Book Feature: Lisa A. Sniderman’s A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS, plus Q&A!

Hi, readers! We have a real treat in store for you today, a new release by Lisa A. Sniderman, a talented author, music artist and playwright! 
Congratulations on your book! We wish you lots of success with it. :) 

Let's check out the details, shall we?

Here is the book blurb for A Light in the Darkness.

In 2008, singer-songwriter Lisa Sniderman was living the dream in California. As Aoede, the Muse of Song, her star as a gifted recording artist was rising fast. Lisa’s quirky folk-pop performance style electrified audiences up and down the West Coast, and the albums just kept flowing. But just when her career was rocketing skyward, a health crisis brought all of her dreams crashing to the ground. Diagnosed with a rare, debilitating immune disorder called dermatomyositis (DM), Lisa struggled to maintain a normal life with a body in revolt and, eventually, to accept a new normal. Living with a chronic illness challenged Lisa to see DM as a gift in disguise that has opened the door to new dreams, new songs, and new opportunities. Lisa’s story is for you if you seek strength, new inspiration, hope, joy, healing, and if you or someone you love struggle with a chronic illness, disability, or unexpected life events. Her insights and reflections on her journey inspire hope and the courage to keep dreaming and living to the fullest no matter what life hurls at you.

Genre:  Memoir, Creative Self-Help, Chronic Illness, Inspirational


Sounds like an intriguing read here!  

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:

Here is an an excerpt...

Chapter 6 - Putting Yourself Out There

Of all the ways I put myself out there, sharing my personal struggles is perhaps the most daunting. At times, especially because I’m almost always home, I feel like I’m hiding from the world, playing it safe indoors. Maybe that’s why I create light characters, focus on fantasy, and want to connect with my inner child. As I’ve taken on Aoede the Muse’s identity, inspiring others, I’m disinclined to share the scary, icky, fearful, sad, negative feelings—the secret spaces where I’ve stuffed my skeletons. I tell myself I have to put on a smile and be upbeat, not show weakness or have self-doubt. It’s much easier to tell the world that all is beautiful than to admit that living with a chronic illness is harder than anything I’ve ever faced; that some days it’s exhausting to get out of bed, despite my positive attitude and optimism; that I get tired of thinking and talking about being sick, and just plain being sick; that the endless therapies, drug cocktails, and unwanted side effects keep me on a roller coaster; that I resent having precious moments of my life replaced with 156 doctors’ appointments; that I wish I had more stamina for being in the world; that I wonder where David’s and my relationship would be had I never gotten sick—if he didn’t have to do all the shopping, cleaning, cooking, and driving, and we had an equal partnership instead of a caretaker-patient relationship. This is the stuff I used to keep to myself, choosing instead to share the positive accomplishments, the milestones, and the fulfillment of dreams I’ve decided others want to hear about.

But over the years, I’ve pushed myself to share my struggles with DM and be vulnerable, which has been positive and healing. In fact, I’ve discovered I can be the hero of my own story if I set my mind to it. In 2014, I wrote a song called “What Makes a Hero.” Though intended for Cure JM kids who are dealing with the same disease I’m battling, I think after so many disappointments and rejections that sometimes cause me to question my path, I needed to write that song to remind myself that I, too, am a warrior.

At first, when I thought of the word hero, I conjured up big-screen movie images of the reluctant Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of The Hobbit who, against all odds and only after every imaginable obstacle was thrown in his path, proved himself a worthy burglar and completed his harrowing quest to reclaim treasure from the treacherous dragon, Smaug. Heroes often have defining character traits and act in predictable ways. We might consider them strong and fearless, but they usually also have some flaw or weakness they must overcome to vanquish their mortal enemies. They often have to confront hard truths about themselves before they can transform from what they are to what they need to be.

