The key to a good personal history book is a good interview. After all, it’s the story that counts!
I will interview you or your loved one carefully and with sensitivity. I do not use interview templates; I listen to each person’s unique voice and narrative, and work collaboratively to get to the “heart” as well as the “bones” of the story. My aim at all times is the narrator’s comfort and satisfaction.
The process of producing the final narrative will be a collaboration between the interviewer and the narrator; the content of the final product is the narrator’s.
Interviews: Before the interview process begins, I will meet with both the client and the narrator to discuss the focus of the project. All interviews will take place at a mutually agreed upon time and location, and I am happy to come to your home, a nursing home or a hospital. I will guide each interview and help the narrator develop a focus to the story, as well as assist the narrator in bringing back memories of events, people, and places by asking relevant questions. The actual content and topic of each interview will be determined by the narrator.
After each interview, the narrator will be provided with a “first edit” version of the transcript; he or she is free to make changes, deletions, or additions. An added benefit of this part of the process is that reading the story can help to bring up additional memories to explore in the next interview.
Once all interviews have been completed and reviewed by the narrator, the process of creating the final version begins. I will consider the narrator’s entire story and compile the interviews into a cohesive narrative, re-arranging material to create a smooth narrative flow. The narrator doesn’t have to worry about jumping around or telling the story in a certain order; he or she can talk about things as they come to mind.
My questions are removed from the transcription, so the story will consist only of the narrator’s voice. The narrator will be provided with a draft of the final version and will again be able to make changes. Once the narrator has approved the final text version, we will add photos. I can work with you to help select photos and other documents that you might want to include.
When the final, formatted version has been approved by the narrator and the client, the story will be printed and delivered to the client.
The narrator’s confidentiality is of prime importance; therefore, he or she has final say over what is published from his or her interviews.
Prices: A standard package for a personal or family history is $2,000. This includes a preliminary consultation with the client and primary narrator, five hours of customized interview time, and narrative production. Extensive work goes into the narrative production process. Each interview must be transcribed, edited, re-arranged, revised based on narrator’s review, and integrated with the other interviews to create a cohesive narrative. This process requires judgment, skill, and time. The price also includes scanning photos or documents, choosing the size and location in the text to obtain the desired effect, and formatting the final work. Generally, each hour of interview time results in 10-15 hours of background work.
You can get started for an initial deposit of only $500, with the balance payable in increments as the process unfolds. Projects may be arranged to include more or fewer interview hours, with the price adjusted accordingly.
Five hours of interview time will typically yield anywhere from 35 to 50 pages of single-spaced text, depending on the narrator. (Photos add to the total number of pages.)
“Interview hours” begin when the recorder is turned on. Individual interviews might vary in length to achieve the total contracted time. For example, three “interview hours” might be completed in two sessions of 90-minutes each or four sessions of varying lengths.
The printed books are priced separately, however three spiral bound copies will be included with the base price.
For a “Letter to Your Loved Ones” you may choose either a 60 minute interview package for $495 or a or 90 minute interview package for $600. These packages include a pre-interview meeting, the interview, transcription and editing, formatting and insertion of up to 6 photographs or other documents, delivery of a draft for narrator’s approval, amendments if requested, and production of 5 spiral-bound copies of your letter. (Additional copies can be purchased.)
A deposit of 50% of the total price will be required prior to delivery of the first interview transcript, with the balance due prior to receipt of the final review copy.