Blog

Writing Can Take Me Anywhere | Writer Feature

For this month’s Writer Feature, we bring you the story of Robin Tudge, one of our contemporary writers. Tudge shares how he came to the realisation that he could successfully wield the power of words and be a published writer. Read his story below:

 

* * *

 

I first became a writer in 1999. I was living in Hanoi, eking along teaching English in a then very poor country that’d opened to westerners only five years before. I’d been there about 18 months, had had some lovely students and some great classes. I’d also had some amazing adventures, having driven all over the country on my not-so-trusty old Belorussian motorbike, including a solo drive from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, had been to Cambodia, partied a lot. But a lot of things hadn’t worked out as well, a lot of good friends had come and gone, I’d wrestled with the language but not really connected with the locals, and it was a languid, humid city where a foreigner could easily live very well on only a few hours work a week, meanwhile becoming trapped in a seedy state of apathy. By now I was tired and homesick. Trouble was, I had no idea what I was going to do back home, and not knowing which way to go, nor how to give up, I was stuck.

Then I got a phone call from one of the receptionists at an English school I’d quit from some months before. I’d received an email to my old office email address, so I assumed it was obviously something out of date and useless, still I asked what it said.

‘I can’t tell you on the phone, it is secret,’ she said.

‘So secret you read it already?’ I asked.

I could positively hear her smile down the phone as she replied, ‘Maybe. Anyway you must read it in person.’

So I drove across town, a classic muggy Hanoi day, the sky with dirty billowy clouds like a sweaty duvet. Then when I got there she refused to hand me the printed email. Instead, she’d got another receptionist in on the game and they drew out the tension by ransoming the email for ice-creams. Two ice-creams later, they gave me the email, which was to the effect of ‘this is the commissioning editor from the Guardian Weekly, we’ve published your Letter From article and need an address to send the £120 fee.’

I couldn’t believe it. As an expat I’d subscribed to the Guardian Weekly newspaper, in which it had an open-mic column of sorts, the Letter From … column, written by people like me dispersed across the world. I’d noted its style, typical subject matter, and solely as a punt I’d sent in an article about getting smashed on snake wine at a snake restaurant in Hanoi. But that was months ago, and I’d assumed the piece had sunk somewhere, like I was doing too much in local beer and moonshine.

Except the piece hadn’t sunk, it’d been printed, indeed, printed and read worldwide, in the Guardian Weekly no less. My surprise turned into elation, then came pride, and then hope. I could do something. I could be a writer. And with that came a feeling of total liberation – being a writer could take me anywhere, real and imagined.

 

It Never Gets Easier, You Just Go Faster: Cycling Tour from Milan to Nice, 2014

Each month we like to spotlight a recently finished Story Terrace book to showcase the range of titles and types of books we produce.  For February, we’ve brought you the story of Ian Bagshaw and Mark Dickinson and their book, It Never Gets Easier, You Just Go Faster: Cycling Tour from Milan to Nice, 2014.  Bagshaw and Dickinson came together to commemorate the outstanding dedication, and physical triumph, of 35 individuals who helped raise over £100,000 for charity. Read on…

A common cause, a sense of humour and a raised glass can go a long way. After Dan and Danny passed away within months of each other, their friends and families proudly united through a shared purpose; doing something that they both would have loved to be a part of, to raise money for two charities established in their names.

It all started when Mark Dickinson and Ian and Gary Bagshaw took on the challenging Tour De Force cycle event in summer 2013. Inspired, they devised the idea of creating their own cycling event and splitting the money raised between the charities that mean a huge amount to them: The Daniel Bagshaw Memorial Trust and The Danny Fullbrook Fearless Foundation.

With the help of the PIE (Passion in Events) team, they worked on planning a cycling route from Milan to Nice: 400km of gruelling hills and Mediterranean coastal beauty. By January 2014 they had started recruiting friends, family, colleagues and anyone else they could persuade, bully, cajole or blackmail along the way.

Of the thirty-five riders that were eventually conscripted, many were inexperienced; recruited at family barbecues, lunch dates or over a pint in the pub. A quarter of participants didn’t even have their own bike to begin with, and many found themselves struggling with sweat, pain and accidental U-turns. But through stories shared and friendships forged, every rider finished the punishing final day of the ride; not only achieving personal greatness, but also helping to raise over £100,000 for two fantastic causes.

Philip Hamlyn Williams | Writer Feature

Every month, we like to shine the spotlight on one of our talented writers, sharing their life story and written works to give you insight into the range of diverse backstories and writing styles available through Story Terrace.  Today, we’re featuring Philip Hamlyn Williams, one of our critically acclaimed writers.

Williams worked as an accountant for 25 years before spending 14 years in the non-profit sector. Now, with 15 years of writing experience, and an MA in Professional Writing from University College Falmouth, he recently embarked on the adventure of writing his debut book, War on Wheels.  The book is set to be released in September 2016 by The History Press. It tells the story of the thousands of ordinary men and women who together worked to mechanise the British Army in WWII.  Read on below for a special excerpt from the book:

 

* * *

 

In 1934 the army had a total of 4,000 vehicles, mainly left over from the Great War. In the ten years leading up to D Day that number had grown to 1.5 million, massive depots had been built, the way the troops were supplied had been completely re-imagined. D Day was to be the ultimate test.

The job of Ordnance Beach Detachments was to follow on quickly behind the assault troops and set up ammunition dumps just behind the beaches ready to issue ammunition to replace that used in the initial assault. Stan Carter had boarded a landing craft at Tilbury loaded with 200 tons of ammunition destined for the Airborne Division which had flown in by glider to take Pegasus Bridge.

The 21st Army Group was to invade three beaches: Gold, Juno and Sword. Each beach had attached to it Ordnance Beach Detachments and Ammunition Companies. Advance parties came ashore within an hour or so of the first assault troops and created sector dumps just off the beaches. The main stocks were anti-tank and anti-aircraft ammunition, Landing Reserves, stretchers and blankets for casualties and survivor kits. These latter were complete changes of clothing and kit for soldiers who experienced a ‘bad’ landing. Landing Reserves were designed to supply troops with spare parts for the first four weeks and comprised 8,000 cases calculated to maintain a brigade.

Stan had been promised a dry landing but in the event was offloaded into 5ft of water some 15 yards from the sand. To make matters worse his job, with one other, was to pull a handcart to carry the ammunition from the craft up the beach to the dump, and all under mortar fire.

Accounts of other landing craft laden with ammunition talk of DKWS being used to transport across the beach. I noted, from the War Diaries of Brigadier Readman at Chilwell, that right up to D Day there had been a problem with supplies of DKWS. Perhaps Stan’s craft drew the short straw and so ended up with the handcart.

Just as Stan made it up the beach the first time, the Bren carrier next to him ran over a mine and some of the resulting shrapnel embedded itself in Stan’s thigh. He didn’t remember pain, rather the need, with his mates, to get on with the job. The ammunition was duly stacked and issues made, again all done under fire from German mortars only yards in front. Stan recalled that once on the beach all the good intentions to keep records of issues went out of the window.

