Welcome! Nothing makes me happier than to meet someone who shares my passion for storytelling and who recognizes the value in recording and sharing those stories.
I think the hardest thing for me to hear when I tell folks about my work is, “oh, I wish I had done that for my mom, she was such an incredible person.” Whether it’s a book for yourself or a loved one, recording life and love stories is an extraordinary experience and truly a unique gift.
I suppose it’s no surprise that I’ve built a career about writing and storytelling. My family instilled in me such a love of words and books and taught me that life’s lessons were best shared through the tales of our daily lives.
I first started recording life stories with my father. My dad has always been generous with sharing stories of his life growing up in a small town in the South. And in all honesty, when we were younger, my brother and I used to roll our eyes as our dad would launch into another story. But we recognized that his stories held valuable life lessons, and as he approached his 75th birthday, we realized we didn’t want to lose the details of his experiences. So we sat with him for several hours, and just asked him to start at the beginning.
I compiled his stories into a book and shared it with our family, and the response was amazing. I soon had friends asking to take a peek at the book, with requests to do this for their families.
Since then I’ve had the honor of working with a wide range of clients. From newlyweds wanting to record the beginnings of their love story to couples celebrating 50 years of a life together. From young entrepreneurs reflecting on early successes, to retired executives reflecting on their accomplishments and lessons learned. I have been honored to work with top executives in finance, health care, and technology, senators, and international artists. While each story is unique, my clients all agree that the process of recording their stories was a valuable and rewarding experience – and surprisingly fun!
I want you to have fun with this. I want you to feel a sense of accomplishment from having documented your experiences, and a connection to those with whom you choose to share your stories. I’m glad you’re here to learn more about how you can be a part of this kind of experience. I can’t wait to hear your story!
What’s so important about keeping the tradition of storytelling alive?
Such a great question – I see the benefit of recording stories for both the storyteller and the readers. The storytellers get the luxury of reflecting on their life or their relationship. They get that rare opportunity to giggle again at the funny times, to reflect on the hard times, and ultimately to learn something. With couples especially, they always leave saying they learned something new about their sweetie, and they are reminded of why they fell in love. I always say that recording a Love Story is a cheaper version of therapy, and a lot more fun!
The readers often hear untold stories and gain a different perspective on the storyteller’s experiences. It’s especially fun for adult children to hear their parents’ stories – to hear about their adventures before they had kids, and to see connections in their experiences across generations.
You have a Master’s from Harvard and a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley.
What brought you from the world of academia to storytelling?
What brought you from the world of academia to storytelling?
At the time of my father’s book, I was on the faculty at Berkeley enjoying a successful career in academia. My research was what we call “qualitative,” meaning that I used interviews to conduct research, much like a journalist. So I already had over a decade of experience conducting interviews and writing books.
But as director of several large research projects, my management and fundraising duties pulled me away from the work I loved most – interviewing and recording stories from the field. When I recorded my father’s stories, I saw an opportunity to reconnect with my passion.
What’s an interesting observation you’ve made during your years as a personal historian?
Many of my clients come to me through a gift – their friends and family give them a Life Story or Love Story book to celebrate a significant birthday or anniversary. They often start the interview telling me, “oh gosh, I don’t have anything to say.” But within ten minutes, we are settled in to an incredible tale of romance, drama, and comedy. We all have so much to share, it’s just too rare that someone takes the time to ask the questions and to listen.
Languages you speak?
English & French. I was lucky to live in France as a child, and it is still one of my favorite places.
What is your dream destination?
Paris. Carousels, pain au chocolate, and that effortless Parisian style.
Three things you can’t live without?
My husband, my daughter, books, and cereal (I’d probably live on cereal if I could.)
What’s always in your fridge?
Champagne, sparkling water, broccoli, and milk (for the cereal!)
In the last few years we’ve seen a growing interest in personal history. You may be familiar with television shows like Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think You Are, and Faces of America, where celebrities dig deep into their past to find their family history. Other tools like ancestry.com have spiked the interest of millions and have left many craving an opportunity to leave behind more than just a family tree.
11stories recognizes that it is your stories that give a richness to your legacy, moving beyond the family tree to allow you to connect with your family and friends. We are passionate about preserving your stories in a format that evokes meaningful conversations.
11stories is also committed to providing a product that is elegant and timeless. We offer a modern approach to personal histories, believing that good book design is an essential part of the process of personal history. Our books are custom designed to showcase your words and memorabilia for years to come. Dedicated to great design, inspired by your stories.
Make sure to check out our Process page for detailed information about what it’s like to work with us and Our Work to see a few excerpts from our books. We look forward to getting to know you and serving you in such a unique way.