Thursday, March 23, 2017

Homeschool Mom and Author Melanie D. Snitker

Melanie Snitker is the busy author/homeschool mom of the day:

How long have you been homeschooling?

This is our fourth year. I was homeschooled from the first grade through high school and it was something I’d always hoped to be able to do for my own kids. Our son has autism and was having a difficult time in the public school. At the end of the first grade, he wasn’t happy there and we were far from satisfied with the education he was receiving. We decided to homeschool over the summer in hope of helping him catch up academically. Things went so well, we’ve been going strong ever since. He’s now eleven and our daughter is six. Having the opportunity to stay home with them, watch them learn, and be a part of it all is a huge blessing.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a kid. I remember making up episodes for Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers. Later, it was screenplays for my own episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I even submitted one, though it was promptly returned. I still have that one somewhere. LOL I wrote my first book while I was in high school. I still have that science fiction novel and I hope to polish it up and publish it someday. Once I was in college, I became interested in writing inspirational romance.

What gave you the writing bug?

I enjoyed reading romance novels, but found it increasingly difficult to find books that didn’t contain sexual content or horrible language. In college, I decided that I wanted to write romance novels that had characters I loved, a storyline that tugged at the heartstrings, and was something I wouldn’t be embarrassed about if my daughter read it when she was older.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

I wrote a lot of little things here and there, but my first short story was called The Witness. I wanted to illustrate how God can take something we do for others that seems meaningless and use it to change the life of another person.

What type of books do your write?

I write Christian romance novels. In about half of them, I include a suspense thread. All of them focus on love, faith, and family.

How do you find time to write?

There are some weeks that are easier than others. But right now, most of my writing time takes place after the kids go to bed. When I’m working on my first draft, especially, I try to stay up late every two or three days to get in some uninterrupted writing time.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding the time to write and really focus on it is probably the most challenging for me. I usually have way more ideas for stories than I have time to put them to paper.

Do your kids help with your creative process or give you ideas?

Our kids are inspirations to me. Sometimes they give me some great ideas when it comes to the children in my books. In my Love’s Compass series, one of the characters is Gideon, a little boy with autism. I wanted to show my readers the joys and challenges that can come with raising a child with special needs. Our daughter is the perfect combination of tomboy and princess. I love how confident she is of herself and what she can do. The main character in another book coming out next year was inspired by her attitude towards life.

I would say the kids help me the most by always bringing smiles and laughter to my day. I couldn’t write without those happy faces! 

What is the single most significant thing you can tell us about your writing career?

I write what’s in my heart and pray that God uses the stories for His purpose. I’m so thankful He’s given me the opportunity to see my dream come true. 

Can you tell us about a character in your current work in progress?

In Finding Joy, the fifth book in my Love’s Compass series, Parker Wilson grew up shadowing his dad as he worked their family ranch. Parker’s world was turned upside down at the age of seventeen when his dad died. Unable to bear the echoes of how things used to be, he left the ranch at eighteen and never looked back. Eight years later, a horrific accident ends his career and leaves him struggling with his lack of control over the direction his life has taken. Against his better judgement, he goes back to the ranch to face both his past as well as an unknown future.

It’s been a long time since Parker has let God into his life. Now He realizes that God’s the only one who can help Parker overcome his past and open up his heart to new possibilities and love.

Read and excerpt from  Finding Peace (Love’s Compass: Book One)

Click on the cover to
go to Amazon
Book Blurb:

Police Officer Tuck Chandler is good at his job. He’s also good at holding women at arm’s length. Jilted by his fiancĂ©e for his dedication to his job, he’s not about to open himself up to hurt like that again.

Laurie Blake is a struggling photographer. After growing up in a wealthy family, she’s determined to make it on her own, even if it means doing it the hard way.

When Tuck is assigned to a puzzling burglary involving Laurie’s fledgling photography business, he goes into it with his usual perseverance. He wants to help her – if she’ll let him. As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises.

Will the past get in the way of their future?

