Thursday, March 10, 2011

Interview with author Vehoae

Today, my guest is non-fiction author, Vehoae, discussing her book, Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia.

1) Tell me a little about your book and give a short synopsis. 

Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia is a discussion on attitudes, perspectives, and backgrounds of Europeans and their successors who invaded/occupy North America.  Gathering information from primary documents, I’ve drawn a parallel clarifying the connection between their personal motivations, and their professional decisions to subjugate and exterminate indigenous people.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular book? 

The idea for the series, Conscience, was the beginning point, set in motion by the work and subsequent writings of Helen Hunt Jackson.  From this came the plan for two components, the first of which is ready for official release.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? 

Quite honestly, I don’t know how one would define “full-time writer” and “part-time”.  I do not work eight to twelve hours 24/7 on writing.  There is my research which takes me to the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and its Federal Depository Library every week, public/university libraries, online research, museums, historical societies, and more, all of which includes volumes of note-taking.  Afterward, there are hours of transcribing notes.  The timing of actual text writing depends entirely upon reaching the point where I am satisfied with the amount of research completed for a given item.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

During my late  20s, after reading books by Helen Hunt Jackson and Mari Sandoz, two valiant women, I determined to make a contribution similar to theirs, using now accessible documents, most of which were not available for their viewing.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

A full appreciation for truth and non-revisionist history.

6) What types of writing do you prefer, and why?

Non-fiction and history-based fiction.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Deciding which researched items to include in the book, leaving other equally-astounding facts behind, is tough, but a necessity.  The past twenty-plus years of research and studying has left me with enough material for dozens of books (if I were so inclined).  Another “tough” challenge is knowing how to say “no” to invitations from others to get involved in other non-related projects, clubs, events.  This was a hard-learned lesson, having recently lost well over six months of needed time for my current writing project to help with a large event.  When my research and study are interrupted for long periods, it completely fractures my concentration, memory, and energy flow.  I’m trying to do a better job deflecting “opportunities” that will cause a repeat of such a break in my work.

8) What draws you to non-fiction writing? 

The gratification from discovering, and then sharing, truth that which is normally overlooked or held back by educators, government officials, writers, etc.

9) What kind of research did you do for this type of book? 
I’ve been studying and researching history for over two decades.   For the first few years of research, books written by others served as my major study resources.  But what has actually appealed to me all along are primary documents.   Eventually, all of my research turned to the documents. 

10) What about your book makes it special? 

This first book in the Conscience series is a credible source of documented information collected through original, “elbow-grease” research.  It will be an unquestionable study aid for students and non-students alike.

11) What is your marketing plan? 

You want the whole 18 page list?  [ha]  To briefly summarize – personal contacts; websites, blogs & facebook; newsletters; announcements via email, snail mail, media, and facebook; flyers, brochures, bookmarks, etc.; small and large group presentations; working with libraries and schools.  And, taking a lesson from a good friend and award-winning author, I’ll always bring along a few extra copies of my book wherever I go. 

12) Where can people learn more about you and your work? 

The name of my book series is Conscience.  The title of the first book in the series is Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia.  My website is:
13) What are your views on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

I suppose self-publishing vs. traditional publishing will turn out being akin to digital books vs. hard copies.  Floundering economies here and abroad will have (actually, already are having) a salient impact on the publishing industry.  Writers who are fervent about wanting their work to be seen will doubtlessly pursue whatever avenue is necessary to accomplish that goal.  Much depends on how many years and dollars one is willing to spend trying to find a professional publisher for their work; meanwhile, books are increasingly self-published…..and selling.  Undoubtedly, the statistics will speak for themselves.

14) Do you have an agent and do you feel an agent is necessary for non-fiction?
I don’t yet have an agent, but am certainly open to the proposition.  I’m reasonably certain that having a reputable, accomplished agent would be an invaluable asset for any genre of writing.

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write non-fiction?  

The first decision which needs to be made when considering writing non-fiction is whether you want to do your own original, elbow-grease research, or utilize books written by others for your text sources.  Assuming your decision is to do your own research, then you should purchase hundreds of inexpensive portfolio folders each summer when school supplies go on sale; maintain a good filing system for all of your copies of information obtained through your research.  Now that libraries, universities, museums, etc. are digitizing their records, innumerable primary documents and information are now available online.  It is imperative that, when you use a document/information found online, you make a copy (if not of the entire document, at least the first few pages and the final page where any signatures/dates might be shown).  For each document/information found online, also make a copy of the website’s homepage or “About us” page to keep attached to the document.  Online information changes all the time; what you find one day, may not be there the next.  For documents/information found at Federal Depository Libraries, public and university libraries, historical societies, museums, the choice would be yours – whether to make copies of those documents, or simply refer to those documents.  Either way, you still must have very detailed notes on the precise location of the document – the facility, the book/microfiche title and number, page numbers, subject/title of the document, the speaker/author of the document, the date of the document, publishing/date info of the book which contains the document/information, etc.  Should you, or your publisher or agent, be questioned as to the veracity of your text, you will have verifiable proof of accuracy.  There also will be many times when you need to go back and look at one of your sources again – that will be an unimaginable challenge if you have not maintained a good filing and records system.  Just as with the ongoing changes taking readers from hard copy books to digital books, a myriad of information for non-fiction writing is now online.  So, non-fiction writers must have a reasonable knowledge of and capability for working with automated systems.  These suggestions are certainly not the “end all” to tips for non-fiction writers ….. they do, however, come from first hand experience, and hard-learned lessons. 

                          Website:  http://ConscienceBreachingSocialAmnesia.wordpress.


  1. I enjoyed this enlightening interview just as much as I did reading vehoae’s book. I think vehoae can teach us so much about the importance of research. Thanks for putting a spotlight on a successful process.

  2. Good interview.

    Oh, so now you want an agent? *pout* Well, if you find a good one, want to share?

  3. Donna, thank you for stopping and leaving a comment. It's great to hear from someone who has read the book and can offer insight.

  4. Vivian, thanks for stopping by. An agent? The author's elusive dream. Although, I have to say, I'm perfectly content without one. I love my publishers (both of them...)