Today we're talking with Dr. Annabelle R. Charbit, author of A Life Lived Ridiculously
FQ: Considering the subject matter that you are speaking about and how you present it, do you believe that the old adage "laughter is the best medicine" may be true?
Yes I do, 100%. I use laughter to get through the toughest situations. Unless Iím too busy bawling my eyes out. But then Iíll laugh about it later...
FQ: I know you are a doctor, can you tell readers what you specialize in? Also, I'm aware that you are currently in the States researching migraine headaches, can you expand on that at all?
I did my PhD in London, UK, specializing in head pain. I then moved with my entire laboratory to UCSF in San Francisco to continue our research. It has been an amazing journey trying to understand a condition like migraine that is so common yet can be hard to treat and robs many people of their quality of life.
FQ: As the mom of a daughter who has had to watch the heartbreak, I have turned into Xena the Warrior Princess many times and wanted desperately to just take the boys out. I know thatís wrong, but public hangings are gone now so you really have no choice. Do you have a daughter, or a friend, who you have seen go through this heartache? And how do you suggest solving such an issue?
If I ever suspected a friend was involved with a sociopath, I'd tell them straight away. It is important to note that there is a huge difference between a sociopath and a guy you think might be a bit of a jerk. As a mother, I can imagine you'd want to protect your daughter from both, but the reality is that the sociopath is a lot more harmful and always has a malicious hidden agenda. So if you have to fight your daughter, go after the sociopaths and let her figure the jerks out for herself.
FQ: I have to know if this is slightly autobiographical. Are the characters of the grandmothers real? Aunt Muriel? etc.?
A Life Lived Ridiculously is somewhat inspired by personal experiences, in adherence with the technique of 'write what you know.' For instance, some of the characters, such as the grandmothers and Maxine's best friend Tina are based on real people. Most of the characters though come from a collection of people. Maxine's mum and dad, for example are constructed out of the voices of many frustrating people, all knitted together to form the two most annoying parents imaginable.
FQ: OCD is a very real issue. Can you discuss what your feelings are on this matter? Is this something youíve studied in your work or research?
Iím interested in OCD because it seems like such a willful condition yet the sufferer is completely at the mercy of the intrusive thoughts and cannot help performing the compulsions. Imagine having a song in your head (we've all experienced that), but it will not go away, ever. Not only that but the song is accompanied by the most terrifying sinking feeling of fear and dread that you've ever experienced. Then another thought pops into your head that if you just clean your house, check the oven or put everything in a certain order, the song and accompanying fear will vanish.
People with OCD are neither weak nor stubborn. Their minds are literally hijacked by thoughts that they have no desire to entertain. Sufferers of OCD are as busy and determined to get on with their days as the rest of us, but they are constantly interrupted by barrages of thoughts that they cannot control and do not invite.
FQ: Your play, Sound Advice, was performed in London. Is that plot along the same lines as this book?
Sound Advice was pure comedy, and very light too. It was a about a bunch of students and all sorts of silly antics that they get into. Kind of like Friends but with British humor. I used my own crazy student days as inspiration for that one. A Life Lived Ridiculously on the other hand uses humor to deal with the serious, real life issues of dating a sociopath and suffering from mental illness.
FQ: Do you have plans to continue writing novels, plays, etc. in the future?
I do have another novel up my sleeve. I wonít say too much, but I am currently doing some reading on personality disorders, as I'd like my main character to be afflicted with one of those, though I haven't decided with personality disorder to write about yet. They are all so very interestingÖ