I came upon the idea of personal histories while living on Maui in the 1980s and 90s. A graduate of Punahou School in Honolulu, I was part of a team of volunteers who interviewed prominent alumni for the school’s oral history project. It occurred to me that there might be a commercial market for oral histories, or better yet edited narratives based on the oral histories, but at the time I was a busy Realtor and freelance writer raising young children. At the time, too, there was no affordable way to publish such a finished product attractively and economically.

Fast forward to the computer age, where we now have easy ways to record interviews in person or by phone; transcription services and software; and high quality, reasonably priced small-run book publishing. Suddenly a good idea is a reality!

I spent many years as a Realtor, both on Maui and in Colorado, where the secret to my success was my interviewing skill — finding out what people really wanted in a home and helping them get it. Along the way I freelanced as a columnist and feature writer for the Maui News, continuing to develop my interviewing and writing skills. Along the way I wrote five published books, including my award-winning first novel, Paying the Price, based on my life as a Realtor on Maui. Click here to view an interview on Paying the Price.

When I became a personal historian, I realized that I had in fact fictionalized my own memoir in Paying the Price. I coined the term Creative Personal History to describe this niche in the personal history business.

In addition to personal histories, I also writes indexes for nonfiction books, working freelance for publishers, book packagers and individual authors all over the world. For more on indexing, see All Sky Indexing.
Click here to see my own Madeline’s Story.

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