Sabine Chennault

  1. A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that? I do not believe that at all, I love being social, I love people. I often will sit in a coffee shop, mall, or even while working out at the gym, I watch people. There is always inspiration for new characters.
  2. What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special? It seems kids, of any age, don’t really read anymore. Computers, smartphones, and tablet have taken over. I’m always happy when a new author pops up who can get a kids nose in a book. Whether it is an e-book or an actual book makes no difference as long as they are reading.
  3. How important is research to you when writing a book? It depends, for “Sam and the Pixie – Finding Faith” I did very little research and let my fantasy take over. The current book I am working one does require a lot of research. 
  4. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer? When I was in high school in Germany. When we had an assignment to write an ending to a story I would always write way more than I needed to. When I became a mother I’d write or invent little stories for my kids. It wasn’t until I found myself single that I finally decided to give my dream a real chance. 
  5. Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last? I’ve hit writers block a couple of times with my current book. Research wasn’t going the way I wanted it and reading over the chapters I had finished something didn’t seem right. I took off a couple of weeks, refocused, and went back at it. It might sound crazy but when my characters do things that are out of character I tend to get writers block. 
  6. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Every chance I get, I love Dan Brown and Stephen King, there are many others I like but those two are my favorite and the ones I get the most inspiration from.
  7. Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year? I have one that I started about seven years ago, worked at diligently, and then totally put on the back burner to do then one I’ve been working on. Maybe someday I’ll finish it.
  8. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion? It has to inspire the reader. It has to be able to give the reader something they can relate to. When I start a new book I spend time developing the characters. I have notebooks with all of my characters, their personality traits, what they look and act like, their likes and dislikes etc. Those details most likely will never end up in the book but it helps me turn a flat character into a person. 
  9. What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title? It’s the first thing to lure in the reader. I find a cover, especially of an author I know little to nothing about, very important. I could not tell you what the cover of Dan Brown’s last book is but his reputation makes the cover somewhat irrelevant. Someone unknown has to still appeal to the reader with the cover.
  10. Do you read and reply to the reviews and comments of your readers? I try to. I think it is important to acknowledge my readers and let them know that I appreciate their feedback. 
  11. Does a bad review affect your writing? Not to sound arrogant but I’ve never had any so I don’t really know. I do think if it were to happen it would not affect my writing. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect that. 
  12. Any advice you would like to give to your younger self? Follow your heart and not what other’s tell you to do. Your parents mean well and want the best for you but they don’t really know what might be best for you in the long run. You need to do what makes you happy and the people who love you will eventually understand that.
  13. Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read? Yes, Pippi Longstocking, I literally read those books till they fell apart. I honestly think that is were my inspiration for writing came from. I grew up in the 60’s/70’s and back then there will still a lot of limitations set on girls. Pippi defied those limits and that was what I wanted to do.
  14. How much of yourself do you put into your books? All of me, how can I elaborate on that? The characters are people I know if that makes sense, there may even be some I don’t really care for. I mean if they were real and I knew them I’d not associate with them much. I want my characters to be as real as they can be and that requires me to put 100% of myself into each book.
  15. Are there any books that you are currently reading and why? I am currently reading Jack Canefields “Success Principles”. I love his work and he makes a lot of sense. With everything on my plate I need to be able to focus and his work helps me do that. 
  16. Are there any books that you are currently reading and why? My husband and my kids. They are the biggest inspiration and put up with me spending hours behind my computer. They love what I write and when it doesn’t happen for a few days they remind me to get busy. I love that.
  17. Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels? The book I am currently working on has real places and events and it is based on how my husband and I met. We have a crazy story. Everyone who has heard says it sounds like something right out of a movie. It’s not, I promise.
  18. Poets and writers in general, have a reputation of committing suicide; in your opinion, why is that the case? Writing can be a lonely job, it’s not like your sitting in an office with other people. I lost my brother to suicide and know the horrible affects of that on a family. I do my best not to fall into any dark holes. I think Ernest Hemminway’s death was a horrible loss but he seems to have been conflicted by other things as well. I do what I can to stay around people and stay busy enough to not get lonely. 
  19. Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it? I’m actually a full time student. Working on my Masters in Professional Counseling, I really like helping people, especially Veterans. I want to help through being a counselor and through my books. I hope the one I am currently working on will really have an impact. I was a Pastry Chef for 12 years and still bake here and there. I mostly do birthday cakes for the kids of enlisted Navy folks and those retiring from the military. 
  20. How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion? Maybe a little of both, it started as a hobby and became a passion. Writing gives me a way to escape from day to day life. The school work can get overwhelming at times and it’s nice to be able to escape to a different world for a while. I do my best to stay ahead with my school work so I can dedicate as much time as possible to writing. 
  21. Is it true that anyone can be a writer? I don’t think so, I believe to be a good writer you have to be able to share parts of yourself, you have to be able to connect to people, and most of all you have to have thick skin. 
  22. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers? I’ve been rejected a few times since I do not yet have an agent. Query letters are not my strength at. I think it get’s harder and harder to get in with a good publishing house. That’s what I meant about having thick skin.
