An interview with Laura Fahrenthold- author of The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles- plus author-signed Giveaway!

 “Laura Fahrenthold tackles grief and loss in the most American of ways, hitting the road in a camper, with two kids, a dog, and her dead husband’s ashes.  Courageous, brutally honest, and observant, “The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles” is a classic road story of love and healing.  It’s also laugh-out-loud funny.”  Barbara Barker, Newsday

Hi, Girlfriends and Guy friends.

What drew me in?

It was the RV on the cover that immediately caught my attention on the Facebook post.

Bonus that it was an RV named “HaRVey The RV.” 

Once I began reading the book, I couldn’t put it down.  It helped that Laura is funny.  

Super funny.  

Even though she tells a deeply traumatic story. 

You’ll fall in love with her too.  And you’ll be surprised at her coping skills…

Another reason I was drawn to Laura is because we had something in common.  We each coped with loss by getting out of our “normal” surroundings.  Hers was death, mine was divorce. 

(Read https://grettytheunlikelyrver.com/about/ to read my coping story.)

These three things

  1. I am delighted to share this interview with my reading audience.  AND…
  2. How cool that you have the chance to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY of “The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles” just by subscribing to my blog! (Previous subscribers are automatically entered in the giveaway.)




3. PLUS…Laura happily agreed to meet/chat with all of us on Facebook live Monday, February 25th at 12 noon CST. Start reading, Girlfriends and Guy friends! It’s a fairly quick read, told in slice-of-life, page-turning dispatches.

The Interview

I wanted to know more about Laura, her late husband Mark, and her incredible journey.

So I asked.

Gretty:  Tell me more about yourself and your background.

Laura:  I got a lucky career break in landing a job as a crime/police beat reporter for the New York Daily News. From there, I worked at another newspaper in Sunday features and then became an editor at Woman’s World magazine, where we have 1.6 million weekly readers throughout the US and Canada.

I have interviewed more than 60,000 women over the course of my career at Woman’s World. I’m not a news junkie. More like a human-interest story junkie. That’s why I love my job so much. I get to interview and write the stories of women’s lives. We are incredibly resilient! It is that resilience that drove me through grief.

Gretty:  I loved reading the pages where you describe how you and Mark met.  Can you share a bit of your love story with my readers?   

Laura:  Let’s put it this way. I called my mother after meeting Mark in the newsroom of a new job and told her I was in love with one of my editors. She said I was crazy (in the nicest of ways.) How could that be possible? Mark and I moved in together a week later! I never believed in love at first sight, but I saw home in his eyes the second we met. We were together and married for 15 years.

Gretty:  What advice would you give to other couples who find themselves facing health concerns? Or even the death of a loved one, a divorce or a lingering personal crisis?

Laura:  I wish I had the perfect answer. No one does. Each of us has to come to our own place of acceptance in life. We can lean on friends and family. We can go to shrinks.  We could even fly the Dali Lama in to give us private meditation classes and pedicures. But at the end of the day, everything just takes time… lots of time… All I can say is be kind to yourself.

Gretty:  You begin each chapter with an excerpt from Mark’s personal journals.  How long had Mark been writing these prophetic words?  Did you read them prior to his death? 

Laura:  It’s crazy because after traveling all those miles, I found the answers at home through a lone sunflower and the discovery of his journals.

Gretty:  Since I live in an RV fulltime, I am naturally fascinated by all things RVing.  Your decision to travel the country in an old RV was impulsive and hilarious.  Can you share what ran through your mind in that decision process?  

Laura:  It was all about the price. $4,200 seemed totally worth it to ditch the tents and hit the road.  

Gretty: Your book describes your journey through grieving the death of Mark, but I know your grieving didn’t simply end when your manuscript was finished.  Describe the effect that promoting your book had on your grieving process. 

Laura:  You are the only person who has ever asked me that. It honestly often makes me feel uncomfortable like look at me, look at me. It’s not like that at all. I wished there were a book like this when Mark died. Then I could have lived vicariously through another person’s life!

My Kindle Copy of The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

If you have signed up for my blog, you’re already registered.

