Related to: 'God's Smuggler'

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

Light Force

Brother Andrew, Al Janssen
Authors:
Brother Andrew, Al Janssen
Hodder & Stoughton

Secret Believers

Brother Andrew
Authors:
Brother Andrew

What happens when a Muslim, born and brought up in a Muslim family in an Islamic country, converts to Christianity? In this unique book, Brother Andrew describes the personal, cultural, spiritual and life-threatening challenges that they face.Most of the book is written as a thrilling novel, tracing the intertwined lives of a small group of believers in an unnamed Islamic country. The story becomes all the more fascinating as we realise that the stories are all based on the actual experiences of real people Andrew meets on a regular basis. SECRET BELIEVERS is the most topical, eye-opening Christian book of 2007.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Happiest People On Earth

Elizabeth Sherill, Demos Shakarian, John Sherrill
Authors:
Elizabeth Sherill, Demos Shakarian, John Sherrill
Hodder & Stoughton

The Hiding Place

Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherill, John Sherrill
Authors:
Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherill, John Sherrill

As the Nazi madness swept across Europe, a quiet watchmaker's family in Holland risked everything for the sake of others, and for the love of Christ. Despite the danger and threat of discovery, the ten Boom family courageously offered shelter to persecuted Jews during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Then a trap brought about the family's arrest. Could God's love shine through, even in Ravensbruck?

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, has taught at a number of institutions and written for many magazines. The first novel in the Ibis trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008. In 2015, Amitav Ghosh was named as a finalist of the Man Booker International Prize.

Andrew Quicke

Andrew Quicke is Chairman of the School of Cinema-Television at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. He has lived in London, Southern California, Bangkok Thailand and Jerusalem Israel where he was bureau news chief for CBN and Middle East Television.

Brother Andrew

Brother Andrew was born in Holland and became a Christian while serving in the Dutch army. After leaving the army he applied for Bible school in the UK and studied at the Bible Training Institute (now the International Christian College) in Glasgow, Scotland. He has worked tirelessly to strengthen the persecuted church all over the world, encouraging believers in their faith and sharing the gospel with some of the most unlikely people.His book GOD'S SMUGGLER tells the story of the start of his work, smuggling Bibles into communist countries illegally during the Cold War, which developed into the worldwide ministry now called Open Doors International. GOD'S SMUGGLER became an international best-seller with over ten million copies sold in English.After the fall of communism in Europe, Brother Andrew shifted his focus to China and the Middle East, and the incredible story of his ongoing ministry can be read in his next book LIGHT FORCE.His most recent book is SECRET BELIEVERS: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MUSLIMS TURN TO CHRIST?.

Duncan Hamilton

Duncan Hamilton is a journalist who has won two William Hill Sports Book of the Year Prizes. He has been nominated on a further four occasions. He has also claimed two British Sports Book Awards and is the only writer to have won the Wisden Cricket Book of the Year on three occasions. His biography of the Chariots of Fire runner Eric Liddell, For the Glory, was a New York Times bestseller. He most recently collaborated with Jonny Bairstow on the cricketer's autobiography, A Clear Blue Sky. He lives at the foot of the Yorkshire Dales.

Edward Rutherfurd

Edward Rutherfurd was born in England, in the cathedral city of Salisbury. Educated locally, and at the universities of Cambridge, and Stanford, California, he worked in political research, bookselling and publishing. After numerous attempts to write books and plays, he finally abandoned his career in the book trade in 1983, and returned to his childhood home to write SARUM, a historical novel with a ten-thousand year story, set in the area around the ancient monument of Stonehenge, and Salisbury. Four years later, when Sarum was published, it became an instant international bestseller, remaining 23 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. Since then he has written five more bestsellers: RUSSKA, a novel of Russia; LONDON; THE FOREST, set in England's New Forest which lies close by Sarum, and two novels which cover the story of Ireland from the time just before Saint Patrick to the twentieth century.

Elizabeth Sherill

Elizabeth Sherrill is a prolific Christian writer, based in the USA. She often collaborates on books with her husband John.

Gavin Extence

Gavin Extence lives in Sheffield with his wife and children. He has written two previous novels, the Richard and Judy bestseller, THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS and THE MIRROR WORLD OF MELODY BLACK, which was described as 'a cross between Bridget Jones' Diary and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' by a Simon Mayo Book Club reviewer.

