Thursday, March 23, 2023

Q&A with Michael Schnabel




Michael Schnabel is the author of the new memoir Daddy's Girl: A Father, His Daughter, and the Deadly Battle She Won. He lives in Overland Park, Kansas.


Q: Why did you decide to write Daddy’s Girl, and how was the book’s title chosen?


A: My 27-year-old daughter Stephanie gives birth to her only child. Two weeks later, we discover she has Stage 4 colon cancer that will most likely kill her. Her greatest fear is that her newborn will grow up without his mother and only know her through pictures.


So, I began writing a daily journal for my grandson to capture my daughter’s strength, courage, and love for him in case she didn’t survive. It’s how this young woman became a warrior, stared death in the face, and survived. I wrote Daddy’s Girl to share her story and provide hope for others.


Stephanie has always been a “daddy’s girl,” so the book title was perfect for us.


Q: You write about so many difficult and heartbreaking experiences in the book--what impact did it have on you to write it?


A: It was very challenging but also rewarding. Stephanie and I organized the first draft for her son Caden after she had survived. It was a bonding experience as we dealt with emotions and relived her crisis. We shed tears most days.

However, as I wrote Daddy’s Girl, it became clear how many blessings we received and how strong our love and faith were during her struggle. Now we hug each other a little tighter and try to remember that each day together is a gift.


Q: What do your family members think of the book, and how are you all doing today?


A: My family is proud of me for capturing her story in a way that balances our heavy emotions with light amusing tales of our past. My grandson Caden enjoys the stories about him as a baby and the life lessons I wrote for him. He is proud of his mother, and they are incredibly close.


Stephanie is healthy and substitute teaching. Caden plays soccer at a national level and is mature for his age. He is passionate about life and always has a smile on his face. Steph’s husband, Mark, works as an architect, and he and Steph actively support Caden’s soccer. My wife, Colleen, and I are retired and enjoy spending time with family and friends.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from Stephanie’s story?


A: Stephanie’s story is not about disease. It is about survival and how three generations of our family respond to her crisis and form a devoted team to overcome it. Readers will relate to the characters but not the situation we had to survive.


Her story shares how standing with loved ones strengthens them. We learned how our love for each other and faith in something greater than ourselves cemented the team. We found that God provided us with the best outcome when things became the darkest. Her oncologist said her survival was a miracle.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am writing a story about a young salesman. Something I never intended to be but found out was the perfect foundation for my 34-year career in pharmaceuticals.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: From finding the right medical professionals to discovering the importance of faith and taking one day at a time, Daddy’s Girl leaves a path of hope, inspiration, and best practices. Our family desperately searched for a book to provide hope and guidance during Steph’s crisis. Her story may help others who are searching. It may also help you believe in miracles.


Daddy’s Girl will be released in March 2023 by Armin Lear Press. For further information visit


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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