Mum of one Natasha Collins tells why she believes documenting your own life story into a novel can be a wonderful gift to pass down the generations – and how she has set up a service helping people do just that…
BY NATASHA COLLINS
Everyone has a story to tell, not just the rich and famous. Doesn’t everyone deserve the opportunity to be understood and even better known by those in their circles – by having their life story written in this stunning, literary way? Also, shouldn’t everyone know the values of experiencing their loved-one’s life story?
It was this thought – and the fact that in early 2014 my fourth and final grandparent passed away and as a family we had nothing documented about their lives.
For example there is a photo of me as a baby in the arms of my maternal grandparents, but nothing written to reveal their story. I thought wouldn’t their great grandchildren, like my daughter, be fascinated to know their story one day? That gave me the idea of setting up Literary Lifestories.
A lot of people aren’t aware of personal life writers and hiring a ghost writer is usually an inaccessible luxury for many. Consequently I set about creating this bespoke book service for everyday people so that anyone could afford (if they wanted it enough) this personalised service where they’d be the star of the story, their life story. I did my best to find a way to keep costs down for the sole reason that more life stories could be told and cherished for years to come. After all everyone has a story to tell.
A recent US report also discovered the more children are told about their family’s past and where they have come from, the greater their self esteem.
I’ve chosen to tell the life stories in the literary way, just like a stunning Frank Sinatra profile I studied, so that fact is styled with fiction to take the reader right back to the actual scenes. These scenes are as remembered by the protagonist and embellished with dialogue, characters, description and plot.
I spent the majority of 2014 setting up my website and business. This included writing two life stories in the style of a novel to show as samples because I thought it was important to have photos on my website of the product options and to have book samples to show prospective clients. One of the life story books was of Dr Simon Best which I called Rise FromInfamy and the second was called Beryl – The Story of a War Time Baby. I am proud of these two stories and both Simon and Beryl were delighted with the result.
I am a member of the Association of Personal Historians which is trying promote the concept of documenting family life which can be passed down the generations – whether in a novel, video or via the written word.
It does take work and commitment on both sides – from the interviewee telling their story to me documenting it for them – but I have such a love of real life stories. Indeed although I’ve written for newspapers and magazines in the past, it was always stories which touched people’s hearts and made me ‘lean in’ to listen intently which fascinated me the most!
Have you set up a website or business recently? Let us know about it- write for us.