Related to: 'Strange the Dreamer'

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

The Complete Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy

Laini Taylor
Authors:
Laini Taylor
Hodder Paperbacks

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Laini Taylor
Authors:
Laini Taylor
Hodder & Stoughton

Night of Cake and Puppets

Laini Taylor
Authors:
Laini Taylor
Hodder & Stoughton

Lips Touch

Laini Taylor
Authors:
Laini Taylor
Hodder & Stoughton

Spicy Little Curses Such as These: An eBook Short Story from Lips Touch

Laini Taylor
Authors:
Laini Taylor
Hodder & Stoughton

Days of Blood and Starlight

Laini Taylor
Authors:
Laini Taylor

It began with the breathtaking DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE... This November, the story continues in the astounding, must-read sequel, DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHTOnce upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living - one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers' arms to take their turn in the killing and dying. Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon's secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel - a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness. This was not that world.

Hodder & Stoughton

Goblin Fruit: An eBook short story from Lips Touch

Laini Taylor
Authors:
Laini Taylor

From the author of the astounding must-read novel DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, comes a vividly imaginative short story, GOBLIN FRUIT (from the award-winning short story collection LIPS TOUCH). Kizzy wanted it all so bad her soul leaned half out of her body hungering after it, and that was what drove the goblins wild, her soul hanging out there like an un-tucked shirt.Beware of souls that want too much. Kizzy's family are from the Old Country. They cut the heads off chickens, have anvils in their yard and sing songs in a language that her teachers have never heard of. They believe in talking foxes, witch soldiers and goblins who crave the souls of a particular type of girl. Girls who wish they were prettier, had normal relatives and, most of all, were noticed by the boy they have fallen for at school. Girls like Kizzy...

Hodder Paperbacks

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Laini Taylor
Authors:
Laini Taylor

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is a book unbounded by genre but located at a magical crossroads where THE PASSAGE meets PHILIP PULLMAN and TWILIGHT meets PAN'S LABYRINTH.Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came. In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.'Remarkable and beautifully written . . . The opening volume of a truly original trilogy.' GUARDIAN

Amy Engel

Amy Engel is the author of the YA novels THE BOOK OF IVY and THE REVOLUTION OF IVY. She lives in Missouri with her family. THE ROANOKE GIRLS is her first novel for adults.

Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares is the author of four bestselling young adult novels. This is her first novel for adults. She lives in Manhattan and spends her summers on Fire Island, New York.

Benjamin Percy

Benjamin Percy is the award-winning author of the novel, The Wilding (forthcoming from Graywolf, September 28, 2010), as well as two books of short stories, Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf, 2007) and The Language of Elk (Carnegie Mellon, 2006). Publishers Weekly gave The Wilding a starred review, saying "Percy's excellent debut novel...digs into the ambiguous American attitude toward nature as it oscillates between Thoreau's romantic appreciation and sheer gothic horror... It's as close as you can get to a contemporary Deliverance." Percy's honors include a Whiting Writers Award, the Plimpton Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories. His fiction and nonfiction appear in Esquire (where he is a regular contributor), Outside, Men's Journal, the Paris Review, Orion, Tin House, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other magazines and journals. He teaches in the MFA program at Iowa State and can be found online at benjaminpercy.com.

Daniel Polansky

Daniel Polansky was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He can be found in Brooklyn, when he isn't somewhere else. His debut novel, THE STRAIGHT RAZOR CURE, received great acclaim. TOMORROW, THE KILLING is the second novel in his 'Low Town' series, with the third publishing in 2013.

Deon Meyer

Deon Meyer lives near Cape Town in South Africa. His big passions are motorcycling, music, reading, cooking and rugby. In January 2008 he retired from his day job as a consultant on brand strategy for BMW Motorrad, and is now a full time author. Deon Meyer's books have attracted worldwide critical acclaim and a growing international fanbase. Originally written in Afrikaans, they have now been translated into twenty-eight languages.THIRTEEN HOURS was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger and won the Boeke Prize in South Africa - the first time in the prize's 16 year history that a South African book has won. His novels have also won literary prizes in France, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, and the film rights to seven of his novels have been optioned or sold.Deon has also written two television series, and several screenplays for movies. In 2013 he directed one of his original scripts for the feature film The Last Tango.Visit the author's website at www.deonmeyer.com and follow him on Twitter @MeyerDeon

Elly Blake

Elly Blake loves fairy tales, old houses, and owls. After earning a BA in English literature, she held a series of random jobs before finding her ideal job as a writer and part-time library assistant. She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids, and a lively Siberian Husky mix with definite Frostblood tendencies.

Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is a Swedish blogger, columnist and author. His debut novel A MAN CALLED OVE was a number 1 bestseller across Scandinavia, has sold over one million copies worldwide, was a Richard & Judy summer read in the UK and an instant New York Times paperback bestseller, and has been made into an acclaimed film. Fredrik's subsequent novels, MY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS AND APOLOGISES and BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE, also went straight to number 1 in Sweden on publication.

Jasmine Warga

Jasmine Warga lives in Mariemont, Ohio with her husband, Greg, a cat named Salvador Dali, and a puppy named Scout. She was born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, and spent her days making up stories, listening to emotive music, staring up at the night sky, and reading. She graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in History and Art History, and went on to teach 6th grade science at a school in Houston, Texas. In June 2013, she received a Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University.

Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring out of the window and chewing the end of a pencil. He lives and works in Wales and has a passion for aviation.Visit Jasper's website, www.jasperfforde.com, find him on Facebook, www.facebook.com/jasperffordebooks, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasperfforde.

Jennifer L. Armentrout

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel, and her hyper Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories . . . therefore explaining her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Adult and Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Romance. Visit Jennifer's website: www.jenniferarmentrout.com, follow her on Twitter: @JLArmentrout, or find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JenniferLArmentrout.

Jess Richards

Jess Richards was born in Wales in 1972, and grew up too fast in south west Scotland where she lived with her English parents and three brothers, watching the ferry boats going to and from Northern Ireland. She left home at 17, went over the border to England, and lived for a year in Carlisle, before moving to Devon. She gained a first class degree from Dartington College of Arts when she was 21. After brief stints busking and carrying on in both Leeds and London, she moved to Brighton aged 23 where she has grown up a bit slower, and has lived and worked ever since. Her debut novel, SNAKE ROPES, was shortlisted for the 2012 Costa First Novel Award and longlisted for the Green Carnation Prize.jessrichards.co.uk/www.twitter.com/jessgrr1

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-four internationally bestselling novels, including My Sister's Keeper, House Rules and The Storyteller, and has also co-written two YA books with her daughter Samantha van Leer, Between the Lines and Off the Page. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. Jodi's UK website is www.jodipicoult.co.uk and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/JodiPicoultUK and twitter.com/jodipicoult. She also has a YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/JodiPicoultOfficial.