A mortar hit an adjacent petrol dump and burning petrol spread toward the ammunition. Stan spoke of his Captain’s bravery in putting out the fire with his bare hands, an act which cost Captain Thompson his life. The wound in Stan’s thigh couldn’t be left and so he was taken to the field dressing station and from there back to England. He did return to France and his story continues later.

* * *

Kickstart Your StoryStarter Biography Group Gift

Looking to give someone special in your life the opportunity to write their life story and create their own biography? We can help!

With our crowdfunding platform StoryStarter, you can collaborate with friends and family to share stories, memories and photographs, and pitch in on the funding.  Once the crowdfunding portion is completed, the person receiving the biography as a gift will be sent a Welcome Pack with a compilation of all the shared stories and photos. Find out more information on the next steps in the Story Terrace biography process here.

This step-by-step guide will help you get everything setup on StoryStarter so that you can move on to the fun part of sharing your stories and photographs.

Step 1: Register

From the MyStoryStarter home page, create an account by either registering with your email address, or signing in with Facebook, Twitter or Google. After filling in your relevant account details, you’ll be directed to your new home dashboard.

Step 2: Create Your Campaign

Near the top right corner, click on the “Create Your Campaign” button. On the next page, you’ll be directed to provide us with important details regarding your planned gift Story Book, such as who the book is for, which Story Book package you’ve selected and whether the book will be crowdfunded or self-funded. You also can decide to keep the campaign private, meaning only people you invite can access the campaign, or make it public.

It’s important to thoroughly consider the date you set for your deadline. If you’d like your Welcome Package (which compiles the stories and photographs collected through StoryStarter) to be ready for a special occasion, then set the deadline at least 3 weeks before then. If you would like the finished Story Book (which will include the interview process with the StoryTeller and our ghostwriter, to produce the final book) to be ready for a special occasion, set the deadline to at least 3 months beforehand.

Step 3: Invite Contributors

Next, you’ll be able to begin the collaboration process by inviting your friends and family to share stories and photographs, and help to fund the project. Send out invites via Facebook and email to let everyone know about your group StoryBook gift. Or, if your campaign is public and you would like to share with everyone, simply send the link to your contacts and over social media.

StoryStarter Dashboard Screenshot

Step 4: Request Stories and Photos

Post a call-to-action directly onto your StoryStarter campaign home page to get everyone excited to contribute stories, photographs and memories.  

Step 5: Inspire to Incentivise Funding

Encourage contributors to donate towards your Story Book campaign by offering rewards for contributing, such as with special acknowledgements and perks.

 

Sue Hodges Testimonial Video

Last month, we brought you a case study of Sue Hodges’ book Don’t Switch Me Off with exclusive excerpts and photos.  Today, we have a special testimonial video, in which Sue shares her personal reasons for wanting to create a bespoke book to pass on to her children and grandchildren.

She also discusses her experience working with a Story Terrace ghostwriter.  Through this process, Sue was able to recount and record her exciting life story, which included many years of travel that led her from London to Turkey and finally to Greece, before returning home to the U.K.

Take a moment and listen to Sue’s perspective on the Story Terrace process.

10 Things We Loved About Amsterdam

Recently, the Story Terrace U.K. team flew to Amsterdam to visit our Dutch counterparts and boy are our arms tired! In between many important meetings, PowerPoint presentations and frenzied tram rides, we took some time to appreciate the finer things that this historic city had to offer.

  1. Hanging out with the Story Terrace NL teamWe love seeing the Dutch team on Skype during our weekly meetings and they proved to be great hosts as well! The gals were able to quit plugging their government-appointed dikes long enough to give us an amazing tour around this colourful, historic city and the country hadn’t even fully flooded before we left. What luck!Story Terrace Team Photo
  2. Leaning Row House Hooks – Due to their narrow hallways and staircases, most row houses have a large arm and hook which sticks out from the top of the building that the Dutch use to hoist oversized objects up to the top floor and in through their large bay windows. These can also be conveniently used to carry your flatmate up to his bedroom after he’s spent too much time at the nearby coffeehouse.Dutch Row Houses
  3. Houseboats – Though they have become an iconic part of the residential landscape, these charming little floating abodes were only adopted within the past 100 years! In a city full of canals, the opportunity to stay in one of the bed & breakfasts or even renting for a longer stay is one to be sure not to pass up. Just make sure you are securely anchored before you go to sleep because, trust us, you do not want to wake up in Rotterdam!Houseboats in a Dutch canal
  4. Gouda – First of all, it is pronounced ‘HOW-da’, not ‘GOO-da’ and is best when paired with a hoppy, pale beer. This pungent, semi-hard cheese is much stronger and harder in its homeland than it is in other countries which not only surprised us but also the airport security guard who found them taped to my torso. I’m still not sure whether I had to declare it at customs.Goude Cheese for Sale
  5. Gevulde Koeken – Literally, it means ‘filled cookie’ which may, literally, be the least creative name for one of the nation’s most popular treats. The simple name hardly does justice to this sweet, crumbly, almond-filled cookie, but, considering Dutch is a very straight-forward language that calls gloves ‘hand socks’, we gave them a pass for creating this delicious confection in the first place.Dutch Gevulde Koeken Filled Cookies
  6. Bikes – You may be seeing bikes everywhere now that cycling has become this generation’s aerobic jogging, but you’ve never seen quite as many as you will in Amsterdam.  With over 1,000,000 bicycles either in motion or locked-up, you have to be constantly alert to the possibility of one flying towards you from either direction. Look out! These cyclists are really moving and they won’t be the first one to get out of the way. The Story Terrace bike is another story, though, and has never hit another person since its adoption.
    Row of bikes in Amsterdam
  7. Brown Cafés From the name alone, brown cafés don’t sound like a must-see stop on a visit to Amsterdam but these cosy wooden pubs might be the closest a tourist can get to strolling into a Dutch living room without being chased out by the person living there. The walls are decorated with kitschy artwork and mementos from the bygone era they were originially built in hundreds of years ago and the grizzled owners step out every ten minutes for a hand-rolled cigarette (though the walls are often stained from nicotine, smoking has since been banned indoors). Drinks in Amsterdam Brown Cafe
  8. Oudemanhuispoort Book Market – The Old Man’s Port Gate is not your average used book market. The arched alleyway that hosts this hidden gem is a display of red-brick architecture that harkens back to the olden days and the books found within range from famous philosophical and critical art theory texts and to classic novels. Finally, a used book market that isn’t glutted with cast-off copies of the Shades of Grey series.Oudemanhuispoort Book Market Display
  9. Tiny Vehicles –  Look at this tiny little vehicle! At just under two meters high, this maneuverable, three-wheeled mini-truck doesn’t look like much but the sight of them brings joy to tourists from all over the world (except for Japan and India where they are also quite common). They can be found all over Amsterdam carrying everything from prepackaged lunches to, I assume, miniature construction supplies and dry goods. Three-Wheeled Mini-truck
  10. Van Gogh Doppelganger – Despite his total lack of both art experience and ability to differentiate between irises and tulips, our US editorial intern Jake was turning heads in Amsterdam due to his uncanny resemblance to famous Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh (pictured below). Well, not really, but the team felt that there were at least enough similarities to warrant the constant badgering that led to this picture (left ear conveniently not pictured below).Van Gogh Doppelganger

HONORARY MENTION: Stroopwafel – Our U.K. Editorial Assistant Julia really liked these. Be sure to wait a few weeks before you visit so the city can restock.Dutch Stroopwafels

Tot ziens!

