Friday 14 October 2016

Behind The Scenes of Exclusive Pedigree with Robert Fear #RPBP

Hello and welcome to a special guest blog by the very talented story teller, Robert Fear. Whenever I read reviews or features on this book I am filled with admiration for a son that has made his late fathers dream come true by publishing his memoirs. Today, Robert will share some personal family photographs and background as to how this incredible book came to be written and published.
John and Mary

Guest feature by Robert Fear:

A lot of my spare time over the past year has been devoted to making my father’s dream come true.

It started for me back in 1992 when my father, John, was becoming increasingly frail and was confined to bed most of the time. Visits to the hospital became more frequent and the doctors were talking about months, not years.

John had been working on his memoirs for several years and had already typed up many of the chapters. He also had plans in place for finishing the remaining chapters of his book. Now he was unable to continue and my mother, Mary, called me to see if I could help. I was more than happy to.

Robert, Grandma (Olive) Lynes and Mary

In the evenings and at weekends I sat at my computer and transcribed the chapters that John had already finished. These were duly printed off and sent back to him. There was a regular flow of padded brown envelopes with hand written corrections made by John and more words for some of the later chapters.

I also made the trip from Eastbourne to the village of Cumnor in Oxfordshire several times. It was a period of reconciliation between father and eldest son as we discussed changes that he wanted made and planned for the missing chapters.

The last time I saw my father alive was several months before he passed away in October 1993. I sat on the end of his bed for hours as we talked further about the book. Despite being breathless and in constant need of oxygen, he insisted that I turn the tape recorder on him. There then followed the most enthralling story of an experience that he had in his early twenties.
During the months following his death, I continued working on John’s memoirs with the help of Mary and my brother, Alastair. We completed the half-finished chapters as best we could and used some of the letters that John had written home, along with diary extracts and magazine articles, to fill in some of the gaps. Alastair also wrote the final three chapters, which covered the closing months of John’s life.

Robert and Alastair

John, Christine and Robert
A friend of the family who had print connections then took over and produced around a hundred copies for distribution around friends and family. The limited edition was published under the title Exclusive Pedigree and if it hadn’t been for a chance remark the life of the book could have ended there.

Original Paperback 1995
New Paperback 2016

Last year I was visiting my mother for a few days. Mary still lives in the same cottage in Cumnor and is near to my brother, Alastair, who lives with his family in Abingdon.  I gave her a paperback copy of the second edition of my own memoir Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia, which she wanted to read. Conversation turned to self-publishing and we started talking about John’s memoirs. Then came the bombshell, “Did you know Rob that John always wanted to have his book published properly?”
It had never occurred to me. I always thought that it was his wish to have it produced the way that it was. Now I had a fresh challenge and after discussing it further with Mary and my brother, I started looking at editing the previously published book and self-publishing it. With the experience of publishing my own memoir, I felt that I would be able to do my father proud.
But first I had to recover the files. The backup files that I had were sitting on a floppy disk and were in an old format, DisplayWrite. Neither my PC nor laptop had a floppy drive, so I bought an external one and then tried to copy the files across. Whatever format I chose the result was a garbled mess. Eventually I managed to get them copied across in plain text but then spent hours stripping out redundant data, before I could start the job of editing and formatting.
Move on a few months and thanks to the tremendous support of beta-readers and fellow authors alike, my father’s memoirs have now been professionally self-published. I think John would be proud of the finished result.

John and Mary (Retirement Years)
Thank you so much for sharing this with us Robert and congratulations.

Get your copy of 

Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren

From your favourite bookstore on this universal link

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