I’ve discovered that being the hero of my own story doesn’t mean I have to be larger than life. It can be as simple as shifting my attitude and taking chances despite the obstacles that are thrown in my way. If something scares me, I usually jump at the chance to try it and then immerse myself in it. I embrace new opportunities and dare to dream big. I acknowledge my fears and doubts and then reject them. I don’t allow past failures or perceptions of myself as not good enough, strong enough, or worthy enough to dictate my future. I’ve decided I’m already a hero for battling my illness every day and not letting it define or defeat me. I can also be a hero by inspiring others and giving back, especially to those who are also fighting illness or have lost their inspiration along the way.

It is said that dreams are what the mind conceives, the heart desires, and the soul believes. Whether it’s a big possibility like a production opportunity or a film-festival acceptance, or something small like an e-mail from someone new that may open a new door or begin a friendship, hope is what motivates me.

When I have setbacks, hope, above all else, carries me through my darkest days of DM and helps me keep my dreams alive. Hope makes all things seem possible, even if only for a short time. Hope is what I hold in my heart when I send a positive message to the Universe and expect something good to happen that might help me advance my dream. And every time the Universe delivers something that makes me question my path, I may ask what the rejections might be telling me and change course, but I don’t lose hope. I remind myself that my dreams don’t die because of one particular outcome, that everything happens to bring me to the next part of the journey. Most important, I remain tireless, determined, driven, passionate, committed, and interested in growing and challenging myself. I continue to believe, persevere, work hard, be creative, and inspire myself and others. It’s a great alternative to focusing on my DM! It isn’t as if I’m no longer sick, but putting myself out there, focusing on my creativity and new challenges, and discovering new niches help me thrive despite my disability.

What people are saying about A Light in the Darkness...



"Chronic illness challenges us in so many ways, but need not define who we are and what we have to offer. Sniderman is an inspiration. Her memoir provides an honest window into the power of the human spirit through real life examples and wisdom to re-imagine what is possible."
— Keith W. L. Rafal, MD, MPH, Founder of Our Heart Speaks,

"Caring for a son with Juvenile dermatomyositis, I was overcome with the truth and rawness (and tears) of Sniderman's moving story. Her words are uplifting, compelling, engaging, and illuminating for anyone living with chronic illness and for those who love them."
— Shannon Malloy, Cure JM Foundation

“Sniderman shares valuable wisdom in her open and honest account about overcoming the adversity of living with a chronic illness. A truly inspirational story of the healing power of music and creativity and finding your true purpose.” — Tom Willner, cancer survivor and author of Having A Ball At Thirty

"A personal and poignant meditation on healing and hope. Sniderman's brilliant account will surely enlarge empathy, so that more can understand what it means to live with and triumph over struggles." — Kabir Sehgal, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and Grammy Award winner

"As a former psychological counselor, poet, and mother of a child with Juvenile Myositis, I am thrilled by Lisa’s book. Her story of both living with a chronic illness and finding ways to harness and express her talents to encourage and inspire others is a gift. I know many kids and adults will not only resonate with her story but will be uplifted by it and will find ways to let ‘their lights shine’ too. This is an important and necessary story, not just for people with Dermatomyositis, but for anyone who struggles with, or loves someone with a chronic illness." — Suzanne Edison, MA, MFA, Cure JM Board of Directors

"Sniderman's ability to overcome impossible obstacles is nothing short of miraculous. Her positive outlook on life and remarkable passion for the arts has truly helped in her recovery. I highly recommend reading A Light in the Darkness. You will find it to be a transformative experience." — Tim Battersby, Grammy nominee and novelist

"Lisa Sniderman’s inspiring life lessons portray the story of struggle, relentless determination and perseverance, leading to her success lifting herself up. Her artistic life is an inspiration to others and an encouraging testament to never giving up in this beautiful universe to make the best out of this life despite challenges." — Rupam Sarmah Music Director, composer, filmmaker


Wow, fantastic!

Let's chat with the author for a bit...

Lisa, it's wonderful to have you here on Writing in the Modern Age again! Glad you could stop by!

Can you tell us a little bit about your book? When did it come out and where can we get it? 

