Copper and Stone, a newly released book by Penn Yan native Bethany Snyder, contains a collection of 12 previously published short stories that are perfect reading matter for the cold, dark evenings of autumn.
Organized in order by the ages of the main characters, from a 7-year-old boy to an elderly, recently widowed woman, the stories are set in everyday situations, but touch on fears and dangers that can make a typical day quickly turn into a scene of terror.
Snyder, who graduated from Penn Yan Academy, is the daughter of Lauren and Herb Snyder.
“I first realized I wanted to write (and had a knack for it) in second grade, when Mrs.(Geraldine) Turner asked us to write a story. I continued writing through middle school, and worked on a novel as part of an independent study in high school,” she wrote in a recent email. She earned her bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Bradford College in Haverhill, Mass., and now works as an Instructional Designer for CypherWorx in Fairport.
Copper and Stone is dedicated to Mrs. Turner because Snyder still considers her an inspiration.
Readers will find familiar locations, businesses, and family surnames in Snyder’s stories.
“I enjoy setting stories in and around Penn Yan; it’s easy for me to write about locations that I’m very familiar with, which I think lends authenticity to my work. I’m also inspired by people and places in Penn Yan, from the Lady in Granite legend in the cemetery, to my best friend’s parents’ house out in Second Milo, to my grandparents’ house out on the Dresden Road. I enjoy setting my stories firmly in reality, so that if (or, rather, when!) I choose to turn that reality on its head, it’s hopefully even more startling to the reader,” she says.
For the book’s title, Snyder wanted to tie together one of the common themes in the stories. “I kept coming back to the idea that there is a lot of death in these stories, but there is also life. Copper, then, is a reference to blood (or the taste of blood), which is necessary for life, and stone is a reference to gravestones... I also like how the words sound together.”
Snyder also worked as an editor in children’s publishing, condensing and adapting classic literature for children.
Snyder’s stories often are built around something that has inspired her, such as the Lady in Granite stone in the Lakeview Cemetery, an old cemetery in Second Milo, and jars of strawberry jam cooling on a kitchen counter. “Specific places also inspire me, like the tunnels under my college campus, or the lighthouse in the town where I vacation in Maine.” she says.
Copper and Stone is available at Long’s Cards & Books, where Snyder will be holding a book signing during the holiday season.