Shelly Rachanow – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

What Would You Do If You Ran the World?: Everyday Ideas from Women Who Want to Make the World a Better Place is a guidebook for inspiration and action filled with amazing everyday ideas from women who want to make the world a better place. It’s a culmination of brave, beautiful, brilliant and totally do-able things we can do for ourselves, our loved ones, our community, and the world. The book contains a mix of real-life people making a difference, top ten lists of things people can do now, and stories of famous women who paved the way to bettering our world.

What inspired you to write this book?

What would you do if you ran the world is actually a question I posed in my first book, If Women Ran the World, Sh*t Would Get Done, which celebrates all the wonderful things women do. After my first book came out, so many people shared with me ideas for making the world a better place, and I got more and more inspired as time went on. I thought, “I want to compile these ideas so other people around the world will be inspired into action like all the women in the book have been.”

When I started working on the book, I found a great quote by Helen Keller that also really inspired me. She said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” I decided I wanted my book to encourage people around the world to do one thing to make things better. If each of us did just one thing, we could make a major difference in the world. I would love for the book to have that kind of global impact.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

It’s so easy to get discouraged when we turn on the news and hear about things like war, murder, and terrorism. It’s so easy to think, “What can I really do?” The women I met while working on this book didn’t let that question discourage them. Instead, it has inspired them to go out, take action, and make a real difference in their part of the world.

We have the power everyday to focus on problems or participate in solutions. The latter is the only way things will get better, so why not put our energy there!

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be an author (I’ve had a book in my hand ever since I could hold one). But I sort of took this detour on People Pleasing Lane and ended up an attorney, and I was really miserable in that profession. In 2003, a friend in his late twenties died instantly of a heart attack. I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing what I didn’t want to do. That gave me the courage to take a chance and say yes to my dream of being an author. The idea for my first book came to me soon afterward. I started writing and have never looked back!

Tell us something else about yourself.

I come from a long line of butt-kicking women. My grandmother raised four kids on her own and worked outside the home at a time when women weren’t supposed to do either. My mom routinely fought for better sidewalks, programs, and laws for the disabled while still managing to have time for her children (not to mention dinner on the table) every night.

My younger brother is disabled, and my mom is a huge reason why he’s still with us thirty-two years later. When he was first born, the doctors told my mom she should “let him die.” My mom said, “This is my child. He’s living and breathing now and I’m going to do what I can to give him the best life possible.”

When I decided to pursue my dream of being an author, writing about amazing women seemed like the perfect topic for me. As I was thinking about what my first book should be about, it occurred to me that while my mom is extraordinary, she is not unique. Like so many women, she gets amazing things done. I decided I wanted to write books that honor and celebrate her and the millions of women like her who do so much for so many each and everyday.

How do you do research for your books?

When I’m researching famous women for my books, Google is definitely my friend! I do most of my research online. When I’m looking for real-life women to profile, I start by emailing my friends and contacts. Most of us know at least one woman who is kicking some major butt in the world! I’ve been lucky to have a huge selection of women to profile, and I think that definitely speaks to how amazing we women are.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

If you’ve been talking about writing a book, stop talking and start writing it. And don’t be afraid to network like crazy. Have a one or two sentence pitch line about your book and tell everyone you know. You never know who may have the perfect contact for you. That’s how I met my publisher.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Readers can learn more about If Women Ran the World Sh*t Would Get Done at They can also follow me on Twitter @shellyrachanow.

What’s one final thought you want to leave us with?

Anne Frank once said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world?” Whatever idea you have to make the world a better place – start today!