Holocaust Memorial Day: Ride For the Living

To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, we would like to share a special excerpt from Robert Desmond’s book Ride for the Living, produced by the Story Terrace team. After being struck by the gravity of Auschwitz during his first visit at the age of 22, Desmond decided to return, this time by bicycle from London.  He biked along the route taken by the Allies as they fought back against Hitler and chronicled his journey online to share the experience with the world.


Day 18: Weiden, Germany to Pilsen, Czech Republic, 115km (1685km total)

Another unforgettable day on this incredible journey involving another puncture, a visit to a concentration camp, being stopped by German police and questioned, crossing to the fifth and penultimate country of the trip – Czech Republic, nearly getting knocked off the bike by some of the awful Czech drivers and finishing with some of the toughest hill climbs to really test my stamina.

After waking up early this morning I headed to the local McDonald’s to sponge their Wi-Fi for a few hours of productive work. Upon leaving the restaurant it started to rain again. Onwards and upwards into the forests, and I got a front wheel puncture this time. It was time to change the tyres! A half hour walk back to town to find a bike shop proved fruitful and within the hour both tyres were brand new. Back on the bike to take on the hill for a second time. However, the anticipation of visiting the camp caused my legs to give up in protest to the journey.

The mist filled the forests until I eventually arrived at the camp that was just 1000 miles from home. The town of Flossenburg has a huge source of natural granite, and this camp was set up to harvest that from the hills. Initially there were about 400 prisoners there, but it grew rapidly with an influx of mostly Polish people, then Jewish people and then others, such as homosexuals or political activists, that had no place in the Nazi regime.

It was meant to house several thousand at once, and was massively oversubscribed. When new inmates arrived at the camp, they would be stripped and washed with either boiling or freezing water from a hose cannon. They would be left to stand outside in front of everyone in the roll call area. Those that survived would be given thin prison uniforms.

It was in this roll call area where punishments, hangings and other executions would take place daily in front of the others to try to maintain order. The workers would mine the granite from the hills and were even hired out to the locals as cheap gardeners and labourers. The local population benefitted from the increased number of soldiers in the area by renting out accommodation and charging for local facilities. The exhibition here also showed how local electric and plumbing companies approached the camp to try and secure their business – they definitely knew what was going on.

For the inmates, like in all the other camps, there was insufficient food. This caused serious malnourishment leading to widespread illnesses that went untreated and resulted in mass fatalities.

Over the years approximately 100,000 prisoners passed through the camp, with approximately 30,000 of them perishing at the site for various reasons, all brought on by the ridiculous Nazi regime and by the soldiers who ran the place.

In the final stages of the war, the Nazis conducted a death march from here to Dachau in Munich. It would be a great effort for me to cycle there with sufficient clothing, breaks, hotels and food. I cannot even imagine being forced to walk there without any of the comforts I have had on my trip.

A female officer was reported to have screamed at those too weak to complete the walk and ordered them to be shot. However, she was not sentenced after the war. There are many similar stories, which is hugely upsetting.

I wandered around the grounds to the various memorials and passed several groups of German teenagers on school trips. Incredibly difficult to contemplate and deal with. I managed to compose myself and came to a building lower in the valley where the crematorium room itself was still intact. It’s moments like these that visiting alone is difficult. I remember having the support of my father, cousin and friend at Auschwitz a few years ago, and a good friend at Dachau years before that. People can help bring you back to modern reality, but I had only German school kids around me, and 80 kilometres of lonesome cycling before the day was out.

Pushing on through the hills, I was pedalling slowly contemplating this experience. I know this whole series of events called the Holocaust happened. I have seen so much evidence over the years, and now I am following a route that was taken by many soldiers to free the surviving captives. But I still just can’t imagine it ever happening in my world. We are surrounded by health and safety that puts preventing a person’s potential injury as being more important than anything, even if it means wasting a lot of time for something very unlikely. Here they just threw people into impossible work with no care for them as human beings whatsoever. If they die, then just replace them. I just can’t imagine this happening today in the world I live in.

How It Works: The Story Book Process | Step 6

In six simple steps, you can take part in creating your life story to save and share for generations to come. In this article, learn about the final, sixth step in the Story Terrace story book process.

Once you’ve finished working with your experienced ghostwriter on making edits to your story, the finalised manuscript will be sent to your Story Terrace editor for review. Now you can sit back and let our skilled editorial team ensure your book is thoroughly edited and proofread.

{Tweet: Learn about the 6th step in the @StoryTerrace biog process. Go from final manuscript to printed hardcover #book. http://bit.ly/1TXSEHO}

Next, before the edited piece is sent off to the typesetter and printer, your editor will email you print-ready PDFs for approval. We won’t have it printed until you’re 100% happy with the final manuscript.

In the final stage of production, the manuscript will be sent to a professional typesetter, who will design your book using the Story Terrace house style. The photographs and captions you submitted in Step 4 will be included in full colour, woven appropriately throughout the book. When the whole typeset piece is ready, the printer will produce 4 standard copies, which will be delivered directly to your home.

Once you get started, you can have your beautiful, hardcover bound books in your hands between six and eight weeks.

Interested in creating your own Story Terrace story book? Click HERE to contact us today!

To learn more about how the whole story book process works, follow this link: https://storyterrace.com/how-it-works/.

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

In her biography, Into the Light, Teresa Samuels recalls her hometown of Wau in the south of Sudan, shaded by mahogany and mango trees. Despite memories of hunger and hardship, her family were happy and lived in the rich grassland of the savannah, just above the equator, where the air was sweet and fragrant with the scent of wildflowers. When Teresa was just 11, all of this changed with the onset of the Sudanese civil war. South Sudanese defence forces clashed with Arab officers from the north just miles from Teresa’s school, and fifty years of fighting began.

Cover to Into the Light

“Making this book has given me the time to reflect on what I chose to do with my life and the people who have helped me along the way.” – Teresa Samuels

Click the button below to read the rest of Teresa’s testimonial and read excerpts from Into The Light.

Testimonial available here

Teresa’s brilliant writer Sara Walden lives in London and worked as an investigative journalist for the Sunday Times.

Tracing Family Genealogy Back to 1681

Sue’s story in a nutshell…

Every month we like to bring you some insight on a completed Story Terrace book. Providing you with an overview of the varying biographies created with us. This month our focus is on a lady named Sue Hodges, her life story is being featured in line with our genealogy themed month. Enjoy…..

