PARIS – Brianna Chabe, a sophomore at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, has been fighting Type 1 diabetes since she was 12 years old, and in January, she learned from her doctor that she was suffering from gastroparesis, a condition that affects the nerve endings in her stomach.
Gastroparesis is a complication of diabetes, Chabe said, with side effects including difficulty digesting food and hair loss.
While dealing with gastroparesis flareups and the complications that come with Type 1 diabetes, Chabe said that she has found something that serves as a “good coping skill”: writing.
Chabe said that she has been writing, in one form or the other, since third grade.
“I came up with ideas in my head, but until now, I never actually got around to writing any of them down,” Chabe said.
It took a move to her grandparents’ house two summers ago to get her to start writing.
“There was no Wi-Fi in the house, and I was bored, so I decided to start building off of one of my old ideas,” she said.
Chabe said that she soon discovered a website called WattPad, an online community where users can upload their own stories in a variety of genres and age groups and get feedback on it.
She said that through WattPad, she was able to write a chapter of her stories at a time and upload them when she was finished.
Her story, “Taken,” is a 150 page horror and mystery book with thriller elements about a girl who is kidnapped by a man who thinks she has a resemblance to his daughter that passed away.
Using the television show “American Horror Story” as influence, Chabe said that she took the next two years and wrote the book, uploading it chapter by chapter to WattPad.
“I really like cliffhangers and to make people wonder, ‘Oh my god, what’s going to happen next?” Chabe said.
After her book was finished, Chabe said that she was directed by a writer on WattPad to a program called Kindle Direct, which allows people to upload their stories to Amazon so people can buy a hard copy of the book, or a digital version for their Kindle.
Lori Chabe, Brianna’s mother, said that her daughter uploaded “Taken” to Kindle Direct on a Sunday, and by Wednesday, “people were holding it in their hands.”
Shortly after finishing “Taken,” Chabe wrote a sequel called “Just Like Glass,” which she subsequently uploaded to Amazon.
At any given time on WattPad, Chabe said that her book is one of the three most popular books on the website in its age group and genre.
Chabe said that from 2 to 4 p.m. on June 23 at the Tribune bookstore on Main Street, she will be holding her first book signing, where people can buy a hard copy of “Taken,” along with a copy of her second book.
She said that at some point in the future, she’ll hold another book signing for the second book in her series.
Chabe said that it’s still surreal for her to look online and see that people are spending money on her books.
“This all started because I was bored,” Chabe said. “It’s been a passion of mine for awhile, so to see that people are buying my books doesn’t feel real so far.”