Book Excerpt:
Laurie Blake fumbled to fasten the buttons on her jacket. When she was finished, she plunged her stiff hands into the welcome warmth of the pockets. It was January in north Texas and cold weather was to be expected. But these exceptionally low temperatures almost made her want to dig out her gloves. Almost.
Each breath turned into a puff of fog that preceded her down the street. She chose her steps carefully to avoid the uneven sections of pavement.
Walking the two buildings between Daisy Belle’s Diner and the apartment above her photography studio, she was glad she chose a small bowl of vegetable beef soup for dinner. It would help keep her warm until she got home.
The evening sky bore hints of orange as the sun readied for bed. Perfect timing. She hated to be out after dark.
The neighborhood wasn’t in the best part of town. And that was an understatement. Most of the buildings were in dire need of a fresh coat of paint and the storefront for Capturing the Moment Photography was no exception. She was thankful that at least her building didn’t sport any of the paint tags many of the others did.
Her eyes flitted to her dusty-looking Honda Accord before turning towards the door of her place. Something snagged her attention and her head whipped back around, eyes quickly honing in on the trunk. It wasn’t latched. Thinking little of it, she went to shut it completely and that’s when she noticed that the passenger side window had been broken.
A groan came from her throat as she stood and stared at the damage. Tears gathered in her eyes.
This was fantastic. Just what she needed – to pay for repairs to her car. Because there was nothing else to use her limited funds on.
Shoulders slumped, Laurie unlocked the door to her studio, turned the lights on, and stepped inside. She pulled a cheap cell phone out of her pocket and dialed the police station. After reporting the damage, she was told to expect an officer to stop by.
Many of the portraits on the walls of her studio smiled at her. However, not even the photo of the cherub-faced baby sitting in a flower pot could lighten her mood.
By the time a truck pulled up in front of her place almost an hour later, the tears had disappeared. She stopped her swift pacing and looked past the reflection of herself in the window as an exceptionally tall man got out of a black truck.
She stepped out into the cold air, leaving her jacket hanging on a chair inside. Arms crossed in front of her, she watched as the man approached her. He wore the two-toned blue Kitner Police Department uniform which included a heavy coat. At over six feet tall, he was the definition of confidence.
He gave her a nod. “Hello, Ma’am. I was told that a car had been broken into. Was it you who made that call?”
“Yes, it was.”
He looked like he was expecting her to say something else. She raised an eyebrow at him.
The officer cleared his throat and reached for a small notebook in one of his coat pockets. He pulled it out along with a pen and flipped open to a blank page.
“I’m Officer Chandler. Can I have your name?”
“Laurie Blake.”
“Is it your car that has been damaged?”
She gave him her contact information and answered a few other questions before he motioned to the car.
“Laurie, I would like you to show me the damage and make a list of anything that might be missing from your car.”
“Nothing was stolen.”
“You already went through everything?” His brown eyes looked surprised and she realized that they were the exact same shade as the close-cropped hair on his head.
“I don’t keep anything in my car. I know what part of town I live in.”
Officer Chandler’s eyes went to her crossed arms. She had been rubbing them to keep warm and stopped immediately under his gaze.
“You should go inside and get a coat. This could take a few minutes.”


Laurie’s arms dropped to her sides and she pierced Tuck with a glare. She turned on a heel and went inside the studio behind her. He followed at a distance and stopped just inside.
He watched her shrug on a dark green jacket. Hair hung to the middle of her back, the ringlets tangled together in a mess of copper red.
He stared at her eyes. They were so green, they reminded him of jade. 
“My jacket’s on. Let’s go.”
He moved out of her way as her shoulder brushed his chest. He raised an eyebrow. If she was this frigid with the guy who was here to help, then it was a good thing the person who broke into her car was long gone. Tuck might have been called in to investigate a homicide instead.
Black boots that looked tiny compared to his own carried her around the car to the passenger side. She gestured to the broken window and buried her hands in her pockets.
Tuck reached for a small camera in his coat and took a few photos before pulling on the handle. The car door yielded with a creak and he leaned inside.
His gaze swept over the faded seat covers, the stained floorboards, and landed on the dash.
“That’s odd, the stereo is still here. It’s usually the first thing they take.” He stood up again. Laurie was watching him. “If you had nothing stashed in the car, what was the point?”
She shrugged. “They checked the trunk, too. It’s an old car. Probably wasn’t worth their time.”
“Maybe.” He examined the trunk and made a few more notes. “At this point, all you can do is make a claim with your insurance company to get the window repaired.”
At his words, a look of defeat crossed her face.
“What is it?”
“I have liability only.”
He gave her a nod. He remembered when Capturing the Moments Photography had opened up about six months ago. He had even commented to his partner about how the area of town was an unusual place for a business like that. Looking at Laurie’s car, he assumed she was here because it was all she could afford.
He rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “We will investigate this. If we can find the guy who did it, we’ll let you know. I’m sorry there’s not much else I can do.”
The light from the studio reflected in her eyes. The frown on her face softened as she kicked one of the car’s tires with the toe of a boot.
His eyes were drawn to her mouth as she worried her lower lip with her teeth.
 “Do you have any trash bags?”
Her brows came together. “What?”
“If you have a trash bag and some packing tape, I’ll help you cover up that window.”
Her pretty eyes opened wide and she blinked at him as if she were seeing him for the first time.
“Um. Yeah. I do.”
Without another word, she disappeared into her studio. As he waited for her to return, Tuck wondered about Laurie Blake. Her emotions seemed measured and she certainly was a woman of few words. But he had seen vulnerability – even if it was only for a moment.
She came back with the materials he needed. Together, they sealed off the broken window. When they were finished, he nodded towards her place. “It’s getting colder out here and you have to be half frozen. You should go in for the night. I’ll file all of this first thing in the morning.”
He half expected her to argue with him. Instead, she took the tape back from him and jabbed a thumb at her car. “Thanks for the help.”
“You’re welcome.” He withdrew a card from his wallet and handed it to her. “If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me.”
Their fingers brushed as she plucked the card from his hand. The warmth he felt at the touch surprised him.
Without looking at the card, she slipped it into her jacket pocket. She walked to the door and turned slightly towards him again.
The light lit her face and he admired the smattering of freckles across her nose. “I’m sorry this happened to you.”
She shrugged her shoulders, copper curls falling forward to frame her delicate face. “It is what it is.”


  1. Thank you so much, Ruth, for having me as a guest on your blog. I enjoyed it!

  2. I really enjoyed reading about one of my favorite authors! Interesting Melanie wrote screenplays in the beginning! Star Trek NG was a favorite of mine, but I love the Love's Compass series more.

    1. It's funny how many of us as writers started with one genre and ended up in another. Then there's the really talented ones who write it all!

  3. Homeschooling practice wasn’t my first choice. Guess I was too influenced by the traditional school system. But the works of this famous author has made me change my life entirely. Now that I have started homeschooling I am the manager of my own day and my kids are happy to spend more time with me every day. I am a Job Searching Mom anymore because I have found my destination. So, thanks for posting the story above for every other working mom out there to find their path.