J.I. Packer

J. I. Packer is an eminent theologian. Professor Emeritus at Regent College, Vancouver, he is a bestselling author known the world over for such classics as Knowing God. He is considered to be one of the most important evangelical theologians of the late 20th century.

Jackie Pullinger

Jackie Pullinger-To is a British woman who lives and works among the poor, the homeless and the drug addicts of Hong Kong.Over thirty years ago she went to Hong Kong on a one way ticket, and arrived knowing no one with just $100 HK in her pocket. She lived and worked in Kowloon's notorious 'Walled City' and by 1981 she had set up the St Stephen's Society, which provides rehabilitation homes for recovering drug addicts, prostitutes, and gang members. By December 2007 it had grown to provide homes for 200 people. The charity's work has been recognized by the Hong Kong government who donated the land for the rehabilitation homes.Jackie's story is told in her renowned book Chasing the Dragon and she still lives in Hong Kong and runs the St Stephen's Society.

James Clavell

James Clavell, the son of a Royal Navy family, was educated in Portsmouth before, as a young artillery officer, he was captured by the Japanese at the Fall of Singapore. It was on this experience that his bestselling novel KING RAT was based. He maintained this oriental interest in his other great works: TAI-PAN, SHOGUN, NOBLE HOUSE and GAI JIN. Clavell lived for many years in Vancouver and Los Angeles, before settling in Switzerland, where he died in 1994.

John Sherrill

John Sherrill is a prolific Christian writer, based in the USA. He often collaborates on books with his wife Elizabeth.

Joyce Meyer

Joyce Meyer is the bestselling author of more than 100 inspirational books, including The Power of Simple Prayer, Approval Addiction, Power Thoughts and Battlefield of the Mind. Joyce's 'Enjoying Everyday Life' radio and television programmes are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences.

Kate Fox

Kate Fox, a social anthropologist, is Co-Director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford and a Fellow of the Institute for Cultural Research. She is also a bestselling author of popular social science.Her work involves monitoring and assessing global sociocultural trends, and has included research, publications, lectures, consultancy work and broadcasts on many aspects of human behaviour, including: drinking, risk-taking, beauty and body image, flirting and courtship, crying, patriotism, pub behaviour and pub culture, horseracing, social class, mobile phones, the internet, online social media, menopausal women, cars and driving, gossip, taboos, violence and disorder, attitudes to work, coming of age in the 21st century, motherhood, shopping, individualism, the effects of health scares, the psychology of smell and the meaning of chips. Her most recent book is the major popular bestseller Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour. This book has sold over half a million copies, and is translated into many languages including Chinese, Russian, Polish, Korean and Thai.Kate's other books include The Racing Tribe: Watching the Horsewatchers and Drinking and Public Disorder (co-author with Dr Peter Marsh). Kate is regularly invited to speak at the major literary festivals, as well as guest lectures and seminars at universities, institutes, embassies, trade and professional conferences, etc. in the UK and overseas. She gave the Christmas Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, and won a debate against Boris Johnson for Intelligence Squared, among other high-profile engagements. She is frequently quoted in the Press and interviewed on radio and television. Kate has also been a regular columnist for Psychologies magazine.Kate is married to the neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, CBE.

Michael Jones

Michael Jones was awarded a history PhD by Bristol University, and subsequently taught at Glasgow University and Winchester College. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History, and works now as a writer, media consultant and presenter. He has written books on the battles of Bosworth, Agincourt and Stalingrad, the siege of Leningrad and the battle for Moscow, as well as Total War: From Stalingrad to Berlin. Most recently he has co-authored The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III.

Neale Donald Walsch

Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual thinker whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. With an early interest in religion and a deeply felt connection to spirituality, Neale spent the majority of his life thriving professionally, yet searching for spiritual meaning before beginning his now famous With God series that has been translated into 34 languages, and has been a bestseller for Hodder since publishing the first back in 1997.Each of the Conversations with God books have made the New York Times Bestseller list, the original Conversations with God occupying that list for over two and half years. In response to this, Neale created the Conversations with God Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to inspiring the world to help itself move from violence to peace, from confusion to clarity, and from anger to love.His latest book When Everything Changes, Change Everything is in the New York Times Bestsller list and made the Amazon Top 10 in its first week of publication. A timely book, and immediately useful, Neale discusses the practical applications of God-inspired insights on the way to move on and the right reasons to do so. In the current glocal climate, this is the perfect book for anyone who feels challenged in these tough times.Married to his wife Nancy, Neale lives on a retreat site in the woods of Southern Oregon, USA.