Related to: 'Dinner for Two'

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

Half a World Away

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

The incredibly moving and uplifting new novel from the author of The Man I Think I Know.Kerry Hayes knows exactly who she is: a single mum, a cleaner and Mariah Carey's biggest fan.Noah Martineau thinks he knows who he is: a successful barrister, with a wife, daughter and big house in Primrose Hill.Strangers with nothing in common.Strangers living worlds apart.But it wasn't always this way...and Noah and Kerry are about to discover just who they really are.'Mike Gayle has such a talent for delving into hearts, minds and contemporary issues. Half a World Away is supremely poignant, uplifting and heartwarming in equal measure - as well as being a real page-turner.' Sophie Kinsella, author of Surprise Me'Mike has a prodigious talent for writing completely relatable characters who draw you into their world and tug at your heart strings. Half a World Away is an absolute triumph and a joy to read. Once again Mike tackles complex and thorny issues with a confident and compassionate hand.' Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things 'Half a World Away is heartbreaking and beautiful, full of poignant moments and characters you fall for from page one. I couldn't put it down.' Libby Page, author of The Lido

Hodder Paperbacks

The Man I Think I Know

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

As seen on ITV in the Zoe Ball Book Club'Beautifully written, thought-provoking and completely charming.' Ruth Hogan'Mike Gayle is the king of touching, human stories, and this big-hearted book is his best yet' Heat, 5* This is the stunning new novel from bestselling author Mike Gayle, for fans of The Keeper of Lost Things and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. A powerful and bittersweet story of an unexpected male friendship and an unlikely love story, a thought provoking storyline told with Mike's distinctive wit and insight, touching on issues which affect us all. This uplifting tale reminds us of the simple courage at the heart of every human being.Ever since The Incident, James DeWitt has stayed on the safe side.He likes to know what happens next.Danny Allen is not on the safe side. He is more past the point of no return.The past is about to catch up with both of them in a way that which will change their lives forever, unexpectedly. But redemption can come in the most unlikely ways. Look out for Mike's new novel, Half a World Away, available to pre-order now!*******************Praise for The Man I Think I Know'Beautifully written, thought-provoking and completely charming . . . reminds us that the everyday things we take for granted without realising how precious they are, can be snatched away in an instant with catastrophic consequences' Ruth Hogan'That rarest of things; a moving, beautifully written novel about male friendship . . . I absolutely loved it' Lisa Jewell'Mike is always wise and wonderful, but this is a whole new departure for him - read it!' Jenny ColganYou'll be both laughing and on the edge of tears with this brilliant read' Fabulous magazine*******************Readers are raving about this book!'This is one of those books that is tugging on your heartstrings one moment and has you laughing out loud the next - another stunning plot line and narrative from Mike Gayle.''I loved the narrative and I left this novel feeling totally uplifted . . . I now feel like there is some hope in the world!''This book is sad, funny, quirky, touching, heartbreaking but - and this is going to sound totally cliched and corny - life affirming.'

Hodder & Stoughton

The Hope Family Calendar

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder Paperbacks

Seeing Other People

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder & Stoughton

Turning Forty

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

How to turn forty:1. Set yourself a personal challenge.2. Clear wardrobe of all age inappropriate clothing.3. Relax.How not to turn forty:1. Have a complete meltdown . . .High flier Matt Beckford's sole ambition is to turn forty with his life sorted. And with a Porsche on the drive and a job that requires him to spend more time in BA's club lounge than his own lounge, it looks like things are going in the right direction. But when Matt's wife unexpectedly calls time on their marriage, a chain of events is set in motion that very quickly sees him facing forty broke, homeless and completely alone.But all is not lost because Matt has a plan . . .Wise, witty and wonderful . . . a triumph! Jenny Colgan Look out for Mike's new novel, Half a World Away, available to pre-order now!

Hodder & Stoughton

Brand New Friend

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

'Funny and well-observed, this is another sure-fire hit' HeatWhen Rob's girlfriend asks him to leave London and live with her in Manchester not only will it mean moving cities, it'll also mean leaving behind his best mate in the entire world. Believing that love conquers all and convinced of his ability to make new friends, Rob takes the plunge.Six months in, and yet to find so much as a regular drinking buddy, Rob realises that sometimes making friends in your thirties can be the hardest thing to do. With drastic action needed, his girlfriend puts an ad in the classifieds for him. Three excruciatingly embarrassing "bloke dates" later, Rob begins to truly despair. Until his luck changes . . .There's just one problem. Apart from knowing less than nothing about music trivia, football, and the vital statistics of supermodels, Rob's new friend has one huge flaw . . .She's a girl.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Stag and Hen Weekend

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

The Stag and Hen Weekend is the story of Phil and Helen, a couple in their thirties about to commit their lives to one another . . . that is of course if they can just manage to get through their respective stag and hen weekends (his: Amsterdam; hers: a country house and day spa in the Peak District) without falling apart. Told in the unique form of two separate stories that have common characters as well as themes and conclusion, The Stag and Hen Weekend can be read from front to back or from back to front putting the reader in the driver's seat as to which story they wish to read first. Feisty, fun and thought provoking.

Hodder & Stoughton

Men at Work - Quick Read

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

Ian Greening loves his job at the Department of Work and Pensions. It might not be the best paid job in the world but it gives him lots of scope for fun. He loves his girlfriend, Emma, too. But when Emma is made redundant, and gets a temping job in Ian's office, he doesn't like it at all. Emma only knows Home Ian - and Work Ian is a different kettle of fish. Spending twenty-four hours a day together is too much of a good thing. But how can he tell her that without hurting her? Ian comes up with a plan to get things back the way they were. But it puts his relationship at risk and forces Ian to decide which really matters most: the job, or Emma. A sweet, funny novel about love and work.

