HOW I CAN HELP
I am an author, biographer, researcher, designer and personal historian.
I work with people who want more than a basic family tree. My clients want to save the stories which are the leaves and blossom on the family tree and they want to do this before the leaves turn wither and fall.
My task is to create an individually designed project tailored to an affordable budget which identifies, collects and organises the your family stories and preserve them for current and future family members.
My skills lie in taking these many different stories and turning them into a book that will be cherished for decades to come. The process is outlined below:
Each project, like the narrator and their family, is unique but the process of researching, interviewing, writing the manuscript, designing and printing the book are generally the same. The cost of a project depends on many things - the scope, the number of pages, the number of photos, the type of book etc.
Preparation and Interviews
Interviews are the heart of a life story because the book has to be just as if the narrator was speaking, their words, their stories.
Over the years I have developed my own technique of "person specific" interviews to uncover long forgotten stories.
The process begins with a pre-interview questionnaire to identify the topics that are important to the narrator. There are subjects too that the narrator will not want to discuss and this has to be respected.
This information allows me to do background research and prepare for each interview.
Each interview is recorded in the narrator's home where they are surrounded by their memorabilia and they feel at ease.
There are usually 8 to10 interviews each lasting on average an hour.
Other family members can also be interviewed to add their memories and stories about the narrator (generally a parent or grandparent).
Transcription and Manuscripts
All interviews are transcribed using the narrator's words to tell their life story.
Transcription is essential, time consuming and a hidden cost in the project.
The transcribed interviews are the raw material for the manuscript which, combined with research data and photographs, can now be drafted.
Milestone events, influential people, stories of great love or loss, of hardship or success form the chapters of most people's lives yet everyone's life story is different.
Writing the manuscript into a lively, engrossing story is a skill based on the ability to weave the narrator's words into their various lifetime themes.
The final manuscript has to be signed off by the client (not the narrator unless they are the same person). The manuscript can then be passed for book design and printing.
A memory book based on 8 to 10 transcribed interviews, enhanced by 30 to 40 photos usually runs to approximately 100 pages in the most popular 25x20 cms. (10x8 inch) format.
Photos, Design and Printing
Photographs add interest to all stories. People tend to read from photo to photo so we try to have at least one (often two or three) small photos per double page spread.
Old photos need to be scanned and enhanced before they can be used. This requires time, skill and care.
We often go the extra mile and create collages with family photos to add interest and variety.
Books are usually two columns per page and printed in a serif font - Georgia or Times.
Once design is approved - we send the client a PDF of the final book - the book is uploaded to the printer and one book is ordered as a pre-production copy for final checking.
Following pre-production approval it usually takes 2-3 weeks for the order to be printed, shipped and delivered.
The Bottom Line
Every project is different so costs vary. The key is to get the interviews done especially with elderly parents, the rest can follow later. Why not get in touch so we can discuss your ideas in more detail?