Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you write a memoir for someone else - wouldn't I have to write it myself?
A: Many people find writing hard. They're not sure where to start, or can't keep the momentum going once they do start. I simplify the process by recording you while you tell me your stories. I guide you through your life over the course of 8-10 hours of interviews, focusing especially on areas and stories you and your family want covered. I then transcribe, organize and edit your stories, include family photos, and turn it into a manuscript. The stories are told in the first person ("I"), so it is written from your perspective. You review the manuscript and have control over what is included and what is left out.
Q: How much does a personal history cost?
A: It varies based on the size and scope of the project, but generally it will cost about as much as a modest vacation. So make this year's vacation a trip down Memory Lane!
Q: Can't I just interview my relatives myself and record it?
A: Of course you can, and some people do. But sometimes life gets in the way; we just don't get around to finishing the project and it doesn't get done. And sometimes it is easier to tell stories to a third party who hasn't heard them before and who doesn't know the people involved; the person being interviewed might be more candid and objective with a third party than they would be with family. I can also ensure that all of the necessary details are included, while helping decide what might be best left out.
Q: How long does it take to complete a personal history?
A: It varies based on the scope of the project. Oral histories and memoirs can generally be finished in 1- 3 months. Other types of projects can take more or less time, depending upon their scope and your schedule.
Q: Can I hire you to interview my parent or grandparent?
A: Yes. It is common for someone to hire me to interview someone else. We can work together to make sure any specific stories and memories you want are included, but the person being interviewed retains the final say about a project's content.
Q: How do I decide between an oral history and a memoir?
A: I can help you make that decision based on cost, the intended audience, and your personal preferences.
Q: Do you have any samples I can look at?
A: Yes. I can show them to you at your free consultation.
Q: How do I get started?
A: Call me at (585)267-6189 or email me at SLeePersonalHistories@frontier.com to arrange a time for us to meet and discuss how you would like to capture your life in words.