My new memoir, A Light in the Darkness: Transcending Chronic Illness through the Power of Art and Attitude, is an inspirational story of the healing power of music and creativity, following your dreams and finding your true purpose. It chronicles 10 years of my battling and coming to peace with a rare chronic illness-a progressive muscle weakness disease called dermatomyositis (DM)-  while obsessively creating to heal, and offers support, compassion, inspiration, connection, and encouragement to those who need it most-especially those experiencing transformations: illness, disability, or unexpected life challenges. In it, I share my journey of plunging into and through the darkness, my reflections, confessions, insights, and life lessons, to inspire hope and the courage to keep dreaming and living life to the fullest no matter what life hurls at you. 

You can find it on Amazon and through my website, and it is now also available as an Audiobook, which includes some bonus tracks, like a new Epilogue and song “Keep Shining” I recorded earlier this year in collaboration with 20+ other artists as a reminder to never give up.



A lot of readers love origin stories. What inspired you to writing your book? Furthermore, how did you get into writing memoirs?

In 2016, when I had been living with DM for more than eight years, it hit me that I had never really processed my illness; never let myself feel deeply the loss of independence from being hospitalized and rendered unable to move my muscles; never allowed myself to delve into the darkness, my twisting spiral staircase of a journey into chronic illness, and the vulnerability of sharing my weaknesses, that became my reality. Instead for years, I donned my artist persona, Aoede, the Muse of Song in Greek mythology, and created bright, light, happy, uplifting, and positive, feel good, childlike, quirky pop songs and full-length fantasy musicals melding mythology, magic and music, to counter the darkness I was experiencing and living with daily. I discovered music and art are my lifelines, and I cannot stop creating! But creating and expressing, donning my “Aoede” artist hat, doesn’t go far enough. I’ve discovered a yearning to be part of something bigger than myself and to affect change. Helping others navigate their own personal darkness continues to be an important part of my own recovery. I’m learning that the acts of creating and sharing my story, music or art and allowing myself to be vulnerable can also inspire you to live your dreams, open your heart, empower you to share your story and help you heal. I was inspired to write my memoir to speak to and inspire those struggling with chronic illness, disability, and unexpected life challenges (and those who love them).

I wanted to write to inspire my readers, which led to me selecting memoir as my genre. I had struggled with the tone of the story, initially sharing it with my editor as a diary and inviting the reader in to my secrets and confessions, but revised the structure to be more universal and to share coping strategies and life lessons via each of my chapters (e.g., Redefining Success, Facing Your Fears, Putting Yourself Out There). This also allowed me to plunge deeper than just relaying an account of my day-to day experiences allowed me, and to share more personal thoughts and reflections on my journey.

Lovely! Isn't it fascinating where the muse takes us? ;)


Let's try something else.


What do you feel sets A Light in the Darkness apart from other books in the genre?

My honesty, personal qualities (for example, I include quotes, many color photos along the way, inviting the reader in to see the people and places I describe and spend a chapter sharing about the beautiful family and friends that served as role models and cheerleaders); it isn’t a cookbook self-help approach, but rather stories, life lessons, reflections I gained and share from my journey will illness. I also include as back matter, questions for reflection, resources, and many life lessons, to inspire and encourage someone else along their way. By sharing my story in a way that the reader can relate, by showing them that whatever life hurls at them, they can still have hope and follow their dreams.

In a review, one reader reflected and shared:

“The details of her journey to continue her abundant life despite her health challenges is like no other I've ever known or read about. The joy that she lives, and her many accomplishments, are so far beyond what most completely healthy people I know have ever dreamed of. The book is packed with beautiful and inspiring quotes, many engaging photos of Lisa's life, and wonderful anecdotes of how she has not just been coping with her illness, but thriving, stretching, growing, becoming, and being a true light in the darkness despite it.”


That's great!

One other thing...

I'm sure readers are curious about your next project. Can you tell us what you've got cooking up now, or is that a secret?


