Q&A: Claudia Laroye, Author of ‘A Gelato a Day’

Q&A: Claudia Laroye, Author of ‘A Gelato a Day’

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One gelato a day is enough to keep any family going.

At least, that was Claudia Laroye’s policy growing up, and it’s now the title of her new book, a collection of stories all about family travel from writers all over.

This collection of 20 true tales of the good, the bad and the not-so-ugly of family travel highlights the importance of the family travel experience, in its many unique, beautiful and poignant iterations.

To read these stories is to travel along on family road and hiking trips, venture deep into the Amazon jungle, high into the mountains of Bhutan, wander the maze of Casablanca’s streets and meet civil rights heroes in the American South—connecting with parents and kids in places both far-flung and familiar. The stories will transport you across borders, the time space continuum, and reinforce that the connections we make with our loved ones while on the road, air or at sea are critical and priceless.

The Family Travel Association spoke with Laroye about what the book has to offer and how it came together.

What inspired you to put this book together?

I’ve wanted to write a book for many years. The idea for this travel anthology took firm hold in 2019, when I attended a book proposal seminar in Vancouver. I researched and wrote my book proposal, which was accepted quickly by my Canadian-based publisher, Guernica Editions. I signed my contract in January 2020.

How did the collection actually come together?

Putting this collection together was actually a great process. I emailed submission requests to fellow writers and placed notices in many different writers’ groups. My submission requests coincided with the dawn of the pandemic in spring 2020. Everyone quickly realized that nobody was going anywhere—we were all grounded, and for many of us, work dried up as well. The timing of the story submission requests was serendipitous; colleagues had more time on their hands than they would have otherwise had to write and submit stories for the anthology.

You obviously can’t pick a favorite, but do you have a particular story in the book that connects with you?

I do love all of the stories in A Gelato a Day. Ones of my favorites is Jessica Wynne Lockhart’s story about taking a road trip with her mother in northern Alberta, and learning more about her as the miles tick by. I also loved Maia Selkirk’s story about growing up sailing around the world. Bruce Kirkby’s piece, which I chose as the first story in the book, is about why traveling with children and as a family is so important. I think his piece really sets the tone for the entire collection.

Why are you passionate about family travel?

I have been traveling with my family since I was a baby, now over 50+ years. For me, family travel has helped to establish and maintain family connections, created lasting memories, and given me a sense of self and a greater appreciation for the world I live in. Family travel is important for all of those reasons, but most of all, it grants us the ability to focus on spending time and having adventures with the people we love best in the world. This is a priceless gift.

Do you have a favorite place (or two) that you’ve gone to with your family?

I have family travel memories stretching back 50 years of visiting my grandparents in a small town in the Swiss Alps. I’ve been there dozens of times, and introduced my husband and children to that place many times as well. They love it almost as much as I do! The islands of Hawaii are also very close to my heart, having been there as a child and then on my honeymoon, wedding anniversaries and for many family trips.

What else do you want people to know about A Gelato A Day?

A Gelato a Day is a collection of 20 true travel tales that highlights the good, the bad and the not-really-that-ugly of the family travel experience.

The title refers to the method we used to employ to on our family travels. We used the promise of a ‘gelato a day’ as a motivator, something to look forward to at the end or middle of a long travel day.

These stories go beyond holidays-gone-wrong and toddlers-gone-wild to dive thoughtfully into the deeper parental and family connections that can occur when we take ourselves (or are taken out of) our daily routines and comfort zones. Through travel, secrets are revealed, true natures uncovered, and worlds shaken, but for the better.

This book is for everyone, whether you have travelled with kids or have traveled as one yourself on memorable, or infamous, family journeys. You will recognize yourself or someone you know, knew, love or loved. I hope that everyone enjoys reading A Gelato a Day.

 

A Gelato a Day can be purchased at your independent bookstore or on Amazon, Walmart, Target or Barnes and Noble.

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