If you’re not receiving my email updates and newsy RV and Relationshippy stuff, sign up now! I promise you that I’ll never share your information with anyone else.

Deadline to sign up is 11:59 p.m. MST on Friday, February 8th, 2019.

A name will be selected by a random number generator. I’ll contact the winner by email, and they’ll have 48 hours to reply with their mailing address. If I haven’t heard from them in that time, I’ll select another name randomly, and we’ll repeat the process.

A special thanks to Laura for this interview and our future Facebook live event on February 25th. I’ll be sending a reminder on FB.

Hugs from your Unlikely RVer,

Gretty

P.S. I love to hear from my readers! Just like these nuns who did a book club with Laura! Check out her FB page!

Please let me know if you’ve read Laura’s book already or if you are planning to. Can’t wait to meet up with ya’ll on Monday, February 25th for our discussion!

“Grettytheunlikelyrver is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to her site.”

5 Intriguing insights from the authors of “Living the RV Life” – and a chance to win an autographed copy!

Let me fill you in on a secret

Marc and Julie Bennett have a super power and I get to brag about it.  It’s called successful multi-tasking.

While writing “Living the RV Life” in 2018 these things were also going on in their life:

  • They held leadership positions with the ‘first of its kind’ gathering for 500 RVers called Nomadfest
  • Starred in the movie premiere entitled RV Nomads
  • Sold their RV
  • Purchased a used Country Coach and named her “CC”
  • Fully renovated “CC”
  • Continued to serve clients in their RVSuccess School along with creating content for their website

Oh, and then comes the book offer from Simon and Schuster?  How could they possibly say no?   Yes, these rock stars hold super powers!    

Marc, Julie, and our dog Penny during a visit in 2016

Here I am with my hard copy AND my kindle version of Living the RV Life.  Oh, and that’s my dog Penny- always mugging for the camera…

You are going to love this book. 

Julie and Marc’s passionate work combines with their zest for adventure and lays the foundation for this comprehensive RV guide.  Each page will energize you, educate you and even entice you to pursue your RV dream!

There are dozens of glowing endorsements listed in the front of “Living the RV Life”.  I loved this one:   

“Warning:  this book will bring out your inner RVer; it could change your life forever.  If you want to learn from the best, dive in and get some RVLove.  Marc and Julie are true veterans of the road; they show us how to make full-time RVing possible.  Hands down the best RV lifestyle book ever published.” 

– Sean Nichols, COO of Battle Born Batteries

My favorite part!

Part 2 of the book explores the relational and emotional considerations of entering the RV lifestyle.  Naturally it’s my favorite section since I’m all about Relationshipping.  As I read the pages my curious mind wondered about the personal challenges Julie and Marc faced as they entered the lifestyle. 

So, I asked them. 

1.How did you first become inspired to sell your home and enter the RV lifestyle?

Julie: “It happened at a pizza restaurant in Colorado!  It was 2011 and we had just visited the Sand Dunes.  On the way home, we stopped at a pizza restaurant and noticed this vibrant couple next to us who obviously were enjoying themselves.  We struck up a conversation and learned that they had sold everything bought an RV and were living in it fulltime. 

Wow!  The couple shared that they worked fulltime jobs while traveling on the road.  We had never met anyone who lived this life of freedom and wondered out loud on the way home if it could ever be a possibility for us. 

But then a few days later, we fell back into our old grind of life with Marc’s job and me continuing to job hunt.  It wasn’t until the fall of 2013 that we began dreaming of travel in the U.S. and how we might make that happen.  Air travel was out of the question since we wanted to travel with our Labradoodle named Coda.  We remembered the couple at the pizza restaurant and began exploring the possibility of buying an RV.  By 2014 our dream became a reality! 

We hope to find that couple some day and thank them for inspiring us to live a life of RVLove!”

2. Since you live and work together 24/7 in a 350 square foot coach do you find it difficult to disengage from “work talk” and reengage as just Marc and Julie?

