Lilian Duval is a reader’s writer with more than 30 years of experience in writing what people want to say. That includes personal writing that means business, and business writing with personality.
Lilian gets the point across stylishly and accurately. Clients speak of the magic in her work. “It just pops off the page and makes it so real. You did such a beautiful job. I will be forever in your debt for this book,” wrote one client about Chapter 1 of her memoir.
“The trick to the magic is to say the most in the fewest words possible,” Lilian says. “Reading a good autobiography should be like watching a movie in your mind, with all of the colors, sounds, and activities that compose a person’s life.”
Do you have a drawer full of notes, but have never gotten around to writing your life story? Many people have wanted to write their memoirs for years, but keep putting it off. Lilian transforms unrelated notes into stirring biographical sketches, essays, and book-length memoirs.
If your first language was not English, that’s not an obstacle. Lilian herself spoke only French for years before she learned English, and spent several years teaching English as a second language to adult immigrants.
Your spelling, grammar, and style of writing don’t matter. “If you have a story to tell—and so many people do—it always comes through, whether in emails, phone calls, or in person,” Lilian says. “Don’t worry if your memories are jumbled and not in chronological order. Organizing it all is what I love to do. You’ll be surprised how the story of your life will be transformed into an amazing book.”
The memoir-writing process is therapeutic for the client. Having a therapeutic ear runs in the family—Lilian’s brother is a renowned psychologist who has helped hundreds of people find peace and happiness.
“People send me emails and text messages in the middle of the night,” she says. “They wake up, remembering something significant that happened, often years ago. And they jot down that thought before they forget it.”
Memoirs and autobiographies are built this way, on scraps of notes and telephone conversations that lead to questions. The answers to Lilian’s insightful questions are woven, thread by thread, into exquisite chapters of engaging books, the kind of books that you can’t put down.
Lilian Duval is the author of the critically acclaimed novel You Never Know and the forthcoming story collection Random Acts of Kindness. Her short stories have appeared in Monsoon magazine, the North Atlantic Review, and Stringtown magazine.
“My approach to writing fiction is related to how I write autobiographies and biographies,” she says. “In a novel, you have to tell a good story and enrich it with details to make it believable and exciting. In a memoir, you have to be true to life, bringing out the rich details of a person’s past in order to tell a great story.”
As an amateur musician, she has a good ear for narrative as well as music. On the classical music side, she’s the biographer of Alla Aranovskaya, first violinist of the St. Petersburg String Quartet.
And on the popular music side, she’s the biographer for The Parlotones, South Africa’s most successful rock band of all time. Her full-length history of the band, Sold Out!, was written for band manager Raphael Domalik. Published in South Africa in 2014, it will soon appear in the U.S.
Both Lilian and her husband George are survivors of the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. “A horrifying experience like that teaches you what’s important about life,” she says. Her works of fiction were inspired in part by those shattering events and a passion to capture what life means to us all.
Lilian lives with her husband, a native of Singapore, in a book-filled house in New Jersey overlooking a large county park. They have two sons and a daughter, all independent and ambitious, and several cats. She’s an amateur classical guitarist and enjoys attending concerts and plays in New York City.
She is well versed in interviewing, and has a strong command of the English language in virtually all styles of writing. Best of all, she is adept at saying what you want to say, in the best words possible.
Writing has always been her calling. In her own words, “The most enjoyable activity I can imagine is to help people unwind their memories, bringing out the gems and jewels of their existence, and chaining them into a gripping narrative that makes sense out of the chaos and unpredictability of our complicated lives. My clients have all lived lives worth living. Being selected to chronicle those lives is a profound honor.”
Lilian, I could never do the job that you have just done on my Biographical Sketch. I thank you very much. This my dear is the work of a professional. I love it! Thank you. — Marjorie Latham, a jewelry designer in New York State, August 2012.