Related to: '100 Ways to Be As Happy As Your Dog'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

100 Ways to Be More Like Your Cat

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

From the bestselling author of One Hundred Ways For a Cat To Train Its Human comes a new guide on how to improve your own life by learning from your cat.Content, living in the moment, finding pleasure in small things - your cat knows exactly how to get the best out of life. So let your cat be your guru as Celia Haddon shows in 100 ways how adopting their outlook can lead to our own happiness. Stretch out, relax, find a warm spot - and enjoy purrfection.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Joy of Cats

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

Anyone who lives with a cat will know of that strange and mysterious bond that grows between human and animal and which can bring such joy and fulfilment. Cats make houses into homes, heal stress and provide fun and entertainment. In this exquisitely produced anthology, drawn from the writing of cat lovers through the ages, Celia Haddon offers a testimony and a tribute to that unique and rewarding relationship between humans and their feline companions in which cats, in their utmost complexity, remain among us, but not of us. Above all, she reminds us of the truth of why cats matter.

Hodder & Stoughton

The First Ever English Olimpick Games

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

Quirky and funny, while also being a serious account, this entertaining little paperback takes a historical event, THE FIRST EVER OLIMPICK GAMES, and looks at what it reveals about life in England in the seventeenth century: the history, monarchy, religion and politics. In a delightful manner, Celia Haddon tells the story of an incongruous mix: a Cotswold field and the Olympic Games and so brings history to life in a direct, readable and enjoyable way.The founder of the games, Robert Dover, was a lawyer and 'the Great Inventor and Champion of English Olimpicks'. He had the support of James l who had himself written about suitable, manly sport, partly in answer to the Puritans who thought all games led to sin and sex. From the start Dover's games were a political, as well as a sporting, statement.The Civil War put an end to the games. They were revived by Charles ll and continued into the 19th century when a Victorian Puritan vicar put an end to them on the grounds of licentious behaviour. Today they are still held - but as a shadow of their former glory.

Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Secret Thoughts Cats have about Humans

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon
Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Find Its Inner Kitten

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon
Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train Its Human

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon
Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Ways to Say I Love You

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

Celia Haddon

Celia Haddon is a bestselling anthologist whose books have sold well over 1,000,000 copies worldwide. She was the Daily Telegraph's pet agony aunt and is a reputed lover and worshipper of cats, having lived with them and loved them since she was a child. She has compiled a number of anthologies in their honour. She is also compiler of the best-selling One Hundred Ways series and a qualified cat behaviourist.

Cesar Millan

Founder of the Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles, CESAR MILLAN is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Cesar's Way, Be the Pack Leader, Member of the Family. How to Raise the Perfect Dog and Cesar's Rules. He is the star of The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, the Nat Geo Wild Channel's top-rated show. In addition to his educational seminars and work with unstable dogs, Cesar co-founded the Cesar and Ilusion Millan Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping shelters and rescue groups. 'Cesar you're a marvel, an absolute marvel' - Paul O'Grady, The Paul O'Grady Show.'[Cesar] arrives amid canine chaos and leaves behind peace.' - Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker.

Charlotte Rea

Charlotte Rea is a veterinary surgeon currently working in a large London animal charity hospital. She graduated from vet school in 2008 and has since gone on to complete a post-graduate certificate in small animal medicine.She has spent several stints abroad working with various animal charities including in Nairobi for Kenya Wildlife Services and Worldwide Veterinary Service projects in Lisbon and on the Greek island of Samos. She is passionate about animal health and welfare and has spent nearly a decade of her life dedicated to the animals of London, including pampered dogs and cats, homeless and stray pets and city farm animals. Charlotte lives in north London with her husband, young daughter and eccentric, fluffy cat.

Ed Smith

Ed Smith is a regular contributor to Borough Market's online magazine and Market Life, its print magazine. He also writes 'Five of the Best' features for The FT Weekend Magazine, and for The Guardian, The Telegraph and various other publications. At the 2015 Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Awards he was named 'Best Online Restaurant Writer' and he was shortlisted for 'Best Cookery Writer'. In 2016 his blog Rocket & Squash was shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers' Best Blog Award. His first cookbook On the Side was published in spring 2017 to great acclaim.

Georgina Rodgers

Georgina Rodgers is a journalist, editor and writer with over 15 years' experience working on magazines, newspapers, online and in busy television newsrooms. She has authored nine non-fiction titles and five Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, both under her own name and as a co-writer.She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, pre-schooler and new baby. She is starting to practise what she preaches and alongside propping the baby on her lap while madly typing with one finger and a zillion other work and home tasks, she tries to take the odd two minutes out - her three-year-old's Frozen colouring pens have come in particularly useful of late.

