I am thrilled to welcome Robert Fear, Rave Reviews Book Club “Spotlight” Author, on today’s stop of his blog tour. Robert is an amazing, supportive member of RRBC who generously promotes fellow authors. I consider it an honour to shine the “Spotlight” on him today.
With much joy, I introduce Robert Fear!
RRBC BLOG #4 – Background to Exclusive Pedigree
A lot of my spare time over the past two years 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.
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.
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.
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 were professionally self-published in July last year. I think John would be proud of the finished result.
5 out of 5 stars
An Amazing Life
May 29, 2017
This interesting memoir kept me glued to the pages throughout. An incredible life well lived and I am sure your father would be so proud of you Robert for editing and getting his story published. What an amazing tribute to your father. John was a thoughtful and reflective man and when he was not comfortable with the life imposed on him by the Exclusive Brethren life he was in, he left. A great cost in leaving the life you have known all your life and leaving family members whom you might never see again. He had his wife and children though who loved and supported him. What inspired me was the life he created for himself and family after leaving. Still serving God he worked in many places throughout the world, rubbing shoulders with many famous people including Billy Graham, Mother Theresa and Cliff Richard to name a few. Very humbly written and an amazing testimony. You should be so proud of your Dad, Robert. He was an amazing person and lived an incredible life.
Exclusive Pedigree – getBook.at/ExclusivePedigree
Born in Leicester, UK in 1955, Robert’s family moved to Surrey when he was 11. He was educated at Reigate Grammar School. After this he worked at a bank in London for several years before getting the travel bug. Fred, a nickname he got at school, stuck throughout his travels and has remained with him to this day. His travels took him to Ibiza for the summer of 1977, hitch-hiking around Europe in 1978 and the USA and Canada in 1979. During this time he also settled and worked in Germany. Fred’s Diary 1981 was written during the 158 days he spent travelling around Asia.
These days Robert is happily settled in Eastbourne, East Sussex where he lives with his wife and three cats. He works as a software consultant and has been able to combine work with some travel during the past fifteen years, having visited countries as far apart as Australia, Singapore, Ghana and Suriname.
Facebook – @fredsdiary1981
Twitter Handle – @fredsdiary1981
Website – http://www.fd81.net/
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Thanks so much for stopping by and supporting Robert on his “Spotlight” tour. You can follow his tour here. Hope to see you at the next stop!