Though Sue Hodges now lives a quiet life on a Gloucestershire farm, she has had more than her fair share of adventures. Full of mischief as a child, Sue grew up to be a fearless woman. In the sixties she was propped up at the bar – vodka tonic in hand, Marvin Gaye in the air – revelling in the atmosphere of London’s most swinging decade. Ahead of her time, she then joined an agency to indulge her passion for travel. She lived abroad in Turkey and then in Greece, where she saw the tanks of the Greek military junta roaring through the streets of Athens.Sue returned to England when she realised she wanted to start a family. Though she lost her dear first husband, she remains a loving daughter, mother of three and gran of two, who now shares her life with Ken, her 68-year-old rugby-playing farmer.

Sue returned to England when she realised she wanted to start a family. Though she lost her dear first husband, she remains a loving daughter, mother of three and gran of two, who now shares her life with Ken, her 68-year-old rugby-playing farmer.

What Sue and her lovely writer Nick McGrath created together will be a treasure for Sue’s friends and family this Christmas and for many years to come, especially as we managed to record her genealogy going back to 1681 in her book.

The Le Patourel Family Genealogy Tree

Below you’ll find some excerpts from Sue’s book Don’t Switch Me Off

 

 

Sue Hodge's Story Book Contents Page

Sue Hodge's Story Book Prologue

Sue Hodges Story Book excerpt

<p style=”text-align: center;”><a class=”ut-btn theme-btn small round” href=”/how-it-works/” target=”_self”>How it works</a></p>

About us: Story Terrace helps customers to capture personal stories in beautiful books alongside a professional writer. Our writers have a range of backgrounds and interests, sharing one passion: Portraying individuals through carefully crafted anecdotes and lively stories.

For more information on having your stories written down, send an e-mail to info@ or get in touch via our contact form.

7 TIPS FOR RESEARCHING YOUR FAMILY TREE

Is it time to research your family history?

Has something come into the fore in recent times that’s made you decide the moment has come to embark on one of life’s biggest projects that will mean so much – are you about to tackle researching your family history? If so, we have gathered 7 tips to help you on your researching way – it’s certainly going to be a journey of highs and lows, breakthroughs and lulls, but this is a commitment that will enable you to understand who you and your family really are.

1. Write it all down and begin to build your family tree 

Start by writing information closest to you, all the things that you know straight away without having to research. It might be an idea to buy a long roll of paper and set it up somewhere in the house to start visually building a diagram of what your family tree already.

2. Collate information 

Information such as dates, places of marriage, births and deaths, will be a great place to start and geography will play an important part in your future research too. List these findings in an order somewhat similar to below;
• Full name including women’s maiden names
• Date and place of birth
• Date and place of marriages and divorces
• Date and place of death and burial
• List of siblings and children
Another tip when collating information is to gather sentimental objects from your family’s past – documents such as birth certificates, wills and military service papers can start to fill in early stage gaps.
Photographs are also incredibly important as they can provide links to people that may bridge that all important gap. If you’re sourcing all the mentioned above from a relative, remember you must tread carefully to respect their privacy, this could be difficult and sensitive for some.

3. Read ‘how to’ books

Read a collection of ‘how to’ do Genealogy, you don’t need to read the entire book, just gather facts and advice that will help you make progress, and inevitably, make you feel in control. The more you know the more confident you will be. Especially when it gets to the stage when when you’ll be speaking to professionals (if you choose to go down this route).

4. Collect family stories

Speak to everyone in the family by gathering personal stories and anecdotes. You can spend your time reminiscing, which should bring lots of relevant and interesting facts into the search. Family members can be a wealth of knowledge, remember to start with parents, aunts and uncles, and then work back a generation if you can. Speaking to your grandparents can open up a whole new world of information too, as they are the passage-way to finding out about the unknown generations.

5. Help and guidance
There are some pretty good websites, blogs and networking options for you online, to find these out start by searching on social media via some genealogist’s pages. There are whole communities on the web and you can utilise these to help guide you through this researching frenzy. Another option is to find a local genealogical society or family history event in your area. Attending classes about family tree research, family history records, and how to avoid brick walls is an important step to finding answers for all levels.

6. Organisation and formatting
Keep everything in folders and adopt an order of information that works for you – remember it needs to be one you can maintain with ease. Remember to check new findings and triple check to ensure you’re logging information that is valid. It’s always a good idea to check names and dates against official records.

7. Getting started
Using all these tips, each project will be performed in their very own way – with different influences and paths taken. Consider working with us at Story Terrace to write your family memoirs – an option that allows you to create a book of your family history with one of our professional ghostwriters. Get in touch today to share your story.

Create your family history book with Story Terrace

About us: Story Terrace helps customers to capture personal stories in beautiful books alongside a professional writer. Our writers have a range of backgrounds and interests, sharing one passion: Portraying individuals through carefully crafted anecdotes and lively stories.

HOW IT WORKS THE STORY TERRACE PROCESS | STEP 5

Your own Story Book – How does it work?

In six simple steps, you can take part in creating your life story to save and share for generations to come. In this article learn more about Step 5.

So the main body of work has been compiled and the content of your book is starting to resemble the finished piece. This is your chance to read the story thoroughly and comment on any aspects you may feel it need’s be it a tweak or even a change of stance.

The ‘comment on the draft’ stage allows you to, for the first time, read your ghostwriter’s work on your project. It’s going to be quite a remarkable experience reading it through, with all the important personality and passion you’d imagined it would have – enjoy your time reading it through and do not forget to take notes along the way.

Once you’ve read the whole thing and made the notes necessary for you to feedback to your ghostwriter, you will set up a call or a meeting between him/her and yourself. Don’t worry about it taking time discussing all the aspects you wish to cover, it’s important you do so with no hesitation. This is the time to thoroughly cover every little bit that caused you to make a note in the initial read-through.  Your discussion can be completed on the phone or by Skype. Spending as much time discussing it in detail allows you to work together, to review all the necessary adjustments seamlessly for the perfect final draft.

So now the draft should follow the order, or incorporate all the information you’d hoped it would when completed  – with many adjustments or none whatsoever with your ghostwriter it should now be ready for the final stage of production.

Keep an eye and an ear out for How it works, step 6 soon.

Want to learn more about the Story Terrace steps? Read more: https://storyterrace.com/how-it-works/

To speak with a member of our team further about how it works, please get in touch here! We look forward to hearing from you.

Story Terrace Writer Feature: Andrew Bird

In our Writer Feature this month, Story Terrace interviews their ghostwriter Andrew Bird. 

Andrew writes from his home in Reading and is currently working with Story Terrace on a lovely bespoke biography – a gift from a daughter to a father.

1. Is there a specific moment you realised you wanted to pursue writing professionally?

Graphic design was my first career, but I’ve been writing articles for historical magazines for the past two years whilst researching and rising early to write my next non-fiction novel. An award-winning independent publisher has published my works though I’m still looking for an agent – once I’ve found one, then I’ll consider myself a professional writer.

2. What types of writing projects do you look for?

I look for projects that focus on non-mainstream stories in the genre of military non-fiction.

3. What is it like capturing a man’s life story on behalf of his daughter?

I trust the biography will be a unique and revealing glimpse into his life, illuminating the thoughts of a man who would eventually spend a considerable amount of time in the Armed Forces with his wife and family.

