Sunday, November 29th, 2020

Shopper Client Stories


Chesapeake Neurologist and his wife, Judy, lead double lives as acclaimed writers

by Candance Moore

Gil and Judy Snider at a recent book signing

Gil and Judy Snider at a recent book signing

When it's time for a mental vacation from the daily headlines, a great place to turn is the music library of Dr. Gil and Judy Snider. The longtime lovebirds from Virginia Beach write uplifting lyrics in partnership with Pearl Snap Studios in Nashville, and now they have an impressive collection of original studio-quality songs available for download. The songs display a refreshingly homespun style that's catchy but not trite, and firmly planted at the intersection of pop and country. A hint of upbeat jazz adds a little frosting to their newest single Best Day, showcasing the couple's developing acumen.

Best Day is a perfect addition to that morning jog playlist for maximum pep in the step, or even as an alarm ringtone for those who sometimes need a reason to get out of bed. It's a beacon of light in a summer of gray, which Gil and Judy hope will make a positive difference.

Leaving the world a bit better than they found it has defined the Sniders for decades. Gil became a neurologist to help advance care for some of the most challenging and life-altering conditions in medicine. Judy, meanwhile, had an accomplished career in social work. They taught their sons, Jonathan and Nick, to always stay positive, to lend a helping hand, and to be part of the solution. Community involvement filled their weekends with opportunities to demonstrate those values.

Gil's neurology practice, unfortunately, exposed him to many patients with terminal conditions such as Alzheimer's. He offered the most support and the best medical treatment possible, but he often went home feeling powerless. He and Judy threw themselves into opportunities to be involved in something positive. Neurology slowly advanced to provide better treatments. Gil cheered the good news, but it wasn't quite enough.

After retiring from social work, a still-active Judy found herself serving in a school library. There she got an idea for a children's book that she went on to publish. It opened a floodgate for the Sniders to discover some untapped talents. Since then, they've worked nonstop to connect with others through the power of literature and lyrics.

"As a neurologist,
I treat patients medically.
Then I come home and write words
to heal their heart.
Doing both brings me joy."
- Gilbert Snider, MD

A friendly challenge from Judy prompted Gil to test his book-writing skills. He didn't have much extra time between practicing medicine and guiding his sons through school, but Gil took the challenge seriously. Over the next several months, he methodically wrote a novel one step at a time. Harkening back to his family's Ukrainian roots, Gil crafted an intense medical thriller with political overtones involving attempted assassination by poison. His first novel Brain Warp was supposed to be entirely fictional just for the fun of a good read – until real-life events in Ukraine mirrored the plot a little too closely.

Friends jokingly asked Gil if he had inside information. The apparent stroke of luck even earned a mention in the local media. Although shaken by the near-deadly coincidence, Gil realized it signaled a knack for being dialed in.

"We write what's real and what comes from the heart," Gil shares. "It's about writing something worth saying."

Gil Snider

Gil Snider

"We write what's real
and what comes from the heart.
It's about writing something
worth saying."
- Gilbert Snider, MD

A trip to the land of the delta blues inspired them next to enter a song-writing contest. One thing led to another, and they ended up with Nashville royalty Billie Rae Stewart sitting in their home. If I Call a Name at Night was released by his label. Now the Sniders have a partnership with Pearl Snap Studios Producer Justin Morgan.

Early releases were ballads based on personal experience (one was an original piece for Nick's wedding) as the Sniders experimented with their style. A gut-wrenching breakup song, a whimsical portrayal of love and loss- each new song was more exquisite than the last. They knew they wanted a catchy stuck-in-your-head melody that delivered a powerful emotional experience. When Words I Just Can't Say snagged a jaw-dropping semifinalist spot in the prestigious International Songwriting Competition, the Sniders knew they were on to something.
Gil cut back his hours in the office to pursue what was rapidly becoming a second career. He and Judy joined Hampton Roads Writers Group. With their sons grown, the Sniders now devoted their weekends to book signings and media appearances. Judy branched out into writing a thriller series that's earning enthusiastic reviews.Gil got to work on a second novel of his own.

"I'm able to help people both in my workplace and in my personal ventures. As a neurologist, I treat patients medically. Then I come home and write words to heal their heart," Gil shares. "Doing both brings me joy."

As their song library attracted growing attention, Judy and Gil got to work on crafting their next release. It was the spring of 2020. They were known for writing ballads, but current events called for a cheerful dose of sunshine. So, they released a song slightly different from their brand. Writing from the heart paid off. Best Day was a success.

"I still play the song every morning myself," Judy adds with a smile. "It's truly the perfect song for this moment in time. We're thankful that we were able to write it."

Their song library is available for download on Amazon Music and iTunes. Select songs, including Best Day, are on YouTube. All of their books are available to purchase online.
Gil recently finished his second novel, The Last, a supernatural thriller that hinges on the relationships of three heroic women. Showing Gil's maturity as a novelist, this book spans generational experience and blurs the lines of conventional genres. While it may seem unorthodox at first, the Sniders have proven their ability to connect with an expected but very real moment. He is presently connecting with publishing professionals to get the novel into print.

"We're not doing this to write what's already out there," Gil notes. "We want to leave a legacy of something extraordinary- something that rose to the occasion. When people tell us our books and songs have touched them, we know we've done the right thing."