The power of true life stories

Stories have the power to captivate a reader - dazzle them into anger, or happiness or bewilderment.  They grip the imagination, and can transport you into a different world. “Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.” Patrick Ness,  A Monster Calls Still, we all have that one friend who won’t read a book or watch a film if it isn’t based in reality. Why? Why does it matter if these stories are true or not? This blog article explores this very question. True life stories are relatable Reading a fantasy novel Read more

What does Remembrance Day mean to you?

Remembrance Day is a memorial day in which the Commonwealth nations remember and pay their respects to the brave men and women of the armed forces, who gave their lives in the line of duty. In most countries it takes place on 11th November, signifying the end of all hostilities in World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The red remembrance poppy has become the iconic emblem associated with Remembrance Day. The poppy came to be associated with this day due to the actions of a professor at the University of Georgia named Moina Michael, who penned the poem ‘We Read more

How to Collect and Record Memories

Turning the meaningless into the meaningful Collecting memories and mementoes is something most of us do, often unconsciously, on a daily basis. The advantage is that we know the stories behind the photos and trinkets we keep, but to anyone else, this collection is pretty much meaningless.  For example, you may pick up a photo of yourself with friends, sitting around a table and you might look fondly at the picture and chuckle to yourself, remembering all the events that occurred that night. But, let’s say your great-granddaughter picks up this same photo 40 years from now.What would she see? Read more

Questions to Inspire Memories and Life Stories

A great way to learn about someone’s past is to start by asking them questions about their early life. It’s not always easy to know where to start, so here’s a few ideas of questions you could lead with to inspire rich memories and life stories. Storytelling: For most people, preserving both their own stories and those of friends and family is very important, after all, that’s how we remember people after they’ve gone. Storytelling has forever been the most effective way of sharing knowledge, and as soon as we, as humans, began to record these stories, civilisation was effectively Read more

How To Write My Life Story

I once came across a quote by the author Kate Rockland, which read: “Relationships consist of telling your same life stories to different people until someone finally appreciates them.” Although, a little on the soppy side, this idea about the power of the life story and the realisation that our stories literally make us did really hit home. Now, most people wouldn’t consider themselves storytellers and definitely wouldn’t consider themselves authors. In actual fact, that is exactly what we all are; storytellers. By merely going about our day-to-day lives we are unwittingly creating Read more

The Recipe for a Good Ghostwriter

Problem: you want to share your story, but you feel as though you don’t have the time or the necessary literary skill to be able to convey it properly. Solution: Ghostwriter Simple. Somewhat. Getting a ghostwriter is one thing; getting a good ghostwriter is another. Here’s what you’ll need: INGREDIENTS 2 mugs of mutual understanding 1 generous serving of empathy 1 sprinkle of flair 2 drops of clarity 6 doses of stylistic transparency 2 clean ears 0 spoons of judgment 4 helpings of industry expertise 1 dash of wit 6 spoons of patience 1 Read more

Nepal Earthquake One Year On: The Earth Moved

Last April, Row and Tom Smith were celebrating a successful climb to Tsergo Ri peak in Langtang, Nepal when they were caught in the aftermath of an avalanche – at least, that’s what they originally thought. Later on, they, along with the rest of the world, realised that they were almost at the origin point of the 8.9 Richter Scale quake that devastated the mountainous country which is now known as the "Nepal Earthquake". Exposed to the disastrous power of nature, their hiking group was escorted back down the mountains to the valleys where they saw the true extent of the damage. Buildings Read more

Thank You Mama Gatha | Testimonial

  'Emily and Judy had lots of time and patience in collating, editing and putting my book together. Thank you again, it's like a miracle come true.' -- Eleanor Brooks A tribute to Mama Gatha Eleanor Brooks came to Story Terrace having already penned her incredible life story. But with her manuscript in a Word document, she wasn’t sure how to capture it in a book for her family. Story Terrace matched her with Judy Brown who provided editorial expertise. Together Eleanor and Judy created a memoir of Eleanor’s life and a moving tribute to her grandmother, Mama Gatha. Eleanor was born Read more

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 Read more

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. “Making this book has given me Read more

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 Read more

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 Read more

More than a Car

Remember your first car? Or the day you got your driver’s license? Maybe you drove to the nearest beach with your family, or took a road trip with your friends. More than just a means of transport, a car can be a carrier of memories. Throughout March, using your stories, we’ll be unravelling the special relationship people have with their cars.

Love Stories

What’s love got to do – got to do – with it? Well, everything, actually. Isn’t it true that the most beautiful stories have at least a hint of love glistening just below the surface? That is why, this month, we’re sharing the most beautiful love stories we can find. So stop, in the name of love, and take some time to contemplate love with our stories.

