Biography by Design began with a friendship in 2010. Kate was finishing Native American Son and Abby had begun writing Joy when the two met in Boston at the first-ever conference of Biographers International Organization (BIO). In the sea of eager biographers they bonded over a mordant sense of humor and a shared passion for the genre of narrative nonfiction, especially the craft of researching and writing life stories.
As the years went on they finished their books, worked together as panelists, moderators and committee co-chairs at subsequent BIO conferences, co-created an annual award honoring archivists and research librarians — and grew a professional and personal friendship. Abby had a baby boy (Jasper), Kate became a grandmother (Kevin and Ryan) and their immersion in the richness of real life only deepened their fascination with why and how people and organizations do what they do.
In the fall of 2015, Abby and Kate found themselves in the same place of mapping out next career steps and discussing potential new projects. The idea was floated to join forces once again, this time combining their formidable skills and networks to build an exciting business, the first of its kind, making their storytelling passion and prowess accessible to all.