Frequently Asked Questions

Why would anyone be interested in my life story?
Where and how are interviews conducted?
How long does it take to do the interviews?
What if there are some things I don’t want to talk about?
What is the process for turning a personal history into a book?
How should I prepare for the interviews?
What will it cost?

Why would anyone be interested in my life story?
My mother and I were very close, and we talked by phone almost daily. Yet after she died, question after question about the family came up and suddenly I had no one to ask. One of my prize possessions is the gold pocket watch she gave my father as a wedding gift. Yet I never thought to ask what he had given her. Now I’ll never know. The older we get the more fascinating our family history becomes. There are no ordinary lives. Getting your history, thoughts, beliefs, tragedies and triumphs down in writing is a priceless gift to the generations to come, and a surprisingly uplifting exercise for the narrator.
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Where & how are interviews conducted?
Ideally interviews are done in your home where you are comfortable and relaxed, using an unobtrusive recording device. We’ll need a quiet spot with family members otherwise occupied. If we are separated geographically, interviews are done easily by phone or Skype. Either way, it becomes an enjoyable process.
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How long does it take to do the interviews?
That varies with the project. Legacy letters take only an hour or two. For memoirs, personal histories, family sagas and such, interviewing can take eight to ten hours or more. We’ll break it up into shorter segments, usually no more than two hours at a time. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the time flies by!
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What if there are some things I‘d rather not talk about?
It’s your story, and you get to tell it in your own way. Include what you like; omit what you don’t like. Nobody will judge! People often tell tales they’ve never told out loud before, much to everyone’s surprise. But if you tell us afterwards that you want a segment taken out, of course that’s what we’ll do. We’llhonor your confidentiality in every respect.
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How do you turn a personal history into a book?
First, we need to determine the scope of the project. Is it a complete life story, a family history, or the commemoration of a special occasion? Who is the narrator: yourself, or another family member? How many interviews will we need to get the full story? And what kind of finished document do you want: a simple two- or three-page legacy letter? A spiral-bound booklet with a simple design printed at an instant print shop? Or a handsome hardcover edition with a custom designed layout and cover?

Next comes the interview process, as described above. Concurrently, you’ll select the photos and memorabilia you want to include.

Third, the interviews are transcribed and rewritten as a document that reads in a lively manner with smooth transitions. At the same time, your own voice, the unique way in which you express yourself, is retained. Our goal is for the reader to feel that he or she is having a friendly conversation with you. You’ll have an opportunity to review the manuscript, make corrections and suggest changes. When you are satisfied, you’ll sign off and the text will be professionally copy edited.

Finally, the text and photos will be laid out by our graphic designer, captions written, and the cover designed. Once you approve the final layout, the book will be sent to the printer. Then there is nothing left to do but look forward to receiving the finished product! Depending on your choices, printing can take just a few days, but usually not more than two weeks.
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How should I prepare for the interviews?
Before we meet for the first interview, either in person or by phone, we will send you a form for you to record the basic facts: full name, address, birth date, parents, siblings and children’s names, places of residence, schools attended, career path, and so on. This will cut down on the interview time, which will save on costs. Fill it out as best you can, asking family members for help as needed. If research is needed, that is part of my job.

I will also send you a list of questions meant to jostle your memory. Just read through them and see what come to mind. There are no right answers! You might keep a notebook handy and jot down things you’d like to talk about. Such a notebook will be handy throughout the days or weeks of the interview process.

Otherwise relax! You’ll be surprised to discover how enjoyable the interview process is. Don’t we all love to talk about ourselves?
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What will it cost?
Prices vary depending on the scope of the project. Legacy letters are the least expensive, starting at $500. Prices increase as various components come into play:







Photo selection

Photo scanning

Photo restoration

Photo captions

Memorabilia photography

Page layouts

Cover design



Please contact us for a free consultation. We are happy to work with you to set a budget and determine what we can do within that framework.
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