Friday, January 20, 2012

Author Dr. Annabelle Charbit Shares The Inspiration Behind Her First Novel, A Life Lived Ridiculously

How does a busy mom juggle her writing and neuroscience careers AND the launch of her first novel? It makes my head spin just thinking about it, but Annabelle is proof that women writers can do it ALL! I interviewed Dr. Annabelle R. Charbit about her deliciously sinister yet humorous fiction novel, A Life Lived Ridiculously. When I read the first chapters of her book, I was doubled over with laughter. If you have ever dated a sociopath (or someone with sociopathic tendencies), you will definitely want to check out Annabelle's book.

A Life Lived Ridiculously is the story of one girl with obsessive compulsive disorder, and what happened when she was seduced by a sociopath...


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 Jewish 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 depressing 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... ?

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 Productions in London. In 2007, she was published in the London Paper and in the British Neuroscience Association’s Summer Bulletin. 

Annabelle holds a PhD in Neuroscience from University College London. She has been researching migraine headaches at UCSF in San Francisco in which she has been published in scientific journals. Her inspiration behind A Life Lived Ridiculously stemmed from her research as a neuroscientist.

Annabelle is a guest writer for, an online magazine that took notice of her humorous blog, Crazy in a Crazy World, which explores life’s big and little annoyances that could drive even the sanest person mad.

Interview with Dr. Annabelle R. Charbit 
1. What inspired you to write a contemporary fiction book that tackles two very serious subjects about OCD and sociopaths? 

A: I wanted to write a story from the point of view of people with distorted thinking. As a neuroscientist, I’ve always been fascinated by mental illness especially obsessive compulsive disorder. There are too many people suffering in silence. Sociopaths are fascinating too, because they are everywhere (4% of the population). Whether a spouse, partner, colleague or relative, most people (whether they know it or not) have a sociopath in their life. I had one in my life and found him fascinating. The way they look you right in the eye and lie. The fact that they are capable of anything, because they are not limited by the same moral boundaries as the rest of us. Even the way they talk -- they have this amazing ability to monologue incessantly while actually revealing nothing. I wanted specifically to capture this trait in my sociopath’s voice.

2. I know you’re a busy mom. How do you juggle marketing and promoting your book? Any helpful tips or tricks to pass along to fellow mom-writers/authors?

A: It's all about time management. Once you've passed the 'dark stage,' which is first three months of baby's life and you are able to sleep and have a schedule, then you can work on it for a guaranteed amount of time each day. In my case, my daughter takes a nap at 12 noon and by 8pm is asleep for the night. Those are times when I can work every single day. It's not always easy, because sometimes I need to be doing other things while she sleeps. But at least, I know I can do something book-related every day, no matter how small -- even if it's just a matter of responding to an email.

3. What's the ONE thing you wish you knew NOW that you didn't know before your started your writing and publishing journey?

A: You need to have low expectations. Sometimes agents will request full manuscripts and then you'll never hear from them again. When you enter a writing contest, don't expect to win. Rather see it like playing the lottery. You'll always hear news of other people winning, but don't take that as a sign for yourself. If a writing contest costs more than a few dollars, don't waste your money entering.

Finally, I don't recommend wasting your time querying agents. Find publishers who accept direct submissions and go to them first. Keep agents out of the equation. Some publishers have an electronic-only arm, which allows them to accept more first-time authors at little risk and cost to themselves. Then you get to market your novel and if it does well, they'll then publish in print. For example, Ampichellis Ebooks is the electronic arm of Martin Brown Publishers. I suspect this will happen with more and more publishers and eventually, we'll be able to do away with agents altogether.

4. What are the best marketing tips/advice you want to pass along to authors, especially for those who are lost and don't know where to start?

A: The best advice I could give is to be a guest blogger on other people's blogs -- that way you are reaching an already established audience. Most bloggers welcome guest bloggers as it enriches their site. So it's a win-win relationship.

5. Are you working on your second book? Can you give us a "hint" as to what it's about?

A: For my next novel, I'm researching personality disorders. I want my main character to be borderline or schitzotypal, but that's as much as I'll say for right now. 

6. Where can readers find more information about A Life Lived Ridiculously? When is your official release date?

A: The official book release date is April 12, 2012. It will be available in print and eBook on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million. If you would like to order an author-signed copy of my book, you can pre-order from my website There's also a book giveaway on SheKnows from February 20 to March 20.

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