Hodder Paperbacks

The Importance of Being a Bachelor

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

A hilarious and touching romantic comedy about three clueless, charming brothers and the women in their lives from number one bestselling author Mike Gayle.Despite the example of their own parents' enduring marriage, the three Bachelor brothers show no sign of settling down.Adam has a string of glamorous girlfriends, but they aren't suitable wife material.Luke has just proposed to Cassie but his refusal to consider having children looks like an insurmountable barrier.And baby of the family Russell is in love with the one woman he can't have.Then their father announces he has been thrown out of the family home and this forces all three brothers to examine their own priorities.Are all three Bachelor brothers totally hopeless cases or just late starters?

Hodder Paperbacks

The To-Do List

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

Would a proper adult ignore the spilt milk under the fridge for weeks?Would a proper adult take three years to post a solitary Christmas card?Would a proper adult have decades-old underwear in active service?Mike Gayle is nowhere near being a proper adult - even though his tenth wedding anniversary is looming; his second child is due any moment; and in less than twenty-four hours he is going to be officially closer to forty than he is to thirty. Appalled by this lack of maturity, Mike draws up a To-Do list containing every single item he's been meaning to do but just keeps putting off... He's got a lot of stuff that needs doing. But unlike previous To-Do lists, he promises himself that this one will actually get DONE. And along the way, Mike will learn stuff about life (323), love (999), friends (1004) and family (9) and finally work out what it means to be a grown up (846).

Hodder Paperbacks

Life and Soul of the Party

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

A brilliant romantic comedy about a year in the lives of three couples from number one bestselling author Mike Gayle.Meet Melissa and Paul: Five years after they split up he's still looking for love in all the wrong places while she wants the one thing she can't have: Paul.Meet Chris and Vicky: They're so in tune they even brush their teeth in time with each other. So what is Chris doing risking it all for a meaningless affair?Meet Cooper and Laura: He wants to settle down, she wants to take a grown-up gap year but can their relationship really survive a year apart?Set across a year of leaving dos, birthday parties and anniversary celebrations, Life and Soul of the Party is a warm, funny and moving tale celebrating love, life and those special moments we've all spent in the kitchen at parties.

Hodder Paperbacks

Wish You Were Here

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

A brilliant romantic comedy exploring beach basics for the broken-hearted from number one bestselling author Mike Gayle.Their holiday brochure said 18-30 . . . But they've just turned 35.After ten years together Charlie Mansell has been dumped by his live-in girlfriend, Sarah. All he wants to do is wallow in misery, but mates Andy and Tom have a better idea: a week of sun, sea and souvlaki in Malia, party capital of the Greek islands.But Charlie and his mates aren't eighteen any more. Or even under thirty. And it shows.It isn't the cheap beer, the late nights or even the fast-food that's the problem. It's girls. And life. And most of all . . . each other. WISH YOU WERE HERE is a heart-warming, funny and wise tale about love and friendship and how seven days in the sun can change your life forever.

Hodder Paperbacks

His 'n' Hers

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder & Stoughton

Turning Thirty

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder Paperbacks

Mr Commitment

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder Paperbacks

My Legendary Girlfriend

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

A hilarious, original story for anyone who has ever been dumped, or lived in a dump, 'full of belly-laughs and painfully acute observations'. (Independent on Sunday)Meet Will Kelly. English teacher. Film Fan. Pot Noodle expert. Ex-boyfriend.Still in love with The One, Will is desperate to discover if there can be An-Other One. In his decrepit flat where he can't even manage to cook spaghetti hoops without setting of the communal smoke alarm, his lifeline is the telephone. Will realises that with a single call, friends can either lift him from the depths of despair or completely shatter his hopes.There's Alice (who remembers his birthday), Simon (who doesn't), Kate (the previous tenant of his rented hovel). And of course his ex, Aggi. The inimitable Aggi. His legendary Girlfriend.Or is She?

Ali Knight

Ali Knight has worked as a journalist and sub-editor at the BBC, Guardian and Observer and helped to launch some of the Daily Mail and Evening Standard's most successful websites. She lives with her family in London.Visit Ali's website to find out more about her and her psychological thrillers at www.aliknight.co.uk and follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/aliknightauthor.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams worked as a senior producer for the BBC's flagship Panorama and Newsnight programmes, and as a writer and director of history documentaries. He is the author of two bestselling non-fiction books, The Battle of the Atlantic and D-day to Berlin, and four acclaimed novels, The Interrogator, (shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Silver Dagger Award and the Ellis Peters Award), To Kill a Tsar, (shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Award and the Walter Scott Prize), The Poison Tide and The Suicide Club. You can find out more about Andrew Williams and his writing at www.andrewwilliams.tv and www.hodder.co.uk, and you can follow him on twitter at @AWilliamswriter or on Facebook.

Charles Frazier

Charles Frazier grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. COLD MOUNTAIN, his highly acclaimed first novel, was an international bestseller, selling over one million copies and winning the National Book Award in 1997. It was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, and Renee Zellweger.A second novel, THIRTEEN MOONS, was published by Sceptre in 2007 and NIGHTWOODS, Charles' latest novel set in a lakeside town in 1960s North Carolina, was published in September 2011. To find out more, visit Charles' Facebook page www.facebook.com/CharlesFrazierAuthor or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Charles_Frazier.

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty five romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.