Marc: “The first three years we RV’d I was working fulltime for a company and RVLove was just a hobby for us.  We had no difficulty separating our work time with our personal time.  But when I left my job and we decided to pursue RVLove fulltime working as partners, it became increasingly difficult to maintain healthy boundaries between work and “off” time.  We got caught up in the pressure of running our own business, needing to make it on our own, not having paid vacation time anymore from an employer.  It proved to be more challenging than we anticipated.”

Julie: “This past year was super challenging, and our work plates were overflowing.  The stress and pressure to meet deadlines knocked us off the track of why we entered into this lifestyle.  Coincidentally, as we edited “Living the RV Lifestyle” we began to see our “old selves” in the pages.  We realized that we wanted to get back to “us” and slow our pace way down.  That is why we began 2019 with a 2-week hiatus from all social media.  We have promised ourselves to protect and uphold the boundaries lines between work time and off time.  This has already made a huge difference in our relationship as we strive to prioritize a healthy lifestyle.”

3. RVLove has become widely known in the RV world and people recognize your faces wherever you go.  How do you handle this consequence of your success?  Has it been positive or negative? 

“If we go out for a walk…especially in a Thousand Trails park we often get recognized right away.  I would say it is more of an enhancement to our lives than a hinderance.  When people greet us it’s usually to give us positive feedback and say thank you.  It’s rewarding to know that our RVLove community has benefitted from the information that we share through our website, You Tube channel and our RVSuccess school.”

4. You two are similar to John and me. Marc, you are an introvert and Julie, you are an extrovert.  How do you manage balancing those two energy needs? 

Marc: “As an introvert, I need time to myself to get re-energized.  Getting out on my bike takes me to that zone where I get refreshed.  When we are in a group setting, I’ll usually position myself near the outer ring where there is less talk going on.  With our public lifestyle I tend to look for my downtime whenever I can and wherever I can. In a social setting I tend to seek out the quieter person in the group.  This is less taxing on my energy drain and I believe it is helpful and non-threatening to those with similar energy styles.”

Julie: “As the extrovert in our marriage, I find myself aware of times when the social scene might be a bit too heavy for Marc’s needs.  I encourage Marc to speak his needs and set boundaries.  I work on respecting his needs and try and tune into where he is at in our social time.  This past year and especially during our book tour, we organized several RVLove meetups where groups get together for fun and food.  It is a great way for us to mingle with our RVLove community, be a catalyst for others to make new connections, and free up other days of the week for our work and “us” time.”

5. What would you do differently if you were just starting off as FT RV’ers and someone handed you a copy of “Living the RV Life”? 

“When we began seriously looking into the RV lifestyle, we did a fair bit of research.  However, we also expended a huge amount of energy weighing the benefits of various decisions.  We spent massive amounts of our time delving into all aspects of the RV life.  Wow.  If we had “Living the RV Life” before setting out, we would have saved a tremendous amount of time on doing so much of our own research and second guessing things. Being able to read other people’s stories would have validated where we were and given us increased confidence to make wise choices and decisions.”   

Win the Autographed copy or order now?    

Do you wait to win the autographed copy of Marc and Julie’s book or do you order it now by clicking the photo below? 

Let me help you decide.  If I were you, I’d click the Amazon link below to order (this is an affiliate link which means Amazon sends me a small commission if you make a purchase).

When you win the autographed copy, you can give your copy to a friend for their birthday.

Sound good? 

How to enter the giveaway

  • If you have signed up for my blog, you’re already registered.  You don’t have to do a thing. If not? Sign up on this page.
  • Btw, when you become a subscriber, I promise you that I’ll never share your information with anyone else.
  • Deadline to subscribe to my blog: Thursday, January 17rd at noon MST. 
  • A name will be selected by a random number generator on the 17th. I’ll contact the winner by email, and they’ll have 48 hours to reply with their mailing address. If I haven’t heard from them in that time, I’ll select another name randomly, and we’ll repeat the process.
  • I will announce the winner on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 by email, on my website, and FB page.  

My next blog post I’ll share our personal relationship challenges when we moved into our RV. 

Love from your Unlikely RVer,

Gretty