How does it feel to be a significant part of that gift?

Humbling.

4. If you could choose any person in history to do a Story Terrace project with, who would it be?

The photographer Tim Page who took some of the finest pictures in the midst the Vietnam War.

LIFE STORY-BOOKS FOR THIS FESTIVE SEASON

Life-story books for this festive season

Are you wondering what autobiography, biography or memoir to purchase for that bibliophile in your life this Christmas? It’s all about gifting this month at Story Terrace, so we’ve compiled a list of contrasting books  we think will resonate best with our followers, supporters, colleagues and clients.

Here is our suggestion of five of the bestselling life novels released this year.

The Wright Brothers  by David McCullough  The Write Brothers Cover Image

This is the story of two brothers from Ohio, who in 1903 on a cold winters day changed history. This biography relays who these men were and how they achieved what they did. Coming from a home where there was no electricity or indoor plumbing, but with books aplenty, their father actively encouraged their education and curiosities. Wilbur and Orville Wright were inventors and aviation pioneers who are accredited with inventing and building the world’s first successful heavier-than-air-human flight.    

Wright Brothers Jacket Art

John Le Carre by Adam Sisman  John Le Carre: The Biography Book Cover

This biography tells the life-story of David Cornwell the man behind the pseudonym John Le Carre, who wrote the novel The Spy Who came in from the Cold – a worldwide bestselling sensation.

Adam Sisman captures the author’s life by bringing a compelling account of the writer’s difficulties growing up and what may have shaped and moulded his ideas when writing. David Cornwell’s works offer tantalising glimpses of his life. Therefore, this was a struggle for Sisman when sifting through fact and fiction for such a biography. Written with exclusive access to Cornwell himself, to his private archive and to the most important people in his life this is an extraordinarily insightful biography.

Furiously Happy – A funny book about horrible things by Jenny Lawson Furiously Happy Book Cover

Jenny Lawson writes her memoirs  about her personal struggle with mental illness – this is slightly more nitty gritty than her first novel and is set out more like a collection of short anecdotes. It may not sound inviting for a light-hearted read, but do not be mistaken, as she relays these anecdotes with such humour and passion – hence the ‘Furiously Happy’ title!

The book divulges her diagnosis of, ‘high functioning depressive with anxiety disorder and mild self-harm issues’ but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. A unique read one might say!                        

How it works at Story Terrace

Going off Alarming, The Autobiography, Volume 2 by Danny Baker Going Off Alarming Book Cover

Danny Baker, an English comedy writer, journalist, radio DJ and screenwriter has released his second autobiography after his first volume autobiography, GOING TO SEA IN A SIEVE – which was a Sunday Times bestseller. Now  Volume 2 is out and is an account of his life from the age of 25. It’s the year 1982 and he embarks on an accidental and anxiety-induced career in television! Danny continues his memoirs with hilarity, he recounts  dozens of TV shows – many of them lousy – Game shows, talk shows, adverts and TFI FRIDAY are but a few of the unplanned pit-stops along the way. For an absolute chortle of a read, we recommend this.

First Lady The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill by Sonia Purnell First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill Book Cover

A vivid account of the life and work of Winston Churchill’s significant other – Clementine Churchill. With a gripping account of how she dropped out of public awareness, we learn of her roles as the ‘First Lady’. She was his supporter, advisor and helper, a wonderful hostess and a tireless worker for charity and good causes. Churchill was quoted saying he couldn’t have won the Second World War without her and in this biography we learn how this true marriage of love and mind came about, through to the end.

About us: Story Terrace helps customers to capture personal stories in beautiful books alongside a professional writer. Our writers have a range of backgrounds and interests, sharing one passion: Portraying individuals through carefully crafted anecdotes and lively stories.

For more information on having your stories written down, send an e-mail to info@ or get in touch via our contact form.

Start your own biography

HOW IT WORKS THE STORY TERRACE PROCESS | STEP 4

Your own Story Book – How does it work?

In six simple steps, you can take part in creating your life story to save and share for generations to come. In this article learn more about Step 4.

Decide on the structure of your story book and send us your photos 

The writer proposes a structure for your Story Book after working with all the material collated. As soon as you’re satisfied with the proposed, he or she starts writing your book. During this phase, you can expect some extra questions from the writer to gain any missing information – filling in and padding out areas of the story will help to smooth it out around the edges and take it to the next level in terms of detail and flow. You can decide to answer these questions via e-mail, phone or video call.

Select the photos for your Story Book

Now it’s time to send us your pictures. Beforehand, you’ve probably had lots of time to overthink which photos will accompany your stories. It will be an overwhelming decision to conclude, but you will know deep-down the most important imagery to accompany the text, it may just take some time.

When you’ve made your selection, it’s crucial to digitize all the material. It is not too complicated and we’ve spent some time here at Story Terrace discovering the most efficient way to get it done. For the best tips to get through the process of digitizing as smoothly as possible: https://storyterrace.com/quick-tips-for-digitising-your-old-photos/.

Finally, one of your selected photos will form the basis of your unique cover. For this, we’ve selected two standard possibilities: one of your photos can comprise the main image or a special drawing created by our in-house artist, inspired by one of your photos can be produced. This way, we provide making your Story Book the special and personal document it should be. Please see an example of our books below….

'It Never Gets Easier' Book Cover                                       'Don't Switch Me Off' Book Cover

 

Want to learn more about the Story Terrace steps? Read more: https://storyterrace.com/how-it-works/

To speak with a member of our team further about how it works, please get in touch here! We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Unique gifting ideas for the Man Who Has Everything

This month at Story Terrace it’s all about unique gifting ideas for the man that has everything…

So it’s that time of year again when everyone is thinking about purchasing unique Christmas gifts but surely it’s fun and rewarding delving into our pockets to buy for the one’s we love.  That is, when it’s easy and you know what somebody wants or needs! But what about that special man in your life who owns everything? Or that elusive man in the family who honestly never reveals what he wants – what on earth do you buy for him?

From the team here at Story Terrace, here are some perfect unique gifting ideas and tips. Get it right this year and give him the best surprise under the Christmas tree. This is our guide into buying for the man who has everything.

For the man who is an adrenaline junkie…Yellow and White Elite Cars

What about spoiling him to a day out where his adrenaline levels can reach the sky and afterwards he can brag to all his friends about it? Head to Driving Gift to hire an elite car and pick a special venue where he can cruise around in the car of his dreams. A perfect experience gift for the man who has everything and more.

For the man who likes a beer…Micro Batch Beer Breweing Kit

Rather than buying him a gift that he has received ten times over, like a selection of delicious ales, bottled up and ready to be drunk, what about giving him the opportunity to get creative and start brewing himself? Knowing he loves to drink this tipple, and it’s something he spends a lot of time doing, then this could be the perfect present for him. Check out the company Home Brew Depot. Their kits have been designed so that anyone can brew no matter their level of experience – that should keep him happy and occupied!

