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June 15, 2010

Ben and Quinn Bradlee: Enjoying Their Time Together

Posted by Anonymous

Ben Bradlee and his son, Quinn, spent plenty of time together working outdoors, sharing family stories. One day, they decided that they ought to be writing this all down while explaining the virtues that made them not just father and son, but best friends.

What made you decide to write together?

Ben Bradlee: A chance like this comes along once in a lifetime and I grabbed it!

Quinn Bradlee: I wanted to write a book about fathers and sons because there are a lot of fathers and sons who aren’t close to each other, and I know their relationships could be better. There aren’t a whole lot of father/son books out there. 

A Life's Work jacket.jpgCan you each share a story about the book you wrote together?  

Q.B.: I’d like to tell the story about my Dad passing on information that he learned from his Dad to me about working in the woods. The most important thing that happened is that we got to spend time together in a way like my Dad spent with his Dad.

How did you share your writing responsibilities?

B.B.: We wrote separately, and I think the book is better because of that. Otherwise, we would have had influence on what the other one wrote.

Q.B.: To be honest, half of the stories in the book are my Dad’s, and half are mine.

Did you outline, or did you write first and then go back and structure?

Q.B.: We worked through a series of interviews where we told our story, made the rough draft from that, and then edited as necessary.

Who had final say? Does “Dad always rule,” or how did you handle writing conflicts?

B.B.: We really didn’t have a conflict because we wrote separately. I suppose someone fiddled around with my copy and I fiddled with his. I didn’t change anything of substance with his and vice versa. The editors had something to say, too.

Q.B.: I think my Dad actually had the final say, and my Mother shared a final say in the book. After all, we did include her observations!

What do each of you bring to the table?

B.B.: I bring a lifetime of experience and 28 great years with him.      

Q.B.: We brought realization to the table.It became clear that the reality of our relationship is different than it was when I was young. Tables have turned to where I now teach him things that he taught me, and I teach him things that I’ve learned on my own; the way my Dad did with me.

What’s your favorite snack food/drink when you are writing?

Q.B.:  We wrote much of this book during the summer…so I’d say seafood. That’s something we really enjoy when we vacation on Long Island.

Do you have advice for anyone who would like to write a book with their father or son?

Q.B.: Getting to know your father, and asking him historical questions of his life, and keeping a journal of your relationship with one another helps a lot. Fathers and sons need to be understanding of one another. They should enjoy every minute with each other because the time doesn’t last as long as you think.

B.B.: Quinn’s answer makes me feel so great that I wouldn’t change a word. Take the opportunity if you ever get a chance to write a book with your child!

Ben and Quinn Bradlee are the authors of A LIFE’S WORK: Fathers and Sons, which is available now wherever books are sold.