Feb 5, 2013

Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke--The Interview on Coast to Coast

Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke--The Interview on Coast to Coast

George Knapp Knocks One Out of the Ballpark on Coast 2 Coast

Right, everyone is so excited when George Knapp takes over the microphone on the last 2 Sunday nights of each month, but this last Sunday, Jan 27, 2013 George really did an exceptional job.

George always puts on a good show, but every now and then he runs a dialog that is so insightful--really--I feel lucky to have been a listener.

Well, to start off the show he interviewed Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke, Professor Emeritus at Montana State University--She has dedicated her life to the study of indigenous populations.  Her stories and research of Native Americans was so interesting and respectful--I had to know more about her interview techniques.  That is the word that is beaming in my mind right now--respectful.

Once she starts talking the listener is drawn in--I had to know more:

I contacted her via her website and she very graciously agreed to an on-line interview--I am honored.  This lady, this writer, this researcher has a certain insight and quiet that is unequaled and rare in today's modern society.  There is a quality about her that allows one to see a truth about people and about ourselves that we often miss because we are so busy running through the activities of daily living.  Heaven for bid if we actually took time to think about people who have lived before us, people who occupied our land with respect and valor--shouldn't we take time to observe this--to have respect for lives past. 

Can I take the time to learn something--to increase the capacity of my mind?

Dr Clarke's website is very simple and pleasing to the eye--to me her website is good Feng Shui.   On her website she talks about her writing process.  She is also very helpful to new writers.  She also holds classes for aspiring writers.

Well enough of my ramblings--lets move over to the expert and the interview:

from the website www.sixkiller.com
The author of several children's books and the best-selling, Sisters in the Blood, she lives in Montana with her husband, Kip; her beloved Lhasa Apso, Prairie Rose and her Maine Coon cat, Rez Perez.   While retired from academia, she continues to work as a consultant to American Indian tribes and  indigenous communities worldwide and is currently working on a second volume of work about the indigenous people of Mexico and the Star People.

She also speaks at UFO conferences about the Starpeople, as she did on Coast To Coast, and even holds retreats for aspiring writers.

I asked questions about her writing style and interview philosophy and then some practical questions about the website, etc.

First and foremost I would like to hear what you have to say about interview skills.  It seems like you must be able to create an environment where people are not afraid to speak.

I think the best interviewer is one who LISTENS.  I did not gain access to most of the people I interviewed without their either having observed me over a long period of time and believing I was a person who could be trusted or being introduced by a family member or friend who knew me.  I never really grilled the individuals.  I let them tell me the story and I tried never to interject my personal feelings or show any kind of shock or emotions that might lead them to believe I did not believe their story.

Do you give yourself a writing assignment or do you just follow your passion and write about whatever you feel like--because the media sets me off good or bad and I cannot stop writing about it.  How do you make your writing decisions.

There is a website called Nanowrimo--it stands for National Novel Writing Month.  The month is November.  Every year, writers come together all over the world and try to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.  I did that last November.  It was the most challenging thing I have ever done and to be honest, I like the novel I wrote.  As I have time, I am going back and working on it and developing the characters.   So that is the only time I have ever given myself a “writing assignment” so to speak, unless you would count all of the professional articles I have written for publication over the years.  Other writing decisions come from something I read or hear about and I think I have to write my thoughts about that.  For example, if you go to my website www.sixkiller.com, you will find some essays there.  I wrote one when Ray Bradbury died and his death is what motivated me to write the essay.  

How often do you write?  Do you consider it work or fun.  What part of writing do you like or not like.

I write every day.  I consider it work in that I do it every day.  I can’t think of anything about it that I do not like.  I have been writing all of my life.  

I particularly admire your ability to tell a story that I think must have been very emotional for the people involved.  You did not sell the people out in any way.  You created an environment of respect for the individuals.  Can you talk about your approach.  

My approach is not to rush anything.  I approach interviews as though I have all the time in the world.  Often, for the first hour, we might talk about family, friends we have in common, places we have been, etc.  I also give my word that under no circumstances will I ever reveal their identity and I mean to keep my word.  I think most people know when you are telling the truth.  

Are you interested in having a blog on Salon.com or anything like that and what do you think of those things.  Do you try to submit your things to newspapers or magazines of the traditional type and what do you think about those kind of publications?

