Interview – Clyde Hoch, author of Tracks: Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Clyde Hoch, author of several military history books.Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, Clyde. For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
CH: I was born in the same home I live in today. My home is listed as being built in 1750. It was in my family since 1869. The absolute last thing I ever expected to do in my life was to write a book. I spent 1965 until 1969 in the Marine Corps. I was a tank commander in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969 the years of the heaviest fighting of the Vietnam War.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
CH: I like to get up in the morning. Grab a coffee and hit the computer. It is nice and quiet at that time and it gives me time to wake up. Every day I write something.
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
CH: I put my story down on the computer in chapter form. I felt I would send a chapter to a military magazine to see if they would be willing to publish it. I sent the chapters to my daughter to proof read. She said you have to make this into a book.
I know four people who wrote books. All went through a publisher. None ever sold well so I felt why do I need a publisher not to sell books.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have found yourself writing in the style/genres that you do?
CH: Because of my military combat experience. I truly admire the people I wrote books about.
SPS: What would you say best differentiates you from other authors?
CH: I hate reading a book where the author takes four pages to make one single point. A waste of time for them and me. I made sure my books were to the point, very easy to read, and as inexpensive as possible to purchase. I like to give the facts and you decide.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us all about your debut release Tracks: Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran?
CH: I knew nothing about writing, publishing or marketing. I went into this totally blind. The release of Tracks was one great big learning curve. I told someone who spent 30 + years in publishing I was going to self-publish. He said, “Don’t bother, you will never sell a book.” I am very proud of the amount of books I have sold.
SPS: What made you decide to publish your memoirs?
CH: I never thought of writing a book. One day an elderly neighbor stopped by. We had a long conversation. When he left I thought what a great story he just told, it is a shame when he’s gone his story is gone. I thought, well everyone has a story. I thought about mine and felt I would just put it on the computer for my children and grand children.
SPS: Did you find any of the parts emotionally difficult to write?
CH: There are parts of my book that are extremely painful to me. I had a lieutenant with me. He was new in country and let me call the shots. I chose the path and we struck a large anti-tank mine. There were infantry riding on the tank. About 6 were wounded and medivaced out. I have no idea how many died or lost legs because of my decision. Imagine being responsible for peoples death or loss of limbs. This was when I was barely old enough to drink in this country.
Coming home from Vietnam was a horrible experience for me. I was more comfortable in war than I was in my own country. We Vietnam veterans were the dredges of society at that time.
SPS: How did you feel about having any potential mistakes you had made being out there for public consumption?
CH: What you see is what you get. I am no hero. I am a human being and made so very many mistakes in my life. I regret many things. I can not change what happened. I feel it is my calling in life to help others through their lives.
SPS: What do you hope to achieve by the publishing of your memoirs?
CH: The books I wrote are about people who sacrificed so much for our freedoms. I feel their stories should be preserved for future generations.
SPS: Do you have a favorite review of your work?
CH: I am always amazed by all the very good reviews my books have received. Every review has been very good except one. No matter what you do you can not please everyone. Readers Favorite has probably given the best.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us all about God Help Me!: Cause No One Else Will!
CH: I wrote God Help Me! Cause No One Else Will, to help veterans who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I also wrote it to help families to understand what their son or daughter may be going through. God Help ME! Is about my own struggle with PTSD. In it I tell veterans and families where to seek help outside of the Veterans Administration. In this book I bared my soul to help people understand the dark depressing side of PTSD. I know families of veterans who commit suicide. Many said they had no clue that was coming.
SPS: Why did you decide to tackle the challenging topics of PTSD and suicide?
CH: In my book A Man Down I did the story of a young combat veteran who was still in the Marine Corps when he took his own life. For this book I researched veteran suicides I was alarmed and amazed at the amount of veteran suicides. I felt I would do what ever possible to prevent any veteran from committing suicide. If I can save one veteran with this book it is all worth while. I feel if we lose one veteran to suicide we have all failed.
SPS: What’s next on the self-publishing horizon for yourself?
CH: I am working on my seventh book. It is about a young Chinese girl who flees China during the communist take over. They flee to Vietnam and get caught up in the Vietnam War. She has a very abusive mother. She is brought to America by a service man who marries her. She is abused by her in-laws.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
CH: By self publishing you are in the control of the content. I didn’t want to deal with a publisher who said, “Take this out or add this.” I want my books to be very honest.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
CH: No it has not been all I thought it would be. It has been much more. I do lectures and book signings. I try to educate people on what really happened in the Vietnam War. I am asked to do guest speaking at special events. I was selected as one of the fifty great writers you should be reading by the authorshow.com. I went to the Readers Favorite International Book Awards in Miami. My book A Man Down won a bronze medal. I meet such great people.
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
CH: I think the content of a book is more important then how many you sell. Writing a book is only a small portion. Marketing a book is the hard part.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
CH: At the Readers Favorite Awards Ceremony I met Robert Myers who wrote Spirit Driven Evangelism. We exchanged books and I enjoyed reading his.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today, Clyde, and all the best for the future.
CH: Thank you! Good luck to all you writers out there and future writers.
SPS: For more information on Clyde Hoch and his work, please do visit his Showcase Author page here.
Tracks looks very good, I love memoirs of this era. I am reading Uwe Siemon-Netto’s Triumph of the Absurd. A very interesting look at this war from a journalist. 1517legacy.com is Netto’s site, a great read!