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Interview a Loved One

December 8, 2008

Submitted by: Candace May

When I wrote my first book about my grandfather more than 10 years ago, I started with a set of questions I planned to ask him. I called him on the phone and did an interview. The interview only lasted about 40 minutes. Those 40 minutes turned out to be the best conversation my grandfather and I ever had. The result was a book that is both a family heirloom, as well as the very book that founded this wonderful company.

Now, over 10 years later, I decided it was time for me to interview my mother. I planned a visit last August at her home in Los Angeles. We talked on the beach and in the restaurants we stopped at. This time I had printed and used our Heritage Makers “LIfe Story Map” to conduct my interview. How well do you think I knew her story? After all she is my business partner, my best friend, my mother. Well, I was amazing to discover I got the first three questions wrong…

“When where you born?”

“Where were you born?”


“What are your parent’s names?”

(I assumed for 30+ years my granny’s name was Ruth. My mother informed me my grandmother’s real name was Olga. You see, when Granny was dating a fellow he didn’t like the name Olga and introduced her as Ruth.)


There is so much we can learn from our parents and grandparents no matter how well we think we know them. As the holidays approach, I challenge each of you to interview a loved one.

Look at the Story Maps Heritage Makers has available for some great interview questions.


I have to admit…it feels a little “awkward” at first, sitting there with a paper and a pen, but give it time and the stories start to flow.

I am here to tell you that interviewing your loved ones is the best investment of time you can make. I promise that you will find yourself saying, “I never knew that.”

After the interview, Heritage Makers makes it easy for us to then create wonderful books about our loved ones. We can all create beautiful cornerstone storybooks that will bind our families, teach our children important values, and remind us about what really matters in life. These storybooks will become your family’s greatest treasures.