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Steve SnyderName: Steve Snyder

Book Title: SHOT DOWN: The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

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What is your book about? Set within the framework of World War II in Europe, SHOT DOWN tells the true story about the experiences of each member of a ten-man B-17 bomber crew, piloted by the author’s father, after their plane was knocked out of the sky by German fighters over the French/Belgium border in 1944. The print edition of the book has more than 200 time-period photographs of the people who were involved and the places where the events took place. Their individual stories and those of the courageous Belgian people who risked their lives to help them are all different and are all remarkable.

What inspired you to write your book? No other event in history affected more people than World War II. No one alive was untouched by it, and no nation was spared the cost and horror. WW II changed the world and set its future course. Sixteen million Americans served in WW II and soon they will all be gone. The brave young men who fought and died for freedom are members of the Greatest Generation. No one should ever forget. It is our duty to remember.

Shot Down coverCan you describe your writing process? After I felt I had obtained all the information possible to discover, I started writing. The backbone of the book is based on all the letters my father wrote to my mother while he was stationed in England. Everything in the book is factual and based on first-hand testimony by the people who were involved in the events. However, I did add a great deal of historical facts and anecdotes about and surrounding World War II that added context and set the background for the story. While I wanted SHOT DOWN to appeal to WW II buffs and historians, I did not want it to be just a war book for guys. I wanted it to be a personal story about people and the human spirit that would appeal to women as well. 

How did you come to do what you’re doing today? In 2009, I retired from a 40-year career in sales and sales management. Initially, I had no intention of writing a book. I simply wanted to organize all the information that my parents had kept from the war years. As I learned more, I became fascinated and did deeper and deeper research. It became my passion. I finally decided to write a book in 2012. It was just such an amazing story, it had to be told and people needed to read about it. The book was published in August 2014.

Can you describe a typical day in your life? After having a couple cups of coffee reading newspapers, I typically spend the rest of the day at my computer promoting my book. I continually contact anyone and any entity that I think might buy and/or promote the book. I also make a lot of public appearances, create PowerPoint presentations, and attend book signings.

What do you most enjoy about what you do? Sales is what I did before I wrote the book and now I am back to selling once again. It’s what I know, except now I am doing it for myself, and it’s my passion. I’m very competitive and love reaching goals. I am also a people person, so I really enjoy meeting and interacting with people.

Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey? Naturally, my father was and still is a great inspiration. My wife, Glenda, and my entire family are extremely supportive. The overwhelming positive response from readers and reviews inspires me to keep pushing me to make SHOT DOWN a nationally known book. 

Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you? I love to work in the yard. Our home in Seal Beach, California is a virtual botanical garden of tropical plants and palm trees; nearly 100 different species of palms alone are planted in the ground.

What’s next for you? I have a long, long way to go to achieve my goal of national recognition for the book. After that, my goal is to have it made into a movie with the dream goal of my youngest son, who is an actor, being in it.

Is there anything else you would like to add? Deciding to write SHOT DOWN has changed my life. It has set me on a new career that I never dreamed about and has opened up a whole new world. It is quite exciting.

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