Book Nerd Interview
Dr. Annabelle R. Charbit grew up in London, UK, and has been writing since 2006, when her comedy play, Sound Advice, was performed by CP Theatre Production in London, UK.
In 2007, she was published in the London Paper and in the British Neuroscience Association's Summer Bulletin.
In 2010 she wrote for TheFrisky.com, an online magazine who commissioned her after noticing her blog, Crazy in a Crazy World.
Annabelle holds a PhD in Neuroscience from University College London and has been researching migraine headache at UCSF in San Francisco, about which she has published in scientific journals.
A Life Lived Ridiculously is Annabelle's first novel.
Tell me a bit about yourself, where were you born and where do you call home?
I’m from England UK, and have lived in America for the last five years. I am a research scientist and a writer, with a PhD in neuroscience from University College London. Currently I am publishing my novel, A Life Lived Ridiculously, and I also host a blog, Crazy in a Crazy World, that rages about the maddening and frustrating things in life that would drive even the sanest person crazy. Home right now is New York.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
A strong Jewish theme runs through the story, highlighted by the tight knit family, the neuroses and name calling, plus the pressure to find the right man. The reader gains insight into the London Jewish scene, as we watch Maxine trawl events in search of her mate, and ultimately herself. All of this was inspired by my own upbringing in London and my own family’s neuroses.
What got you interested/started in writing A Life Lived Ridiculously?
The story has been nagging me for years. I wanted to get inside the heads of people who suffer from various mental illnesses, and liked the idea of the character who feels too much verses the one who feels nothing at all. Personally I relate to the one who feels too much
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Write what you feel first, just let it all pour onto the page, and edit later. That way you are certain to say what you intend to say. If you spend too much time worrying about the style and other rules of writing, you'll remain forever stuck on page one.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Most readers have said that they enjoyed the writing and the humorous style in which it is written. Many have said that they can really feel Maxine's mental torment, which is great as it means that I have done my job as a writer.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about Sam?
There are a number of surprises about Sam, but if I tell you, I’d totally spoil the ending for everyone...
What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
There's a chapter where Sam lets Maxine down so badly that Maxine feels that the whole world is ending. I really wanted to convey just how successfully Sam was messing with her mind, and in order to do that had to invoke all sorts of imaginary experiences. What if my husband walked out the door one day and vanished without leaving so much as a note? How would I feel? With that in mind, I wrote that chapter.
Is there anything additional about A Life Lived Ridiculously you would like to share with your readers?
Yes. If you meet someone and their stories don’t stack up, they may be a sociopath. Four percent of the population falls under the description of sociopath and most of them are not in jail. They are running free, legally conning, manipulating, tormenting and destroying lives. It’s very likely that we all have one such person in our lives, be it a lover, relative, co-worker or friend... The best thing you can do for yourself is to cut your losses and run for your life. Sociopaths cannot be healed. They cannot feel and they will suck you dry if you give them the chance.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My favourite book of all time is, always has been, and unless something monumental happens, always will be the classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. I read this when I was thirteen and to this date nothing has come close to it.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Is evil Sam based on someone you know? Normally I just say no, but not being a sociopath myself, I had to at the very least spend time with one in order to write his voice. So yes, I did know a sociopath, and Sam’s voice is closely based on the mannerisms and speech of this person who almost, but not quite, preyed on me. I was never the victim of a sociopath, but if I had been, then this novel might not be fiction.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
When readers say that they connected with the characters then I know I’ve done my job. Some readers connect strongly with Maxine and her mental anguish. Others say they’ve had the misfortune of meeting someone like Sam, and that he sounds exactly like their ex-boyfriend, ex-friend, ex-co-worker etc.
Which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Jennifer Traig, author of Devil in the Details. I love her honesty and humor in her memoir about OCD. It would be fun to put both our heads together and write a hilarious spoof about some mad people.
What book are you reading now?
Social Q’s by Philip Galanes. My husband always reads the Social Q’s column of the New York Times to me every Sunday, it’s our Sunday ritual. Then he bought the book, and I stayed up all night reading it, and laughed so hard that my husband couldn’t get to sleep. He was not amused.
What is your favorite Quote?
Even when opportunity knocks, you must get off your seat to answer the door.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Early in the morning, when the brain is sharpest, and nothing bad has happened yet
What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
Horrible Bosses. So funny and well written. Loved it.
Where can readers stalk you?
The website, A Life Lived Ridiculously: http://www.ridiculouslife.net/
The blog, Crazy in a Crazy World: http://www.ridiculouslife.net/blog-crazy-in-a-crazy-world.html
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-life-lived-ridiculously-annabelle-r-charbit/1107333318?ean=9780984642861&itm=1&usri=a+life+lived+ridiculously
When a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder falls in love with a sociopath, she must fight for her sanity and her life. Maxine's brain is stuck. Everything around her feels wrong and the only way to fix it is to check, double-check, rearrange and count everything. What Maxine can't fix though is her parents' constant nagging over the absence of a husband. A humiliation that is further compounded when her younger brother runs off with Miss Perfect. Then she meets Sam, a smooth-talking charmer with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and enough terminal diseases to wipe out a small village. Maxine decides that Sam is her salvation, never mind that his life is more complex than a Greek tragedy, and others are urging her to get away from him. The problem is that Sam has Maxine under his spell. Will Maxine escape from Sam before it's too late?
A Life Lived Ridiculously by Dr. Annabelle R. Charbit is the perfect book for those who want something refreshing and apart form the mass-market genre. Disappointments are far from this because it's truly a treat for dedicated readers.
The story is about Maxine, a girl with OCD that falls for a sociopath, Sam. Dr. Charbit describes a very original story and brings together surprising insights and thoughts that could only be created inside Maxine's obsessive compulsive mind. Her dazzling choice of words to depict the uncommon relationship between Maxine and Sam were very detailed. The plot is fresh and sets itself up to being a standout.
Dr. Charbit magically draws you into the story no matter what page you start on. Her intellectual style of writing sucks you into Maxine's unique life and insists you to learn more about it. I highly recommend this book for reader who are looking for an unpredictable and clever read.
You can pre-order A Life Lived Ridiculously (official release: April 12, 2012) from these websites and retailers:
And now, The Giveaway!
Thank you, Annabelle, for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive one signed book.
***If you're an author and would like to do an interview and giveaway, you can e-mail me at email@example.com
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