Gervase Phinn

Dr Gervase Phinn is a teacher, freelance lecturer, author, poet, educational consultant and visiting professor of education. For fourteen years he taught in a range of schools, then acted as General Adviser for Language Development in Rotherham before moving on to North Yorkshire, where he spent ten years as a school inspector - time that has provided much source material for his books. He has four grown up children and four grandchildren and lives near Doncaster. Visit Gervase's website, www.gervase-phinn.com.

Gino D'Acampo

Gino was born in Napoli in the south of Italy into a large family. The food they ate was very traditional - simple recipes based on fresh and healthy fruit, vegetables, fish and meat.'My grandfather said that a good recipe doesn't need many ingredients because if the ingredients are good quality and full of flavour, why do you have to cover up or change their taste'. This is a philosophy Gino has stuck to since he first started in the kitchen. After training at the Luigi de Medici Catering College, Gino came to London at 19 and worked at The Orchard Restaurant in Hampstead and then at the Cambio restaurant in Surrey.Working with Tesco on their Finest range led to his first TV appearance on Great Food Live on UKTV Food and a TV chef was born! With a cheeky smile and exceptional talent, he was well on the way to becoming one of the UKs most popular chefs.Gino is the author of several best-selling books including Fantastico!, Gino's Pasta, Italian Home Baking and Gino's Italian Escape.He is married to Jessica and they have three children, Luciano, Rocco and Mia.

Hannah Coates

Hannah Coates has always loved dogs - she grew up surrounded by pooches, and now has two of her own. She loves all dogs, but beagles remain her favourite.

James Bowen

James Bowen is the author of the bestselling A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob. He found Bob the cat in 2007 and the pair have been inseparable ever since. They both live in London.

Jenny Meldrum

Jenny Meldrum lives in Sussex with her husband, three children and Isla, her greedy black Labrador. She paints from her studio (posh word for shed) in her garden, eternally distracted by wild rabbits, moorhens, deerand a particularly pesky heron. Despite her love of art since childhood, Jenny had no formal training and began her career as an actress, only returning to painting when her own children were at school. She has since privately exhibited seascapes and views of the South Downs. In 2016 she illustrated Miranda Hart's book Peggy and Me.

Jonathan Wittenberg

Jonathan Wittenberg was born in Glasgow in 1957 to a family of German Jewish origin. The family moved to London in 1963, where he attended University College School, specialising in classical and modern languages, subsequently reading English at Cambridge. He trained for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College London, receiving ordination in 1987. He now lives in London with his wife Nicky and, three children, and his faithful canine companion, Mitzpah.

Lucy Daniels

Lucy Daniels is the author of the bestselling children's book series, Animal Ark, which have sold nearly 3 million copies in the UK alone, and more recently, the Animal Ark Revisited series for adults. Lucy Daniels is the pseudonym for the writing partnership of celebrated author Victoria Holmes and real-life vet, Sarah McGurk. Victoria Holmes grew up on a farm surrounded by animals, and started writing at a young age. After studying English at the University of Oxford, Vicky worked with horses for a year before becoming an English teacher, then moved on to become an editor at Working Partners in London. Over the past two decades, Vicky has been the creator and editor of dozens of well-known series, including Animal Ark, Heartland, Rainbow Magic, Puppy Patrol, Chestnut Hill and, most famously, Warrior Cats. As the creator, editor and, later, author, of the Warrior Cats books, Vicky has travelled around the world to meet fans, appeared in numerous TV and radio interviews, and had a tiny taste of the celebrity lifestyle. She is still happiest at home in her medieval thatched cottage in the Somerset countryside, with her beloved horse Nick for company.Sarah McGurk grew up in the Yorkshire Dales, and was inspired by James Herriot to become a veterinary surgeon some thirty years ago. A few years after she qualified, Sarah realised she wanted to follow him further, into the world of veterinary writing. She began with short stories, then longer works of fiction, related to her work in general practice and in emergency and critical care. Her special interests include anaesthesia and pain relief, and low-stress techniques in small animal handling. Sarah currently lives in Norway, where she works in a local veterinary practice and speaks Norwegian fluently.Currently, Vicky and Sarah collaborate on the Animal Ark Revisited series, returning to the beloved setting of Welford and favourite characters from the original children's books. The first Animal Ark Revisited novel, Summer at Hope Meadows, picks up the story again with Mandy now in her twenties and working as a qualified vet. Full of countryside-charm and plenty of pet rescues, the Animal Ark Revisited series will capture the hearts of original readers of the series, as well as new readers looking for romantic escapism in a small village veterinary surgery.

Lucy Dillon

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria. She won the Romantic Novelists' Association Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, and is the bestselling author of four other novels: The Ballroom Class, Walking Back to Happiness, The Secret of Happy Ever After and A Hundred Pieces of Me. Lucy now divides her time between London and the Wye Valley where she enjoys walking in the Malvern Hills with her basset hounds, Violet and Bonham. You can follow her on Twitter @lucy_dillon or on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/LucyDillonBooks.