Related to: 'The Wisdom House'

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

Let Me Tell You A Story

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons

Hodder & Stoughton

The Sixty Minute Grandparent

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons
Hodder & Stoughton

The Sixty Minute Mother

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons

In THE SIXTY MINUTE MOTHER Rob Parsons turns his warm wisdom and wit to the subject of motherhood. Talking to a variety of mothers, including Dianne Parsons, from all backgrounds and situations (working, lone, home-based, mothers of babies, teenagers, adopted kids and so on) he has compiled a wonderfully inspirational book on the highs and lows of being a mother, with lots of fresh insights. In his usual style, and never forgetting the essential truth that men need to nurture their maternal instincts too, he has written another winner.

Hodder & Stoughton

What They Didn't Teach Me in Sunday School

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons

A new edition of this best-selling inspirational book which is already an established classic. Some of the lessons learnt along the way will change forever the way we view ourselves, others and especially God. A book filled with fresh starts, new tomorrows and incredible hope.

Hodder & Stoughton

Teenagers!

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons

Rob Parsons explains how to cope with this often disruptive period in a family's life and how to continue feeling close to your teenagers as they grow up and become increasingly independent. He gives clear and easy to follow advice making sure that you will not feel on your own and you will be able to make the most of your precious time with your children.'Insightful and practical. It will help every parent navigate those turbulent teenage years.' - David Lumsdon, Educational Psychology Academic and Professional Tutor, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne 'This incredible book will save not just our relationships with our children, but our sanity. And the really lucky ones will discover it before their kids are teenagers.' - Parentalk 'It was as if somebody turned on a light. This book whispered to me, 'You're not the worst mother on the face of the earth. This stuff with your teenager is normal.' - Jennie, mother of three teenagers

Hodder & Stoughton

Loving Against the Odds

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons

Here is a book for all couples - those with strong marriages who want to protect their relationship, those going through difficult times, and those considering marriage.With humour and honesty it deals with issues that are relevant to every marriage, including; communicating more effectively, over coming financial pressure, why interest in sex sometimes dies, the affair, and dealing with conflict.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Sixty Minute Marriage

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons
Hodder & Stoughton

The Money Secret

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons

Practical and life-changing, THE MONEY SECRET will totally revolutionise your attitude to money and show how it can either be the source of freedom and happiness or a burden of guilt and debt. When you have finished this powerful story you will want to cut up your credit cards forever and rid yourself of the power of the banks and lenders and advertisers who dupe us all into a spending frenzy based on false promises and slick delusions. As well as offering solutions this book will challenge the status quo and question current spending habits. Rich or poor, we have all at some time felt in despair about money and its power over our lives. Rob Parsons shows a new way forward which will change your life, focus your priorities and put you back in control.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Sixty Minute Father

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons
Hodder & Stoughton

The Heart of Success

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons

Jack's father was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his time - the only problem was that the old man had no time, no friends, and died early. The prospect of following in the family tradition seems less than appealing to Jack but on the first day of his MBA he meets a retired professor who offers him a class that wasn't exactly on the curriculum: how to make it in business without losing in life. Over a series of memorable evenings the professor shares with Jack seven laws to turn his life around.Don't settle for being money rich - time poorBelieve that the job you do makes a differencePlay to your strengthsBelieve in the power of dreamsPut your family before your careerKeep the common touchDon't settle for success; strive for significance

Hodder & Stoughton

What Every Kid Wished their Parents Knew

Rob Parsons, Lloyd Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons, Lloyd Parsons

Rob Parsons teams up with his teen-age son, Lloyd, to write a warm and witty guide to parent/child communication. With cartoon illustrations.

Alexandra Raife

Alexandra Raife has lived abroad in many countries and worked at a variety of jobs, including a six-year commission in the RAF and many years co-running a Highland hotel.

Anna Jacobs

Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. She is addicted to writing and figures she'll have to live to be 120 at least to tell all the stories that keep popping up in her imagination and nagging her to write them down.She's also addicted to her own hero, to whom she's been happily married for many years.She is the bestselling author of over sixty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards. Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006, and The Trader's Wife is on the shortlist for the 2012 award.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

Christine Wilding

Christine Wilding's (Kent, England) books on CBT have sold over 50,000 copies. She holds a postgraduate diploma in CBT from the University of London, is an accredited member of the British Association of Counselling, is a member of the steering committee set up to develop guidelines for the treatment of depression within the NHS, and is in-demand as a leader of CBT-based training courses.

Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand grew up in Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where she was a teaching/writing fellow. She now lives with her husband and their three children on Nantucket, Massachusetts, where her novels are set.You can follow Elin on Twitter @elinhilderbrand or find out more on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/ElinHilderbrand.

Krish Kandiah

Krish Kandiah is Founder and Director of the adoption and fostering charity Home for Good, and a Vice-President of Tearfund. He is in demand as a speaker, consultant and social entrepreneur. He lives with his wife and seven children, including fostered and adopted children, in Oxfordshire, UK.

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.

Mikael Lindnord

Mikael Lindnord is an adventure racer and race planner. As a boy he wanted to be an ice hockey player, but failing to make a professional team at the age of 17 set him on a different path. After doing military service he became an adventure racer and has been travelling the world and racing in the AR World Series ever since. When not racing he lives with his wife, children and, of course, his dog Arthur. Arthur is a mongrel from somewhere in Ecuador. He likes meatballs, long runs with Mikael and relaxing with his family in Sweden. As an editor of non-fiction at major publishing houses, Val Hudson published many ground-breaking bestsellers. Now a full-time writer, she is the author of a wide range of non-fiction and, as Chloe Bennet, the 'Boywatching' series of novels for young teens..

Nick Page

Nick Page is the author of over sixty books, including The Bible Book, What Happened to the Ark of the Covenant and Other Bible Mysteries, The HarperCollins Atlas of Bible History (editor) and most recently, THE WRONG MESSIAH. Follow Nick Page on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/NickofEynsham and visit his website at: http://nickpage.co.uk

Paul Jenner

Paul Jenner is a writer and journalist specializing in lifestyle subjects. He lives with his partner, three horses, two dogs and two sheep, in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees, where, when he's not working, he enjoys hiking, riding, cycling, sailing, swimming, diving and snowboarding. His other books include Teach Yourself Living Longer, Living Well and Teach Yourself Happiness.