  23. They say books die every time they are turned into a movie; what do you think? I don’t agree with that. I think books give us the ability to imagine faces. I mean when I read a Dan Brown book, before they were made into movies, I had an image of Robert Langdon. That image has been replace with Tom Hanks. Sure there have been movies that sort of killed the book but they are only adaptations of the book. The screenwriters took the liberty to make changes. People tend to forget that.
  24. What do you do in your free time? I garden, we have a huge vegetable garden and I’m already looking forward to getting everything planted in spring. I also knit, it’s very calming. I just started taking golf lessons so I can play with my husband this summer, he’s an avid golfer. 
  25. Given the chance to live your life again, what would you change about yourself? Not a think, I know that might sound crazy, seems everyone wants to change something in their past. I wouldn’t want to change even the smallest thing because if I did I would not be where I am now. 
  26. How did it feel when your first book got published? Amazing, I was so proud. Honestly though the responses and reviews were even more amazing. The best part about “Sam and the Pixie – Finding Faith” was that I got invited to a school in Sacramento to talk to inner city kids who identified with the characters. That blew my mind and that was honestly the biggest complement I could have ever gotten. 
  27. Do you keep a diary? Yes, I’ve been keeping a diary since I was 17. It really is hilarious to look back at my 20’s and 30’s sometimes. I mostly keep the diaries for my kids so when I’m gone someday they can read them and learn who their mother was deep inside. 
  28. Do you think you still have a story to tell to the readers? I have so many stories in my head. Considering I started this “file” in my head 40 years ago there is a lot stored in there. 
  29. How are your relations with your family? Do you like to stay in touch? I have an amazing family. We all get along great and have a lot of fun together even though we are pretty spaced out. My two oldest kids live in Arizona and that is where my grandkids are as well. I do my best to go down there at least once a year. We do talk a lot on the phone and via Facetime. My parents live in Germany, where I was born and raised and I can Facetime with them as well. Having a strong family is really a great asset. 
  30. What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any? I’ve never done it but I would love to co-author a book with my oldest daughter. She is a recovering drug addict and she is about to celebrate her 4th year being clean and sober. I know her story could touch a lot of people. We’ve all heard, and maybe read, about the deaths of celebrities and we’ve seen stuff about celebrity addicts on the TV. The difference between them and someone like my daughter they have means to get help if they want it. They can go to exclusive recovery places. I am by no means downplaying their issues, if anything it proves that fame and riches do not protect you from things like addiction. When my daughter had finally hit rock bottom she had a 10-15% chance to stay clean. She just graduated, with honors, from Carrington College as a Dental Surgery Assistant, is celebrating her 2nd anniversary with an amazing man, and has really made a great life for herself through strong faith and hard work. I really think that her story could be a great inspiration for someone who is trying to find help but seems too lost.   
  31. Have you ever written a character based on the real you in some part? Yes, the main female character in the book I am currently working on is based on me. There are fears and hopes included that most people don’t know about me. 
  32. Can you tell us about your current projects? The one that is on the back burner is titled “Alisea”, it’s a fantasy, time travel, Elfs, Gnomes, and all kinds of fantasy creatures. I am also working on sort of a comedy about buying a house for the first time when all you’ve done is rented. I’m calling it “…And Then We Bought A House.” It really is hilarious that I name all of the animals that wonder onto our property. We have a great old Owl, his name is Carl, and some deer, Lilly and Buddy, there are two stellar Jays who we’ve named Stella and Jay, and of course the bats, they are all called Batty. The book I am currently working on, I think it’s really the book closest to my heart, is “The Corpsman’s Wife”. It tells the story of a young sailor fresh out of bootcamp who meets the love of his life the day of graduation. We follow the two of them over the next twenty years and see how events like the Korean Airliner crash on Guam, 9/11 and the following war change him. While he changes his wife has to hold their family together and do what she can to help him. Her biggest concern being that, after he retires, that she will loose him due to his PTSD. There is a suicide attempt and…..well I really don’t want to give too much away. I interviewed a lot of combat corpsmen and their significant others for this project. So the main characters Lance and Susi are based on my husband and me but compiled of all the people I interviewed. The places and events are real the rest if fiction.
  33. It is often said that in order to write something, you must believe in what you are writing. Do you agree with that? Absolutely, I don’t see how you could be passionate about something if you don’t believe it heart and soul. 
  34. If you were given the opportunity to form a book club with your favorite authors of all time, which legends or contemporary writers would you want to become a part of the club? Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, George Orwell, Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis, Stephen King, Dan Brown, Bram Stoker, and Homer. Interesting mix isn’t it?
  35. How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them? I have 3 children, they are all fantastic adults. Other than co-authoring a book with my oldest I really don’t see the writing thing being a great interest to any of them. My youngest is really the most creative and artistic out of the three and she’s more into computer animation than writing. 
  36. Have you ever written a character with an actor in mind? Not really, I honestly couldn’t even think who I’d want if “The Corpsman’s Wife” every got made into a movie. I’d have to research actors and see who reflects my husband and me the most. 
