Interview – Jim Money, co-author of The Conflict that was a War.
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Jim Money, co-author of The Conflict that was a War: In Vietnam and at Home. Welcome to The Showcase lounge, Jim. 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?
Jim Money: I am a disabled Vietnam Veteran. I received the Purple Heart in Vietnam. Born in Boston, MA and spent almost 15 years in US Army. I am now retired and devote time in selling books and helping veterans.
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish this collaborative short story collection
JM: I am a member of a PTSD group at the Vet Center in Modesto, CA. Some members of the group were recounting some of their experiences in Vietnam and one of them, Jim Calibro, said ‘Hey, we should write a book’. That was the beginning. We also had become aware of the many, many Vietnam veterans who still haven’t come forward and receive the needed medical/mental health they desperately need. We wanted to reach them individually or through their families showing them that they are not alone. They need to come forward and get the help they earned.
SPS: Why do you think that this is the subject you wanted to tackle first, and do you see yourself ever writing on other subjects?
JM: This was a subject we all knew a lot about. Vietnam veterans were pushed into obscurity by society back in the 60’s & 70’s. The project evolved into the need for a bit of a historical record and a therapeutic value was an unexpected outcome for all of us. We are in the process of putting a second book together with the prospect of a third in the future. Personally, I began writing a novel a couple of years ago but put it on the back burner to work on these books.
SPS: So, tell us about The Conflict that was A War?
JM: The book is a first-hand collection of 19 different short recollections of what combat was like for young American men. Vietnam was never declared a war but dying was the same whether in a war or a conflict. The accounts written by these veterans are open, honest, and raw as only veterans can be. We have become aware of several Vietnam veterans who, after reading the book, have entered the Veterans Administration and Vet Centers for help.
SPS: I assume with 19 different authors we have some very varied accounts?
JM: Yes. The US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force are all represented in the book and depict the many different jobs required to fight a war.
SPS: How were the authors found and brought together?
JM: I became the spokesperson for the group and volunteered to put the book together. I was surprised by the number of veterans who said they wanted to participate. All I did was asked for volunteers and they started writing. We met on a weekly basis and as the stories came in, I put them all together.
SPS: For someone reading the collection, what feelings would you like to invoke?
JM: That the Vietnam veterans were just like any other veteran who fought in a war. We were shunned because our war was an unpopular one with the general public and ended up being run by politicians not military leaders. Society, in general, needs to realize that Vietnam was a place where people died and/or were seriously injured. Survivors brought the war home with and are still fighting the remnants of the war.
SPS: How has the response from readers been so far?
JM: We have received tremendous response from readers. We have sold 1,300 copies locally and 100 copies on Amazon. We attend events and festivals in the area and have many heard stories about how the book has helped veterans and their families. I am not that computer knowledgeable and I am slowly learning about social media. I know if I can get the book out nationally, it will become well known.
SPS: What would you like to achieve with the collection?
JM: Help veterans! The first book was to let Vietnam veterans know that they are not alone and that there is help available. The second book will contain stories about PTSD and the veteran who has to live with it. Some of the veterans are joined by their wives and describe the battle with PTSD over the years. The goal of this book is to put PTSD symptoms in understandable story form so that returning veterans from the current wars and their families will be able to recognize PTSD and get help now. Vietnam veterans had to wait 30-40 years before being told about PTSD. Veterans from the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan and their families don’t have to suffer the way we did. The third book, as it stands now, will deal with the veterans and their experiences with the VA system.
SPS: Do you plan to write further on the subject of Vietnam, either as a group or on your own?
JM: Another book on the Vietnam Conflict is not in the works but a book on PTSD and the VA is planned
SPS: If you choose to write something different, any ideas yet as to what you will be writing?
JM: I think I will attempt to finish my novel. A spy thriller in the current time.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for the work?
JM: I had no idea what went into publishing a book. The manuscript was accepted by a large publisher but they were too expensive for us. I did some online research and found CreateSpace. They were great and walked me through the process. The only part of the whole process that has been difficult is the marketing. We have done pretty good locally, but getting national recognition has been tough.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
JM: Really had no idea what to expect but so far the experience has been great.
SPS: Have you picked up any information that would be valuable for someone looking to get into writing?
JM: Yes. If you need help don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid to self-publish just realize that most of the marketing will be on your own.
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…
JM: I haven’t had time to do much reading lately but I would highly recommend ‘The Conflict That Was A War In Vietnam And At Home’. The book is very interesting with a little humor and some not-so-humorous events. The group of authors formed an organization named ‘Central Valley Veterans League’. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to assisting veterans and veteran programs through this organization.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today Jim, and all the best for the future.
JM: Thank you for everything and especially for providing this interview.
SPS: For more information on Jim’s The Conflict that was a War, please do visit his Author page here.