I always admire people who have blogs, but I don’t think I would ever do that.  I just do not think I have that many things to say that would attract a following and I have no interest in Twitter or Facebook.   I never submit anything to newspapers.  I have done a few articles for magazines, but until now, most of my articles were written for professional journals.  

How many different subjects do you write about and why?

Well, obviously I write about UFO/Star people encounters.  I wrote, Sisters in the Blood, a best seller in academia about native American Women.  I have written children’s books.  I am currently writing a series of books about three pre-teens, The Three Amigoes, who travel in the world to archeological sites and discover things, get into trouble, solve mysteries, etc.  I have not submitted to anyone so I do not know if there will even be an interested publisher.  I also just completed a children’s book called Starchaser’s First Christmas.  I have no publisher for it either.  

Are you trying to write to make a living or are you trying to share certain information with the public or are you writing about what inspires you the most?

If I were writing for a living I would probably starve.  Unless you write a best seller, there is not much chance you can support yourself.  I write about what inspires me.

But how do you keep from being angry yet still keep writing?

I focus on the positive.

About the practicality of your website--did you design it yourself--are you happy with the way it functions?  

Yes, I am very happy with the website.  No, I hired a website designer.  He brought me several designs.  I chose this one for simplicity.  I hate complicated websites when I am surfing.  

How do you suggest to new writers to be successful with exposure.  

Never turn down an opportunity to respond to  people who want to interview you--even if it is a small blog or radio show with a small audience--be willing to give of your time.  Do book signings at your local bookstores.  Anything that can bring positive attention to yourself.  For example, I am going to speak at a UFO Conference in July that only has about 80 participants annually.   Many people who write would not bother with such a small conference, but for me I want to reach out to as many people as possible and I will find the time to do that.  

I have in my mind--to me this places the book straight in the hands of the reader and I am saying good job for that.  

Is this what you were trying to accomplish?  

Absolutely.  I also publicize my e-mail.  I answer every e-mail as you well know.

Thank you.

Well, as everyone can see I had a very lovely and informative interview with Dr. Arde Sixkiller Clarke.  Her information for writers is very useful and helpful, too.  She is not only beautiful on the outside but gracious and generous, as well.

I don't mind saying that because recently I asked someone to give me some tips for a publication I am hoping to write for as they said they were interested in my subject matter.  This person writes for them often and as I knew someone who was having lunch with this individual--someone whose job is to talk about careers--I asked if she could call or e-mail me--well, enough of that...you know the answer....

This is Dr. Clarke's current work.....I copied this info from the website:
Encounters with the Star People: Untold Stories of American Indians  offers up a collection of intimate narratives of encounters between contemporary American Indians, UFOs and Extraterrestrials. The first person accounts, described as conscious experiences and recalled without the aid of hypnosis, reveal a worldview that unquestionably accepts the reality of Aliens or Star People.  The stories also reveal cultures that almost universally regard Star People as ancestors, which allows for interactions that take place without fear and helps explain the uniqueness of the encounters and experiences.  The stories range from an account of a UFO crash landing on a reservation where a team of alien scientists waited for a rescue, the unveiling of a petrified alien heart to an elder who had earned the title of "the man who shot an alien" among his family and friends.  Others told stories of aliens who assumed human identity, and were quietly inhabiting Earth to a race of aliens who lived underground.
The stories were told by people from all walks of life. Some had graduate degrees; others had never attended school. Some were adept at technology; others had never used a cell phone, owned a computer or a television set. A few of the stories were about events that occurred before the 1947 Roswell incident, however, the majority of the events took place between 1990 and 2010. This book contributes to the knowledge about UFOs from a group that until now have mostly remained silent. For readers, it is likely they will never look at the UFO/Alien phenomenon in the same way again.

I wanted to mention the UFO Watchtower Conference, July 27 and 28 – Hooper, Colorado in the famous mysterious valley.  Sixty-seven UFO sightings in November.                                                                   here is a link to her website:


here is a link to Coast to Coast--go to shows and then recent shows to read more about Dr. Clarke's interview on C2C: 


Thank you to Dr. Clarke--I really enjoyed our chat--I feel lucky to know you and I would love to attend a conference where you are speaking.