I feel more than lucky to be a part of the blog tour for Sophie Sabbage’s book ‘Lifeshocks’.
To fulfil my part of the tour, I was lucky enough to interview Sophie about her latest book and shed light on her previous publication, ‘The Cancer Whisperer’.
An interview with Sophie Sabbage
Have you always wanted to write or was it the ‘life shocks’, mentioned both in this book and your last, ‘The Cancer Whisperer’, that encouraged you?
I have wanted to write since I was ten years old, maybe younger. Books were my childhood refuge. As I wrote in Lifeshocks, “I unravelled words like sweets in foil wrappers and built tree houses out of sentences I wanted to move into.” I think books kept me sane. But it took me many years to discover what is mine to write about. I’m not a natural story-teller. I write best about real life. In my twenties, I fell in love with the work I have been doing ever since – teaching people how to engage with lifeshocks (moments in time we don’t want or expect) in creative and transformational ways. I have been living my book all my adult life. It just took me until now to write it.
It was my terminal cancer diagnosis that kick started my life as an author. First, I was blogging. Then I wrote The Cancer Whisperer in six weeks, published it on Amazon and it went boom. Everything took off from there. Lifeshocks was a much harder book to write – excruciatingly personal, philosophically profound and the first time anyone had written a detailed account of a teaching that has been around for decades.
In the end, my second round of brain tumours got me started (the book begins with that story) and my third round of brain tumours took it across the finish line. For a few months, I had lost my balance and could barely walk a few yards without help. But I could sit in my bed and write. It was as if Life needed to take almost everything but that away from me to get it out of me. I could almost hear it screaming it at me, “Write the frickin book woman? What more do I need to throw at you to get this on the page and in the world?!”
Sometimes lifeshocks need to become that intense for us to get over ourselves and pay attention.
How does the aim of ‘Lifeshocks’ compare to that of The Cancer Whisperer? I know you mentioned before that it was ‘for the cancer patient’.
Lifeshocks is not for cancer patients, as my first book was, but they will benefit from it. While my journey with cancer continues to unfold in this book, it is for anyone who want to bring their creative best to the curve balls life sends them and who wants to be more themselves, not less, as a result of the challenges they face. It is also for anyone who may be wondering if life is trying to tell them something. Because it is.
What similarities and difference would you draw between these two books?
The underlying philosophy in The Cancer Whisperer is laid bare in Lifeshocks. The former is about how to pass through our terror and take charge of our treatment, our quality of life and even our quality of death when dealing with a brutal disease. Lifeshocks is about the same thing really, but in relation to self-image, leadership, sexual assault, bereavement, social inequality, relationships, addiction and more besides. It covers greater ground than my first book – how to dissolve fear, how to let grief heal you, how to find true love, how to find your true path, how to forgive the apparently unforgivable, how to experience grace. It contains proven, practical tools and includes other people’s stories as well as my own.
Do you have a favourite section of lifeshocks? Maybe one that makes you more empowered than others?
I think my favourite chapters are ‘Love’ and ‘Loss’. The love chapter had its way with me. I rewrote it three times, willing it to be something that it refused to be. It became a testament to my darling husband and a way of honouring a truly rare soul in the world. The loss chapter could be called ‘Love, Part 2’ because it is all about love’s sibling – grief. I challenged some entrenched myths about grief, including the famous ‘Grief Cycle’ and want to rewrite grief’s story, restore it to its rightful place in our hearts and in the world. There may be a whole book in me on that theme. Watch this space.
How has your experience changed your outlook on life itself, and how we perceive different experiences?
My books are all about how our experiences can change our outlooks on life, if we let them and if we know how to shift our perceptions. Writing this book deepened my faith in the power of lifeshocks and the gifts they can bring us. And yes, something in me changed with each chapter. Lifeshocks came that were relevant to that chapter and gave birth to it. Over and over, I needed to shift something internally to write the next piece. I needed to walk my words from the first page to the last.
Where can this magnificent piece of writing?
Whatever life shock you may or may not find yourself faces with, why not peek into the life of someone else; be aware; be prepared.
This book can be found on Amazon for £12.55, at the moment (RRP £17.99).
If you’d like to hear more from Sophie, follow her on social media.