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Q&A with Rachel Esbee, Author of ‘Along For The Ride!’

Rachel Esbee is the author of Along For The Ride, a bike touring adventure with a toddler in tow! Rachel is a stay at home mom to two young children, and was able to write this book despite having only so much time each day.

Tell me your story. What inspired you to become an author? 

Books have always been important to me. I’ve often struggled as a reader to find things that interest me or keep my attention, but occasionally there would be an utter gem that I wouldn’t be able to put down. I wanted to write books like that, and am lucky enough to have been published in both fiction and nonfiction, as well as self-publishing my own nonfiction book.

Tell me more about Along For The Ride, and what it is about. What is the story plot? Who are the characters?

Along For The Ride tells the true story of when my wife and I decided to go bike touring across Switzerland… with our toddler. I was inspired to write about our travels because I read a lot of adventure literature, both nonfiction and fiction. Often people are young, single, rich, and able to ditch their lives for months on end to go and have adventures in far flung destinations. I wanted to write something that reflected our reality.

We wanted to have an adventure, but we had to do that within the parameters of work and having a young child. But I hope readers learn from the book that adventures are still possible, super fun, and push you out of your comfort zones in ways that are really rewarding.

rachel esbee author

Tell me more about the process behind writing your book.

The process for the book was pretty simple as it is nonfiction and written chronologically. What I found difficult though was opening myself and my family up, to write us in a way that preserves privacy but also allows us to be seen as three dimensional characters. It was a tightrope, but I hope I’m managed to strike the balance.

What is your routine as a writer, if you have one?

I’m a stay at home mum to two young children. The Swiss school system is such that even though one of my children is at school, it is only for a couple of hours a day. And the other child is with me full-time. I would love to say I have hours to write, but the reality is I grab whatever time I have.

I write mostly on Google Docs or Notes as that means that whenever I have time I can work on the same manuscript from my phone or my computer. And the reality is that sometimes that is five minutes when I’m waiting for the school bus, or a couple of hours during nap time.

What was the most challenging thing about writing this book, since you started?

By far the most challenging thing was to tell people that I had self-published a book. I thought there would be a lot of pushback on the idea that it wasn’t a real book or it wasn’t worthy of being read because I had been the one who had published it. But really, once I started getting feedback I realized a lot of these concerns were solely in my head.

Now the ongoing challenge it to find time to publicize the book when I am busy with other projects, and so I am really thankful that Luka reached out and gave me this opportunity.

How much research did you need to do for your book? 

Despite having taken the trip that is outlined in the book, I really had to go back and research the areas that we were travelling through and added information about the population and country as a whole. I wanted to make sure that all the information I included in the book was correct so that meant more research that I had anticipated.

Which part of the book is your favorite?

There are a couple of one-liners that made me chuckle when I was writing them, and still made me laugh when I did my multiple read throughs. I would say it is probably one of those, although I can’t pinpoint a favorite part specifically.

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What are some tools you relied on to write this book from start to end?

The tech that I used was pretty simple. I didn’t have a huge budget or a lot of time for the project (I’m a stay at home mum for two small children), and so I found that writing on Google Docs was the best solution. This meant that whenever I had a free minute I could either fire up my laptop and write, or more realistically type on my phone – working on the same manuscript wherever and whenever I was able to.

I formatted for Kindle using the free Amazon software. And I made my own cover using Canva (although I did ask some Graphic Designer friends for their input on this).

What are some authors that inspired you into becoming an author yourself, if any?

George Mahood was an inspiration in getting me started. He has self-published 14 books with Amazon, and is now writes full-time. I didn’t realize that this was a possibility until I read his books, and it was also eyeo pening to see the subject he writes about – family life, mass participation races, holidays etc. The idea of finding the book within every day life certainly was influenced by him.

What advice would you give to a writer just starting out?

Read as much as you write. Don’t get bogged down in the edit until you’ve finished the first draft. And get your most trusted friends and family to give you honest feedback.

What are your future plans and where can our readers find you?

I have another book coming out before Christmas – How To Cycle 50 Miles (and not completely hate it) – and I’m working on a few other projects too. I also write fiction, so I have to finish a couple of manuscripts and I’m waiting back to hear about a couple of submissions.

I don’t have a website yet, so for the time being my Instagram is probably the best place to find me – @notgotanickname.

Happy reading! ❤️