For the man who has got something to say…'It Never Gets Easier' Book Cover

So what if the hard-to-buy-for man of the family has got a story to tell? You could inspire him to share it all with his friends and family by writing his memoirs with us at Story Terrace. Our crowd-gifting site StoryStarter makes it simple to gather all the necessary information and funds to give this guy a once-in-a-lifetime gift. It’s a place where all the important people in his life can contribute to a unique biography – sharing stories, anecdotes, pictures and funds. Get in touch today to discuss your unique gift.

Fossil Bookends

For the man who takes pride in his home…

If he is into books and they play an important role in his life then why not consider displaying them between some extremely classy and unique bookends, such as these from Tom Dixon?  As the saying goes, besides a dog, a book is a man’s best friend – so why not look after them by purchasing this lovely pair!

Outdoor Adventure Rucksack

For the man who likes to spend time outdoors…

All his most treasured belongings need to be kept safe and sound when he is trekking in the great outdoors. What about nabbing him the perfect backpack that can hold his essentials when out on an excursion with his friends, his partner or on his own? This rugged backpack has easily accessible compartments for a Swiss army knife, a blanket, mess tins for camping, a raincoat, gloves, a scarf and more – he’ll be ready for any event.

Want to gift a personal biography for Christmas?

About us: Story Terrace helps customers to capture personal stories in beautiful books alongside a professional writer. Our writers have a range of backgrounds and interests, sharing one passion: Portraying individuals through carefully crafted anecdotes and lively stories.

For more information on having your stories written down, call us on 0208 629 1001, via Chat below or get in touch via our contact form.

 

StoryStarter has arrived

StoryStarter Logo

MEET FOUNDERS ON WED 4/11 at STAND D323

Story Terrace launches StoryStarter, a group-gifting platform to collaboratively create a ghostwritten biography

  •  Part of the changing face of crowdfunding and the revolution in publishing
  • Contribute stories, photos and funds all in one place
  • The most accessible and collaborative way to capture one’s life story

London/ Dublin — November 4th, 2015. Story Terrace, ‘Everyone’s Personal Biographer’, is launching WebSummit 2015 in Dublin following Story Terrace’s selection as an Alpha start-up. StoryStarter is the world’s first group-gifting platform that brings together family and friends to create and fund a ghostwritten biography for a loved one.

Crowdfunding and social gift platforms such as KickStarter, IndieGogo and GiftStarter have grown exponentially in the last few years, and StoryStarter is at the forefront of the next generation of these platforms. With StoryStarter, it’s easy for friends, family and colleagues to collectively fund a once-in-a-lifetime gift. Users also have the opportunity to contribute stories and photos. In this way, a unique archive of social history is created.

The StoryStarter platform is easy to use. The user first selects a Story Terrace biography gift package and invites friends and family to share stories and contribute funds on a dedicated campaign page. Once all the funds have been raised, StoryStarter sends a personalised welcome package that includes all of the stories, photographs and names of people that have contributed to the campaign. Next the gift recipient is matched with the perfect ghostwriter to create their memoir, autobiography or family history.

“We are continuously looking to make our ghostwritten biographies more accessible and collaborative,” says Story Terrace founder Rutger Bruining. “StoryStarter is just the next step in our mission to make sure that in 50 years everyone can read a book about their grandparents.”

  • Gift packages start at £800 / €1,000 / $1,200
  • Try the platform for free at MyStoryStarter.com
  • #StoryStarter

About Story Terrace

Story Terrace is a publishing and technology start-up that helps people turn their memories into a beautiful book using professional ghostwriters. The company, launched in the UK in June 2015, has the largest network of biographers in the world.

  • / @storyterrace
  • To receive images, email katrina@

Contact at WebSummit  (stand D323 on Wed 4th)

Rutger Bruining

Founder & CEO

m: +44 79 2003 9484

e: Rutger@

Contact in London

Katrina Hopewell

CMO, Story Terrace

m: +44 78 3825 5420

e: Katrina@

The Importance of Life Writing

In each field of research, there are those scrupulous academic wonders who know their subject down to the tiniest detail. For the study of life writing, Craig Howes is the one to talk to. The director of the Centre for Biographical Research in Hawai‘i discusses developments in Life Writing, constructing identity through Facebook, and the huge surge in interest in writing down one’s own life story.

Hawai‘i as the centre

A green button appears on my screen; Mister Howes is calling in from Honolulu, Hawai‘i. He opens the Skype conversation, enables the camera, and pops up dressed in a casual Hawaiian shirt.

Craig Howes discussing research

Craig Howes at the centre. Photo: Chronicle of Higher Education

Bringing international relevance to a research centre in Honolulu could have been a challenge, as Mister Howes well knows: ‘When we started out in the mid-eighties, the idea that Hawai‘i could be the centre of anything was ridiculous. But what transformed that was the internet. Now we are in touch with the international academic community throughout the day. Late in the evening we have Skype contact with our European colleagues, and early in the morning things are already happening on the East Coast.’

Although the centre is internationally oriented, Mister Howes explains that the scope of the centre is focused geographically as well. ‘We speak of it as a three-legged stool. Apart from being a major centre for the encouragement of life writing research internationally, it is also responsible for preserving a regional profile–documenting and researching Hawaiian histories–and offering courses in life writing and studying documents of life writing at the University of Hawai‘i.’

From Rousseau to your neighbour

According to Mister Howes, there’s been a huge surge in interest in his field over the past decades. ‘Before the eighties, the study of life writing was restricted to the tradition of viewing autobiographies and biographies as literary texts. The works of interest were biographies of great individuals, diaries of the famous and notable, like that of Rousseau. Very Euro-centric indeed, and quite conservative. The approach focused mainly on style, form, voice. Little emphasis was placed on what we could learn about their time.’

Rousseau

Rousseau

This changed in the mid eighties. ‘In the United States and Britain, there arose a stronger interest in life narratives by ‘ordinary’ people. The other 80% of society became important, including women, people of colour, the poor, etc. And with the subject, the focus changed, as the researchers were now interested in the way these people constructed identities. Re-establishment of identity through narrative became highly important in countries that were decolonizing, especially. This also affected regions that were changing their national identities after repression by totalitarian regimes–regions like Eastern Europe, Estonia and Latvia. They were recapturing the individual voices that were silenced or repressed by the Soviets.’

A shared humanity

Howes’s own concern in the research of life writing bears resemblance to this interest in the ordinary man. ‘Life writing gives you the opportunity to–to some extent–experience and understand the life of others. My own most extended work was on the United States prisoners of the Vietnam war. I analysed what happened with them when they returned home and how they dealt with it.’

‘Life writing has to do with humanism in general. It’s learning about the conditions people lived in, their history, and how they constructed their lives. It has not only an aesthetic appeal, by means of writing a compelling narrative, but there’s a very strong appeal to truth. Through analysing life stories we can build a shared understanding of the world and a shared humanity.’

Selfies, Facebook and blogging

Despite the notion of the ivory tower-academic, Mister Howes and his colleagues aim especially at connecting with the outside world, and anticipating trends visible in everyday life. ‘Life writing is such a powerful force outside the academic world. Reality TV, biopics, they’re amongst the most popular cultural expressions. And take a look at the nominations for the Academy Awards, you’ll see that there’s a huge interest in life stories.’ Boyhood Movie Graphic

Another trend that Howes has identified is the interest people have in their own life stories. ‘There’s an incredible influx of people who feel the need to make sense of their life’s narrative or their family’s. It’s used therapeutically. People want to organize and preserve their history, trying to make sense of their own experience and background.’

