A Search for Connection Leads to Kate St. Vincent Vogl’s First Book

When Kate St. Vincent Vogl was in first grade, she wanted to become the first female astronaut, and if that didn’t work out, she said she’d be a writer. “Sally Ride beat me to it,” Vogl says. Vogl, a Plymouth resident, published her first work in April 2009, a memoir titled Lost & Found: A Memoir of Mothers, which chronicles her journey of connecting with her birth mother.

After high school, Vogl earned her undergraduate and law degrees. She started practicing law in Chicago, then in North Carolina, before settling down in Plymouth, Vogl took a break from practicing law to stay at home with her kids and began to put effort into her writing career.

“I wanted to write, but like many writers, it was a challenge to get those first words down on the page,"says Vogl.  The first words she put down were about her own history, and these words would soon become part of
a memoir about connecting with her birth mother.  

“When I wrote my memoir, before I wrote anything, I  checked with my birth mother to see if she'd be okay with my writing about our reunion. I was nervous to even ask. But she immediately said yes."

Several drafts in, Vogl realized she didn’t have the tools or distance from the story to craft it. Vogl took classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis which helped her gain the perspective and technique she needed to create her memoir. She completed a first draft, and eventually became a teacher at the Loft. The memoir was finished after a year, and after another year of edits and one trying to sell it, Vogl attained a book contract with a small press, and the book came into the world.

"I asked my birth mother if she wanted to read my book, and she was excited about it. I also shared my book with her book club, which for some reason really made me feel like a writer. Two weeks later I was able to bring it to an adoption convention,” says Vogl. She has since been able to share her story at adoption conferences across the country and talk with other adoptees.

“I think one of the most rewarding things about writing is being able to connect with readers,” she says. When she was a child, she says she often felt that the authors of the books she was reading understood her. Creating that same sense of connection with readers, and having them feel like someone understands them, is important to Vogl.

Vogl has now been teaching at the Loft for 10 years. “It’s all about reading the books you love and wanting to share them with others. And I really like the ability to connect with other writers.”

Vogl will continue to use real life events for inspiration. The concept for her forthcoming novel, which she’s writing with help from a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant, was sparked by her father’s experience in the Korean War and the stories of the parts of his experiences that he didn’t want to share. It’s since evolved into a novel. Vogl has been gaining insight through research into POW experiences and talking with veterans in the "Echoes of War" discussion series through the Minnesota Humanities Center.

Through all of her work, Vogl continues her search to discover truth. “My motivation is to try to come to a greater understanding of what these events mean and who I am and who I’m trying to be.”