  37. How possessive are you about your work? I wouldn’t say that I’m possessive but I do believe strongly in plagiarism laws. I think that comes from all these years in school and with every new class we have to acknowledge the plagiarism rules. It just plain and simple, respect other’s work the way you’d want them to respect yours. 
  38. Is privacy an issue for you? I guess to a point. If I were ever to become a famous author I sure would not want the whole world to know every detail about me. If there are things that can emotionally benefit others then by all means but not just for entertainment. 
  39. How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading? I think it they have kept people reading. I own a Kindle and love it. When I go on vacation I don’t want to bring all kinds of heavy books with me so the Kindle is convenient. I got my 3 year old Kindle a baby Kindle for her first birthday and it has helped her develop an interest in books. She has more books as a toddle than my older two grandkids had when they were her age. 
  40. Do you have a library at home? Sort of, as I mentioned I was a Pastry Chef for many years. I also went to culinary school. I have about a hundred or so books on my Kindle and the library at home consists mostly of cookbooks, 394 to be exact. I think there might be around 150 or so fantasy, fiction, etc. books also on the shelves. I may be weird but I think a home without books is empty. If I go to someones house I always look what books they have on the shelves, sometimes that can say a lot about a person. 
  41. How many siblings do you have? How many of them share your passion? I had one brother, he was 10 months younger than me. He was actually born two months pre-mature and struggle for his life for a bit. Sadly he gave up on that same life when he was 22 and committed suicide. He did have somewhat of a passion for writing poetry. 
  42. How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write? I’m on facebook, I have my page, a page for my cakes, and an author page. Honestly though it’s gotten way too political. It used to be a fun place to connect with friends and now it seems to be mostly rants about politics, religion  and extreme stuff. Am I too old fashioned if I say social media has robed us of social skills?
  43. If you had to pick one other author to write your biography, who would it be? I don’t think it could be just one. I think the first 16 years would need to be written by J.K. Rowling, from 17 to 46 I’d want Stephen King, yes there is a reason for that, and from 47 to now I’d want Toni Morrison. I know odd combination but for very specific reasons. I think each of them would best fit those periods in my life.
  44. And who is that one author you would love to write the biography of? That’s tough and honestly I’d have to say no one. I really don’t think I could do anyone justice. Well maybe J.K. Rowling, there have been times in my life that I can really relate to her. 
  45. Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors? I love to travel and during spring and summer I like to spend as much time outside as possible. We live in the country and have a wonderful yard. There is a pergola overgrown by a Wisteria and it blooms from Spring into late summer with these magnificent lavender blue flowers. I like to sit out there and drink tea, that’s also my favorite spot to write and do homework. I do love Winter too though, especially if there is snow. There is something about the world covered in white, cold and still, renewing itself. 
  46. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers? “Sam and the Pixie – Finding Faith” got rejected by Penguin, Scholastic, and Random house because I do not have an agent. I ended up with a boutique publisher and not knowing anything about contracts I really lost with that. I than had a fairly new publisher and they never send me a proof copy of the book and put it on Amazon full of mistakes. I had to call Amazon and have them pull it. It was a nightmare. I ended up self-publishing through Create a Space. I do hope to find an agent for “The Corpsman’s Wife.”  
  47. Which of your books took you the most time to write? So far “The Corpsman’s Wife” has taken the most time since I put a significant amount into researching the events and interviewing people. I think this book will always be the one that means the most to me. 
  48. Is writing book series more challenging? “Sam and the Pixie – Finding Faith” is actually the first book “A Leap of Faith” with 10 or so additional chapters. Not long after the first one was published I was asked to make it into a series but I really didn’t want to be stuck there for too long since I had idea’s for other books. So I decided to combine the first with a bunch of new chapters. I wonder if a series might put too much of a label on the author. That’s just a guess though. 
  49. Did the thought to give up writing ever occur to you? The thought crossed my mind after I found out how much that vanity publisher made on my first book. I was seriously mad. Again when I ordered my own book from Amazon and found all those mistakes and had to ask them to pull it. I thought “This is my work and I’m proud of it, if that is how new authors get treated than I don’t want a part of it.” Not long after I had it pulled from Amazon someone suggested Create a Space and I went that route. 
  50. If you die today, how would want the world to remember you?  I would want to be remembered as a caring, loving, and giving person. I would want people to know that I had a great life and that I have no regrets. Everything that has happened in my life I created or allowed to happen, no matter how good or bad it was. I would want my husband to know that I have admired him more than any famous author or celebrity of any kind. I appreciate his support and love and how hard he worked so I could follow my dreams. I would want my children to know that they, as well as their children, are the jewels in my life. Seeing the adults and parents they have become makes me proud to be who I am. My friends should know that, though there are only few, they have meant a lot to me. Their friendship and company I would not have traded for the world. To those whom I’ve only briefly met, readers, and fans. You are what makes our world go round. Know that each page you turn in one of our books is a handshake for us. Each page you turn, whether you end up liking the book or not, tells us, as authors, to keep going. You are what feeds our craft.