Howes argues that the possibilities to document your life nowadays are endless. ‘Take selfies and Facebook, for example. Young people are creating new identities every day. They experiment with role playing and constructing different identities. But they’re very self-conscious about it. There doesn’t necessarily have to be consistency between virtual and actual life stories.’

My last question, did he ever document his own life, is answered in the negative. ‘Although my life evolves around writing and researching life stories of others, I’ve never really written a diary myself.’ Seems like a reasonable next project?

____________________

By Anne Brugts, content manager

About us: Story Terrace helps customers to capture personal stories in beautiful books alongside a professional writer. Our writers have a range of backgrounds and interests, sharing one passion: Portraying individuals through carefully crafted anecdotes and lively stories.

For more information on having your stories written down, send an e-mail to info@ or get in touch via our contact form.

HOW IT WORKS: THE STORY TERRACE PROCESS | STEP 3

In six simple steps, you can take part in creating your life story to save and share for generations to come. In this article learn more about Step 3.

The Interview

How?

Once you’re matched with your Story Terrace accredited ghostwriter, and you’ve filled out your Story Terrace questionnaire (step 2) you will be interviewed by him or her.

Your ghostwriter is there to help you find your voice and write your story in the most conscientious way. This meeting needs to be extremely beneficial to you both. You’ve been matched to you writer through us at Story Terrace so a connection is already well and truly on the cards!

To be comfortable throughout the interview process is of the up-most importance. You need to be able to talk about all the aspects of your story openly-whether it’s sensitive and personal, embarrassing and crazy, or it’s just an aspect of your story that you’ve never shared with anyone before. Either way, please enjoy. Our writers are trained to listen carefully and ask the right questions so that they can connect your stories and bring out all of the details.

Where?

Like any creative experience or process (whether you’re a creative or not), you will want to feel calm and connected- so feeling this with your ghostwriter will help get those creative juices flowing. Ensure you choose a great place that benefits you both! It maybe decided that your ghostwriter comes to visit you in your home and you share a lunch together- somebody’s home is a very personal space and may just be the perfect environment to compliment your rapport. Or, you may decide to meet in a café, a pub, or somewhere that resonates with your story and you wish for the ghostwriter to connect with that environment also.

It may be that a telephone call is suffice, or perhaps a video-call over Skype. Whatever you decide, you want the interview to be a success, so go with your gut and I’m sure whatever the conclusion, it will be a wonderful partnership off to a flying start!

Step 4: Agree on the structure of your book and send photographs.

Visit the Our Writers page to learn more about the talented writers working with Story Terrace to tell your stories. You can get in touch with our team by visiting our Contact page.

 

HOW IT WORKS: THE STORY TERRACE PROCESS | Step 2

In six simple steps, you can take part in creating your life story to save and share for generations to come. In this article learn more about Step 2.

Filling out your Story Terrace questionnaire….

Our customised questionnaires and tips have been structured to bring back memories and help you decide which stories to focus on.

The Story Terrace questionnaire is there to help you brainstorm. Firstly you could write down whatever comes into your mind, use it as an aid just for this. Make sense of all the memories that spring to mind by putting them in order- perhaps by creating a mini timeline if it helps. This brainstorming technique can help you get it all down and compartmentalise the most important aspects to help you go forward.

You can take as long as you’d like to answer the questionnaires.

In the past we have suggested 8-10 hours (say 6 x 1.5 hours) spread over a three-week period- just as a way to structure your time but obviously do what you feel is right. You could take a notebook around when out walking or at a café just in case a memory pops up and you need to write it down. Taking some time to do things that make you feel nostalgic, will inspire you and definitely bring back all the wonderful memories. Going through old photos and letters will also help.

However some of the questions will require some serious thought. Please do schedule a few hours a week to reminisce. The more details you write down, the more colourful the final story will be. Think of your surroundings when reflecting on your stories. Who was there? And how did you feel in the moment? Even the tiniest details, such as your means of transport will help bring stories to life.

Your writer will be available for any questions.

Do not hesitate to contact your ghostwriter, they are at hand to support you and they should be utilised. You and your writer are there to support each other and it’s a project that is faced together. Remember these guys are the professionals and they will help you find your voice.

Most of all enjoy the process. It’s meant to be fun and a once in a lifetime opportunity. Revel in the experience and make your book that incredible read you’ve been working towards for all your family and friends to read.

You can get in touch with our team by visiting our Contactpage. 

HOW TO FIND THE BEST GHOSTWRITER FOR YOU

Writing your life story is not something you trust to anyone. We understand that. That’s why all Story Terrace ghostwriters are selected very carefully. All of our ghostwriters are advanced biographers, experienced interviewers and, above all, they can grasp your personality in the perfect words. Making a choice amongst that is therefore quite the task. Because who is the right match for you? To make it a bit easier, we hand to you our best tips in finding the right ghostwriter.

1. Style

Every ghostwriter has his or her own style of writing. One is a skilled novelist, who finds the right storytelling voice in your biography. The other can, with his journalistic background provide more of a descriptive note.

We know our ghostwriters and we know their tone of voice. If you tell us a little about your ideas and share a bit of your story, we can advise you with the best match. Take a look at our writer introductions to familiarise yourself with the different writing styles available to capture your stories.

2. Background

It’s essential to tell your story to someone who understands your background, especially if your story features specific elements that can only be known to people that come from the same career field, have the same hobby, or have experienced a similar path in life.

To tell your story as a top lawyer, we would advise a ghostwriter who’s worked in the field of law. And who can better empathise with details of growing up in the South of England than a ghostwriter who’s lived there themselves?

3. Male or female, from junior to senior

Our pool of ghostwriters is also very diverse when it comes to selecting on the basis of other features. For example perhaps you’d rather speak with a female writer or prefer a male author-we can gladly respond to this request. Maybe you’d like to work with someone of a similar age, or a writer who comes from a completely different era? What about a student currently studying for their masters in journalism? Or an experienced journalist who has worked for some of the biggest newspapers in their career, they’re all here!

At Story Terrace, we ensure that our ghostwriters span a broad spectrum of backgrounds, interests, experience level and budget, so that we are ready for any clients needs. These are just a few of the criteria upon which you can select your ghostwriter of choice.

Get in touch with your requirements

Story Terrace can connect you with the perfect ghostwriter, helping you transform your stories into a biography or memoir, providing a once in a lifetime experience of being interviewed by a professional ghostwriter. Discover our ghostwriters, start your biography today. 

Take a look at our Ghostwriters

Visit Our Writers page to learn more about the talented ghostwriters working with Story Terrace or get in touch right away to discuss your project requirements.

