It was late August of 2012. Rick and Janell Phelps had just signed on as clients, and we talked about a joint memoir to be ready by Christmas. They were already good friends of mine and I looked forward to getting to know them better.
“Have you written your stories before?” I asked them. Janell had written about the early part of her life story for a family project, as well as in their wedding book. Rick, however, hadn’t, except for recording some of his callings in his journal.
With their little dog Chester usually sleeping on the back of the couch, we started the interviews. I’ve always enjoyed the Phelps’ company, and it was fun to see different sides of them – the adventurer, the traveler, the entrepreneur. Janell’s stories especially from her youth were animated and full of girlish detail, while Rick’s were more thoughtful – but they were all interesting.
Throughout September and October, I transcribed and edited the interviews as we went along, then we incorporated photos. They made the decision to scatter the photos throughout the narrative, which I’m glad for because they added visual interest. Mariah, our graphic designer extraordinaire did an excellent job laying out the pages and their customized book cover.
Our deadline of Thanksgiving was looming, and the Christmas publication goal seemed to be in jeopardy. But by dint of hard work especially on Janell’s part (who pored over the manuscripts with amazing thoroughness) and the publisher, we made it!
Two weeks before Christmas, and four months after their first interview, I delivered two boxes of books to Rick & Janell’s house. I loved seeing the happy expression on their faces as they looked through their beautiful book together, and as they looked forward to sharing it with their kids. It was a testament to me of how privileged I am to work in this field.
Congratulations, Rick & Janell! It was fun getting to know your treasured stories.