basically, if I hadn’t started blogging, I’d still be writing, taking pictures and singing songs – but no one would know.
It’s not that I’m reclusive, I simply made a crucial mistake. In my twenties, I shared my writing, photography, and music with the wrong people. These were people I respected and admired. So, when they mocked my creative dreams and made me feel ashamed of my ideas and projects, I took it to heart.
Even though bullies held me back, I was never quite able to fully suppress my creative urges. I continued to write and play music in my free time, and in 2008, I decided to start a blog. Soon after, a magazine editor read one of my posts and offered me a monthly column. He even paid me! From this one teeny tiny opportunity, a full-time writing career emerged as I began writing for one travel magazine after another.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Tui Snider, author/speaker story. Tell us more about the business.
In 2014, I self-published my first book, Unexpected Texas. This guide to offbeat and overlooked destinations quickly became a bestseller for Dallas – Fort Worth Travel and remains so over four years later. My next book, Paranormal Texas, is a travel guide to haunted hot spots in North Texas, while my third book, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, is a strange-but-true tale of a very unusual crime. Last fall, I released a field guide to historic graveyards called Understanding Cemetery Symbols. It’s a fascinating topic and my most successful book, to date!
Photography came next. Magazine editors appreciated when I provided photos with my articles, so I started sending pictures with every piece. Even so, I was reluctant to call myself a photographer. Once again, the Internet came into play. After I started using Instagram, opportunities, and encouragement found me. Thanks to connections made with Twitter and Instagram, my photographs were featured in a poetry book and the City of Plano invited me to take part in a Photo Walk. Later, while serving as the writer-in-residence for Tarleton State University’s Langdon Review, I had my first photography show. I called the show “Meme, Myself & iPhone,” because all the photos were taken with my iPhone.
Shortly after my first book was released, I was invited to speak at a library. This was scary, but as it turns out, I love giving presentations about my books. After all, I put so much research into writing them that it’s really fun to share this with readers in person. The public speaking thing has just grown by itself. I recently taught courses based on my books at TCU, and I love speaking at libraries and conferences.
After being bullied by the people I knew “in real life,” I am grateful for and amazed by all the wonderful opportunities coming my way through the Internet. For instance, I’m currently in the process of releasing my first book with an official publishing house. It’s the second edition of their title 100 Things to See and Do in Dallas – Fort Worth Before You Die, and I’ve had a blast researching places to include.
How did Reedy Press find me? By visiting my blog, of course!
Aside from that, I’ve got quite a few creative projects lined up, including a book about a series of UFO sightings in Texas in 1897, a book about unusual graves (and the stories behind them!), a dementia caregiver’s memoir, a memoir about living off the grid on a tiny island, a how-to guide called Twitter for Writers, and even another music CD – among many other ideas.
As for what I’m most proud of, that’s a tough question. There are still so many things that I want to accomplish, so that’s where my energy is focused. Hmmm… one thing I am proud of is that since 2012, I’ve led #StoryDam to chat for writers on Twitter every Thursday from 7-8 pm Texas time. For me, #StoryDam chat is a way to offer other writers the camaraderie and encouragement I wish I’d had when I was starting out, and that I am so grateful to have now! (If you’re a writer, feel free to join us. All you need to do is search for the #StoryDam tag on Twitter and join the conversation – any day of the week.)
- Website: http://tuisnider.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tuisnider/
- Facebook: https://www.instagram.com/gravehour/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/TuiSnider
- Yelp: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTuiSnider/
- Other: https://www.facebook.com/GraveHour/