Contact us to discuss your requirements

Story Terrace Writer Feature

In our Writer Feature posts we put a spotlight on the talented writers who use their unique skills to bring out the stories of other people’s lives in a beautiful and meaningful way. We spoke with Story Terrace writer Philip Hamlyn Williams about his passion for writing and why he’s chosen to use his talent to help other people find their voice.

Philip Hamlyn Williams writes from his home in Lincoln, and is currently working with Story Terrace on a project related to a certain Stirling bomber.
Phil Williams Headshot
Is there a specific moment you realised you wanted to pursue writing professionally?

I am massively lucky, for this is my third career! I discovered my love of writing quite late when I took a correspondence course in creative writing. I was aged 50 and had moved from the accounting profession into charity management with its huge communications challenges. I have been writing one way or another ever since, including my only spell in full-time university education when I took the MA in Professional Writing at Falmouth. Work is now doing what I enjoy. Was there a single moment? When I received an advance on my forthcoming book!

What types of writing projects do you look for?

When I completed my MA, I wrote a novel, Broken Bonds, which explored the effects of the banking crisis. My wife read it and I could tell from her expression that I had fallen short. A while later I handed her the first chapter of my forthcoming book. She read that too but this time she said, ‘you have found your voice.’ I love putting people’s histories into words. I have written in the context of WW2, but my next project begins in 1690!

Your first published book, War on Wheels, is set to be released in September 2016. Can you tell us a bit about it?

How long have I got? This was a labour of love. My Mum had kept albums some three or four inches thick of hers and my Dad’s war. Five years after she died, I opened them and was entranced. I found a man I hardly knew. When I, as a very young teenager, knew my Dad he was 70 and terminally ill. In these albums, he was Bill Williams, aged 45 and brimming with energy. He couldn’t have been more alive. He had been given the job of setting up a massive depot that would handle the vehicles that would give the British Army its wheels. Of course it wasn’t just him; some 250,000 soldiers, ATS and civilians were involved as they pressed ahead with tasks that had never been done before. Some failed, but they learned from their mistakes. They laboured long and hard and created a vast organisation that in the end triumphed. The story had never been told before, and such a vast enterprise would never happen again.

If you could choose any person in history to do a Story Terrace project with, who would it be?

William Smith Williams published the Brontes. He and his brother came to London in the late 17th century, their family having been for generations ‘dealers in hides’ just outside Oxford. As well as publishing some of the greatest writing in the English language, William Smith Williams and his wife produced some remarkable progeny: Anna Williams who in 1870 was Professor of Singing Music at the Royal College of Music and Sir Arthur Lowes Dickinson who was a founding partner of Price Waterhouse in the USA, to name but two. I would love to write their story.

We wouldn’t underestimate the power of your story and neither should you. Get in touch with the Story Terrace team to learn about how we can help you start creating your own Story Terrace book and read more about our talented writers on the Our Writers page.

Write your biography with Story Terrace

6 steps to writing your biography with Story Terrace

We’d like to share with you the process on how to write your biography with us at Story Terrace – this is a great insight into how fun and monumentally brilliant it is to create a life long keep sake, for all the special people in your life.

Step 1. Meet the ghostwriter!

Tell the Story Terrace team a bit about yourself and what direction you want your biography to go (you may not even know yet, but that’s ok!) We will match you with your writer- someone we feel suits your personality and will engage with you in the best possible way.

Step 2. Brainstorm

We supply a useful questionnaire that can be used to conjure up the memories. Jot all over it if you wish and use as a working document throughout to aid the process.

Step 3. Interview – (but a fun one)

At this stage you are interviewed by your ghostwriter. This is for as many hours as you’ve arranged within your storybook package- you’ll be divulging your life anecdotes as if you’re a famous person being interviewed- how fun!

Step 4. Photo Time

Provide the photographs. This can be a collection of as many photos you wish. For example a timeless family portrait, a time where you once were gallivanting around when travelling, or an inanimate object that holds sentimental value.

Step 5. Read the first draft

Now you can comment on the draft, once the editor has polished it up. Throughout this process you can provide as many edits as you’d like us to make.

Step 6. The Finale!

Receive your storybook. Completed in full colour, beautifully bound and delivered to your home.

Now it’s time to celebrate this wonderful achievement with all your family and friends- a keepsake for generations to come. But in the meantime read chapters with friends over drinks, or dip in and out whilst cooking one evening and reminisce.

 

Visit the Our Writers page to learn more about the talented writers working with Story Terrace to tell your stories. You can get in touch with our team by visiting our Contactpage.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

 

 

Nieder and Down

The story of liberation child Henk Klok

Although the arrival of the allies was already forthcoming, the Wehrmacht kommandant in the small Dutch village of Almelo decided to call on another 500 local men for work in Germany. The Germans went from door to door to collect unwilling men, all reluctant to work for the enemy. With two of them, a fat one and a slim one, they came knocking on my parents’ door.

My father had already taken his hiding spot behind the attic wainscot when my mother opened the door. When the search downstairs didn’t give the soldiers the expected result, the most fanatic of the two, the slim one, made his way to the stairs to continue his hunt upstairs. He was setting foot on the first step, when the fat one called him, pointed at my mothers big pregnant tummy – she was expecting me – and without even saying another word, they left.

Portrait of Henk Klok's Mother

A few months later, in the early morning of 4 April 1945, the inhabitants of this little Almelo saw a plane approaching – that would later be nicknamed ‘Sudden Tinus’. It turned out to be a scouting plane and the first signal that the liberation was near. That afternoon, a Canadian tank and soldiers tried to reach the town via the one access road and the adjacent trenches on the terrain or our neighbouring farmer. On the other side, behind my aunt’s laundry, a battalion of the Hitler Jugend was hiding. They were singing songs like ‘wir fahren auf zum England’, like they did on sitting on straw bales during the whole of the war.

As soon as the Canadians and Germans caught sight of each other, a heavy shooting broke loose. My parents’ barn, a cow barn that was used as a shelter because of the lack of kettle during the war, was situated exactly between the two firing camps. My heavily pregnant mum waddled towards the entrance to find cover. The Germans yelled ‘nieder, nieder, nieder!’ and the Canadians ‘down, down, down!’. But mother had no clue that the whistling things above her had were actual bullets.

My mother reached the shelter safely, the Canadians liberated Almelo and ten days later, I was born.

The family portrait-Henk as a baby with Mum and Dad

The family portrait-Henk as a baby with Mum and Dad

About us: Story Terrace helps customers to capture personal stories in beautiful books alongside a professional writer. Our writers have a range of backgrounds and interests, sharing one passion: Portraying individuals through carefully crafted anecdotes and lively stories.

For more information on having your stories written down, send an e-mail to info@ or get in touch via our contact form.

UX TESTING EVENT with Story Terrace

Please join us on Monday 12th October for a night of “All you need to know about UX testing” by Tom Lamont for Story Terrace.

Participants will test Story Terrace’s new crowdgifting, content-sourcing platform, StoryStarter, whilst learning to conduct smart UX testing.

Event held at Launch 22 at 31A Corsham St, N1 6DRNetworking begins at 6pm; session start at 6:30pm. Pizza and beer provided. 

We can’t wait to see you there!

RSVP – anna@