When I considered how best to share my story, I realized I wanted most to collaborate with other artists who were creating to heal. In May 2018, I put out a call to passionate musicians and artists who have also turned to creativity to help them heal to collaborate on a special “Lights in the Darkness” event in December 2018, focused on shining our lights and the art of healing. I was so overwhelmed by interest and offers to participate that I started an online Facebook community: "Lights in the Darkness-Creating to Heal," which has grown to 200+ artists. Between August and November, I interviewed via video 45 artists, musicians and authors from around the world who use creativity to heal. In December, I produced two related ‘Lights in the Darkness’ events in collaboration with more than 50 artists: “Lights in the Darkness-Conversations on Creating to Heal” an online video showcase featuring interviews and stories with 45 artists, and “Lights in the Darkness-Creating to Heal,” a live/streaming online multi-media event where artists and musicians shared personal stories, songs, their art and their hearts.

My vision is to share how we’ve become lights for others through our stories, music and art. We all battle our own darkness, life challenges and illnesses. Many of us have turned to arts and music as a healing path. We create, record, and perform our music; write our stories; make and share our art to express. But we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. Through doing what we do, we help others who may be battling something similar. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, it opens the door for others to share their stories.

As I struggle with living with chronic illness, I realize my remaining challenges are continuing to create, connect, and be part of community while at home on limited energy. This realization has helped me get to the next part of my journey to foster healing: I want to bring people together virtually to help others struggling with chronic illness and limited energy thrive through creating, connecting and community. I plan to create a virtual summit: How to Thrive with Chronic Illness and Limited Energy in July 2020, and am spending time this year recording video interviews from more than 50+ expert speakers: thriving artists who also battle illness, medical experts, thought leaders, spiritual teachers and healers, alternative practitioners, online support networks, creative (music, art, drama) therapists, to share effective coping strategies, practices, resources, tips, life lessons and more helping people to thrive.

This may also take the form of my next book!

Lastly, I recently collaborated with 20+ “lights in the darkness” artists who contributed vocals for a new recording for a song I wrote called “Keep Shining,” a powerful anthem reminding us to never give up. The music video shares my story and struggle with illness, disability and recovery. It has been selected for multiple film festivals and awards of recognition, and is being considered for Grammy Awards :) 



That's fantastic!

Readers, you can find out more about the Virtual Summit below...



Who: 50+ Expert speakers: thriving artists who also battle illness, medical experts, thought leaders, spiritual teachers and healers, alternative practitioners, online support networks, creative (music, art, drama) therapists

What: Free multi-media virtual summit 

When: July 10-24, 2020  (July 10th is considered Chronic Disease Awareness Day b/c across the United States, 7 of every 10 people live with chronic disease)

Where: Online 

Why: Living with a rare chronic illness for 11+ years, I realize my remaining challenges are continuing to create, connect, and be part of community while at home on limited energy. I want to bring people together virtually to help others struggling with chronic illness and limited energy thrive through creating, connecting and community.

How: Expert speaker video interviews, interactive spaces, ask an expert Q&A, "how to thrive" sessions, etc.   

Goals: 50+ Speakers and 250-500+ attendees

Topics: coping strategies, suggested practices, how to's, relationship between creativity and mental and physical health, healing, creating during illness, demos: for example, yoga, exercise, meditation, aquatic exercise, diet/nutrition, among others.

How helpful!


Thanks for visiting and letting us know all about your memoir, Lisa! Love the premise!


It sounds like quite a read! :)

Get your copy of this inspiring book today, readers!

About the Author: 


I am Lisa Sniderman, aka Aoede, an award-winning, quirky, folk-pop artist, playwright, and author from San Francisco. I combine expressive and teaching arts to inspire young adults and kids at heart to positively impact them. I've been honored with more than 80 awards for my songwriting, audiobooks, stage plays and videos since 2012 all while suffering from a rare autoimmune disease: dermatomyositis (DM), a progressive muscle weakness disease. My story is persevering through this darkness called DM for more than 11 years by obsessively turning to creativity to express and as a healing path. But my story and my life’s purpose is also becoming a light in the darkness and a muse, offering support, compassion, inspiration, connection, and encouragement to those who need it most-especially those experiencing transformations: illness, disability, or unexpected life challenges. What's Your Story?


Author Links:

Amazon Author Page:

Amazon Musical Artist Page:



Lisa's Books:



Lisa's Music As Aoede:

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