We have worked on, and discussed, life stories with a wide range of people…
Veronica, mid-80s, wanted to look back on her life. The death of her partner the previous year brought about a period of reflection. [read more]
Veronica used the interviews and overall exercise in a therapeutic way to largely remind herself “how lucky I’ve been”. She wanted to capture her memories in a book to give to friends and as a legacy for her grandchildren.
Jane has had a successful career and a life full of adventures. She’s been married three times and lived in three different countries on two continents. She has battled alcoholism and managed a number of “tricky situations” (as she calls them) and relationships during her life. She wanted to share her story not just for friends and family but for anyone looking to an example of someone who tackles things head-on with passion and resilience.
Geraint, in his 80s, left school at 14. At 22 he was married with three children – his focus working and providing for his young family. Geraint had a love of jazz though – something he didn’t have time to properly explore as a young man. In his mid-40s Geraint learnt to play the trumpet. Less than ten years later Geraint was playing in jazz ensembles across the country in pubs, clubs and at festivals. Your Life In A Book provided Geraint with a platform to create a legacy for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Chloe and Tom, 30s, siblings. They want to capture the story of their older brother, Sam, who died in 2018. They want “a keepsake, a reminder that celebrates Sam’s life” for his young children and future generations of the family.
Working on Your Life In A Book
Simon, Your Life In A Book publisher. “Stories fascinate me – and more so true stories: memoirs, autobiography and biography. [read more]
And there are some great life stories out there just buried in people’s heads. What always strikes me when talking to a client is how modest people are about their achievements and how they almost downplay some amazing life experiences.”
Beth proofreads for Your Life In A Book. “Some lovely stories come across my desk when I’m working for YLB. Really heartfelt stuff. The photos evoke so much as well – and I don’t even know the people in them!”
Bill designs covers and layouts for Your Life In A Book. “When I’m working on the books, I can’t help reading some of the passages. There’s some really interesting stuff. But what comes through most is the humanity – and usually reflected most by the way people talk about their families.”
Extracts from clients’ life stories
I looked up and there was a monkey clambering around the room on the picture rail. I was four years old. And like the other children in the room, at first, I was scared. [read more]
“He won’t do anything. He won’t bite you,” she reassured us. “Now, pay attention girls…”
I was having dance lessons. This was at the teacher’s house where she’d had one of the rooms, converted to a dance studio.
In Cape Town we stayed at Arthur’s Seat Hotel on the beach. The beach had different sections – areas fenced off, with different access points. Apartheid. I was walking along with Kevin on the beach one day – Kevin, just a small boy in his first year at primary school. He pointed at a bench.
“Mummy, it says, ‘Whites only’. Why?”
How do you answer an innocent young child? People who looked different had to use different parts of the beach and sit on different benches. How could you rationally explain that to a five-year-old?
I glanced over my left shoulder, then carried on. Glanced again. Then again. I glimpsed horns through a knot of people running frantically in my direction. I didn’t know whether the horns belonged to bulls or steers or a combination. I carried on running – another twenty or thirty yards, I’m not sure. Then I pulled up to the right, against the wall. Bulls, steers and people went by just a few feet away. But there was a second group a little further back, so I decided to run again, to do precisely what I’d been told not to do.
They got closer this time. In hindsight probably not dangerously close, but close enough to smell. I ran with them to my left and behind me. The street was packed, and I was conscious of potentially going down and being trampled. The wall to my right then finished and we entered an open area with wooden fencing. The wooden fences were built to withstand an angry bull but designed with big enough gaps for people to get through. That’s what I did. With commotion and noise to one side and behind me, I threw myself at the gap between the first and second blocks in the wooden structure. I got through quickly. As I went through my right shin banged and scraped heavily against the underside of the second bar. Then I was flat on my back, and someone landed near me. We were the right side of the fence though. The commotion continued towards the bullring.
Away from my hotel’s Wi-Fi, I used a small ‘Lonely Planet’ map to navigate my way around LA. Not the smartest decision I’ve ever made, but I did get to see quite a bit of LA.
Hollywood Park was in Inglewood, in the south of the city. Hollywood Park sounded quite glamorous. I had only vaguely heard of Inglewood and was oblivious to its reputation.
An eye-opening twenty minutes or so started after I turned-off the highway into Inglewood. Waiting at traffic lights I heard a bit of a commotion and some shouting. I looked over. People were looking at me. The shouting was directed at me. I wasn’t welcome in this part of Inglewood. Ok, it was daytime —so theoretically no need to panic, but I locked the car doors nonetheless. When the lights changed, I promptly pulled away.
I drove along a kind of residential-looking street. Crack dens, I quickly assumed, maybe a tad harshly. It was early afternoon, but I didn’t see anyone walking around. It was like a ghost town; tired-looking buildings well on their way to decay and then probably empty for years. It wasn’t difficult to imagine the future here.
I found the racetrack and parked in a fairly busy car park behind the main stand. Clearly a few diehards enjoyed their Wednesday afternoons at the races.
“Absolutely delighted! Such a thrill. I’d seen a couple of draft versions, but to actually get the book… [read more]
Well, I sat and read it in almost one sitting! I’ve ordered copies for friends and family. I have grandchildren in Australia – this will be lovely for them to have, then pass down the generations. It was all very simple after I signed-up. They really captured what was important to me. And funnily enough, exactly the way I say things. I’m thrilled with it.” – Veronica, after receiving her 150-page memoir, ‘Never Modest’, from Your Life In A Book.
“Veronica couldn’t have chosen a more apt title for her memoir, ‘Never Modest.’ Shrinking violet, she ‘ain’t! We have known Veronica for many years but nonetheless it was fascinating to read of her early life and how it shaped the Veronica we love and admire. Then to recall the ups and downs of a life still being outrageously well-lived. The inclusion of family photographs made it come alive, along with the narrative which is pure Veronica. Veronica definitely falls in the category of ‘once seen, never forgotten’ (in a nice way!) and this book ensures the latter.” – Carol Harrison
“Have just finished reading ‘Never Modest’ covering the life of Veronica. I enjoyed it immensely and would like to compliment you on both a well written and well researched book – a great success.” – Christine Robson
“Congratulations on your excellent book. We so enjoyed reading it! I hear your voice as I turn the pages. It is very well written and your personality shines through. Many thanks indeed.”- Goody and Theo Theodorsson, friends of Veronica whose memoir was published by Your Life In A Book in April 2020.
“Simon Wooldridge will produce the memories from your life that you treasure and can pass on to your friends, family and all those who come after you. He’ll add humour, pathos and interest or excitement as your story unfolds in your book, for posterity. This experience is fun and so well worth doing. My book looks absolutely great. It’s professional, well presented and it’s a great legacy for future generations to enjoy.” – Paula Stevens. Paula’s book, ‘Snapshots; Diary of a Baby Boomer,’ was published by Your Life In A Book in August 2020.
“When you read something that Simon has written, you can’t fail to be interested and captivated. His vocabulary is immense without feeling there is any form of arrogance in his writing or a wish to be just clever with words. He brings both IQ & EQ, an unusual mix which is reflected in his writing.” – Helen, Berkshire
“…an excellent communicator, both in terms of his all-round writing and editing skills and his personable, friendly, inclusivist manner. – Ian, Bendigo, Australia
© Your Life in a Book 2020