Deviant Author Interviews

Deviant Author Interview – Rebecca Snedeker

Welcome to our author interview series, Deviant Author Interviews! In this series, you’ll get to know the deviant minds behind some of New Orleans’s most talented writers through five rapid fire questions that are sure to bring out their idiosyncrasies. Get ready, because this isn’t your ordinary interview!

This interview is with Rebecca Snedeker, whom you can meet at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival this weekend! Check out the festival program here. Rebecca will be moderating a panel on Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the Queen Ann Ballroom at the Hotel Monteleone about her project Unfathomable City, which also happens to be (in our opinion) THE book about New Orleans that everyone should have in their collection.

Rebecca is an Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker and writer whose work supports human rights, creative expression, and her native city, New Orleans. She has most recently collaborated with Rebecca Solnit to create Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas and serves as a consulting producer on Shell Shocked, a film about youth and gun violence. Her directorial debut, By Invitation Only (2006), premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and screened at festivals, conferences, and PBS stations nationwide. More recently, Snedeker produced Land of Opportunity (ARTE France, 2010), Siskel/Jacobs Productions’ Witness: Katrina (National Geographic Channel, 2010) and Choices, featuring Terence Blanchard and Dr. Cornel West (Concord Records, 2009). As Archival Researcher and/or Associate Producer, she has contributed to numerous documentaries, including A Village Called Versailles (Independent Lens, 2010), Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (National PBS Broadcast, 2007), and Desire: The Teenage Girls Documentary Project (Free Speech TV, 2007). Snedeker serves on the board of Video Veracity, a fiscal agent for independent media projects, and is an active member of New Day Films, the 40-year-old filmmaker-owned distribution company. Formerly, she served on the boards of the New Orleans Film Society and Patois: the New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival. Snedeker received her B.A. in Fine Arts from Wesleyan University.

We caught up with Rebecca about her secret author crush, the one culturally taboo thing she wish would be accepted, and the one book that she reads over and over again.

Reveal your “secret” author crush and why.

Jennifer Egan. I read A Visit from the Goon Squad last November and then Look at Me in February. Consider her extraordinary command of structure, how she brings plots and subplots that cross time periods and continents to a crescendo. She plays storylines like a master celloist plays strings. And within her songs, the phrasing! Surprising descriptions of common human behaviors and sentiment grace every page. Like this detail of how someone was touched by a piece of art [italics mine]: “What moved Ted, mashed some delicate glassware in his chest, was the…” Right? I didn’t know I had glassware in my chest, but I do. Crush.

If you could only have one book that you read over and over again, what book would that be?

City and Soul. This compilation of post-Jungian psychologist James Hillman’s “talks and papers on the city,” edited by Robert Leaver, is invaluable. Hillman (1926-2011) was known for thinking outside the box and bringing the concept of “soul” back into modern consciousness. He rejected 20th century dead-end pathology-oriented thinking and inspired wonder about our souls and the soul of our surroundings. I was deeply fortunate to meet him, thanks to the writer and philanthropist Randy Fertel, and his work inspires me—or, as he might say: “in-spirits” me—over and over again.

Imagine you are the center of a cliche’ paranormal love triangle. Do you pick the classy yet bloodthirsty vampire or the testosterone driven wolf man?

I have no idea—depends what they’re up to! I like teeth and body hair.

Name one culturally “taboo” thing you wish would be accepted.

Toddler outbursts.

What book are you ashamed to have read and why?

I can’t think of any book that I’m ashamed to have read, but I do blush when I think about the Danielle Steel book that was given to me while I was in high school, along with Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus, in a box of otherwise unforgettable books. The box came from an older woman who knew I loved to read and had been spring-cleaning. She may—or may not?—have realized what she was getting me into. I read them both, of course, and tracked down The Diary of Anais Nin. A fork appeared in my path, with Nin and Steel’s divergent versions of erotic ahead. I enjoyedDelta of Venus until it (further) fell apart in floodwaters, but I had somehow dumped the Danielle Steel long before. I’ve written off Danielle Steele since then and had quietly assumed that all of her work (and therefore she) was kind of trashy and shallow. Surely there’s much more to her, and holding that long-term assumption I made as a teenager may be the only thing here that warrants shame.

Meet Rebecca Snedeker at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival on Friday, March 21 at 11:30 a.m. at the Unfathomable City salon in the Hotel Monteleone Queen Ann Ballroom. You must purchase a panel pass to the festival to see the panel discussion. Get your tickets here!

Have ideas for deviant questions? Let us know! We want your suggestions. E-mail us at If your question gets selected, you just might uncover a special surprise!

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