Tinder Love

Tinder Love Watch out, twenty-somethings. The next person you left-swipe on Tinder might just be your favourite uncle or even your own mom. Users aged 35-54 now make up 15% of the app’s population. Thanks to the new media, Marcel, who is in his late 50s, still finds love on the menu.  ‘I was married for twenty-seven years. When that ended, I had a special relationship with a childhood sweetheart. We had some fun flirting, but quite soon it fizzled out. I have lovely family and friends and I didn’t feel like anything was missing. Still, a hint of hope remained that one day I would be able Read more

A Wedding A Week

A Wedding A Week Experiences of a Wedding Officiant By Anne Brugts, Content Manager, Story Terrace Dutch wedding officiant Guusta has officiated over 1,200 marriages. That’s 1,200 wedding stories - from a bird of prey who flies up a tree with the wedding rings to rowdy rows in the wedding hall, she shares her best with Story Terrace. ‘I bet I’d do better!’  ‘In 1997 I was a guest at pretty pitiful wedding ceremony. It was hilarious for the guests, but not so much for the newlyweds. That evening at the reception, after some glasses of wine, I made some brave remarks: “Let me Read more

A Skating Legend’s Icy Ambitions

A Skating Legend's Icy Ambitions Rien de Roon was at the top of Dutch long-distance ice skating for years. He’s the Dutch marathon ice skating champion, completed three Elfstedentochten (+200 kilometres) and today, he gives lectures to companies about his sports past.  Kaat de Mossel is a lunch restaurant in Rotterdam, beloved of sportsmen and famous for its fresh fish. As I enter the dark wood-panelled room and attempt to orientate myself, a waiter comes up to me immediately. ‘Are you here for Rien? He’s at the back.’ Nine Hundred Jumping Jacks in Shoe Storage When Rien starts talking, Read more

The life of a ski instructor

The life of a ski instructor Ever dreamt about putting your passion for winter sports first and building a life around skiing? British ski instructor Jo Pearson did exactly that. Since graduating from school, she’s divided her years into six months of ski instructing in the Austrian Tirol and six months of studying in the UK.  One might argue that kids in Austria learn to ski even before they walk. Jo was not far behind; she first started skiing when she was only three years old. ‘From then on my parents took us every year and I guess that’s where my love began. Although I don’t remember Read more

Out at Sea

Out at Sea The Story of Marine Engineer Hank What do the Army, an Australian bar, cruise ships and oil tankers have in common? The answer is Hank, an active Swedish guy who has worked in all of these places. He shares his story with us from a boat anchored out at sea north of Norway.  By Anne Brugts, Content Manage, Story Terrace Daily Life on a Ship As part of his studies in marine engineering, Hank is currently fulfilling internships on ships around the world. His day starts at 8 a.m. - if he can get up, that is. ‘I’ll go for a run, have breakfast and start the day at the ship doing Read more

Reindeer Rules: The Sami Way of Life

Reindeer Rules: The Sami Way of Life Spread across the northernmost regions of Scandinavia, there’s a people that conquer freezing conditions every day in order to work and live. It’s the Sami, the indigenous people of Scandinavia, whose main business and lifestyle have revolved around reindeer for centuries. Here, reindeer herder Ellinor tells us about the Sami way of life.  By Anne Brugts, Content Manager, Story Terrace It’s 4 p.m. in Norway. If Ellinor Guttorm Utsi were to look outside, there would be no sun, just darkness. ‘Today it got dark around an hour ago. That’s late; Read more

Frank: first memory

By Anne Brugts, content manager Story Terrace  Frank: First Memory "The first memory from my childhood? Don’t you think I’m a bit too young to be looking back already? Actually, I guess not. Everyone has a first memory." It was a really hot summer, one where the sweltering heat made you want to retreat to a garden chair and hang around for the rest of the clammy day. On one of these summer days there was a party at our house. I can’t recall what the exact occasion was, but the house was filled with family members. We’d had lunch in the garden, but because of the intense heat, the Read more

The life of the Heineken ambassador

By Anne Brugts, content manager Story Terrace  The life of the Heineken ambassador If you watched Dutch television during the Olympic Games and the World Cup, you couldn’t possibly have missed him. The Heineken ambassador who was present at the biggest sports and orange events of 2014. Heineken’s COO (Chief Orange Officer) Marco van Houwelingen had a year he will never forget, and he shares his experiences with Story Terrace. The Heineken COO was brought to life to spread the orange (Dutch national sports colour, ed.) sentiment. ‘Heineken is inextricably linked with “Oranje”‘ Read more

The festival sentiment of an organiser

By Anne Brugts, content manager Story Terrace  The festival sentiment of an organiser Maarten Aland is festival. As a member of the organisation of well-known Dutch festivals such as Valtifest, Open Air and Voltt, he has the concept of festival running through his veins. In this interview he tells us about weeding Dance Valley’s festival ground, the festival bubble and his principle of doing-learning-experiencing. ‘Festivals are unique,’ Maarten states. ‘The feeling of being outside, living with nature, watching a sunset. I love the feeling of space and liberty that a festival breathes Read more

Top 5 Most Bizarre Festivals

By Anne Brugts, content manager Story Terrace Top 5 Most Bizarre Festivals When you think of festivals, names such as Woodstock, Lowlands or Glastonbury might come to mind. But did you ever hear of El Colacho, Tunarama or Argungu? We take a step away from music festivals and plunge into the range of other festivals the world has to offer. Here’s a list of the top 5 most bizarre festivals, which takes you on a journey through cultures all around the globe. 5. Monkey buffet festival – Thailand – November  What the cow means to India, the monkey means to the Lopburi district in Thailand. Read more

World Cup Memories

This month we celebrate World Cup memories. What’s your favourite World Cup memory?

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