Related to: 'The Last Letter from Your Lover'

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

Foreign Fruit

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes
Hodder & Stoughton

Sheltering Rain

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

From the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.On Coronation night the ex-pat community in Hong Kong gathers for a celebration party, and while they strain to listen to the wireless, 21-year-old Joy falls in love at first sight. She is engaged within 24 hours, but will not see her fiance again for a year. In 1980, 18-year-old Patricia's rebellion is to run away to from County Wexford with her illegitimate child. Fifteen years later Sabine leaves trendy Hackney to visit the grandparents she doesn't know, and finds that time in Wexford seems to have stood still. When Sabine, her mother and grandmother are brought together, not only is a deeply buried family secret is discovered, but also some fundamental truths: about the conflict between love and duty, about women's choices, and about mothers and daughters.'Perceptive debut novel . . . Be sure that your bookmark is a hankie.' - Elle

Hodder Paperbacks

The Horse Dancer

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

The 2009 novel The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes, the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.'A tale brimming with tenderness and romance.' - Marie ClaireIn a hidden corner of London, Henri Lachapelle is teaching his granddaughter and her horse to defy gravity, just as he had done in France, fifty years previously. But when disaster strikes, fourteen-year-old Sarah is left to fend for herself.Forced to share a house with her charismatic ex-husband, her professional judgement called into question, lawyer Natasha Macauley's life seems to have gone awry. When her path crosses that of Sarah, she sees a chance to put things right.But she doesn't know that Sarah is keeping a secret, one that will change all their lives forever . . .

Hodder Paperbacks

Night Music

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes
Hodder Paperbacks

Silver Bay

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

The moving and romantic novel from the bestselling author of Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind. Shortlisted for the 2007 RNA Novel of the Year award. 'Compelling tale' - HeatLiza McCullen will never escape her past. But the unspoilt beaches and tight-knit community of Silver Bay offer the freedom and safety she craves - if not for herself, then for her young daughter, Hannah.Until Mike Dormer arrives as a guest in her aunt's hotel, and the peace of Silver Bay is shattered. The mild-mannered Englishman with his too-smart clothes and disturbing eyes could destroy everything Liza has worked so hard to protect: not only the family business and the bay that harbours her beloved whales, but also her conviction that she will never love - never deserve to love - again.

Hodder Paperbacks

The Peacock Emporium

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

The 2004 novel The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes, the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.'A charming and enchanting read.' - Company Athene Forster embraced the Sixties like few others. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she was spoiled, beautiful, and out of control. And within two years of her marriage, the rumours had begun again.Thirty-five years on, Suzanna Peacock finds refuge from her mother's shameful legacy in her shop, the Peacock Emporium. Within its magical walls she discovers not just friendship, and an escape from her troubled marriage, but the first real passion of her life.But the spectre of her mother still haunts Suzanna, setting in place a series of dramatic events. Only by confronting the past will she finally be able to face the future . . .

Hodder Paperbacks

The Ship of Brides

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

Alexandra Potter

Alexandra Potter was born in Yorkshire. Having lived in Los Angeles and Sydney after university, where she worked variously as a features editor and sub-editor for women's magazines including Elle, Company, Red and Australian Vogue, she now writes full time and lives between London and Los Angeles. She is the author of nine internationally bestselling novels of romantic fiction with a magical twist, including Don't You Forget About Me and Me and Mr Darcy, which won the Best New Fiction Award at the Jane Austen Regency World Awards 2007.You can find out more at www.alexandrapotter.com or on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Alexandra.Potter.Author or follow Alexandra on Twitter @AlexPotterBooks.

Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of the novels The Body in the Clouds, The Railwayman's Wife and A Hundred Small Lessons. The Railwayman's Wife was honoured with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She has also written four nonfiction books.She lives in Brisbane, Australia.ashleyhay.com.au

Belva Plain

Belva Plain's first novel, EVERGREEN, was published in 1978 and became an international bestseller. Over the course of a career spanning three decades she published over twenty bestselling novels in 22 languages. She died at the age of ninety five in 2010.

Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson was born in the village of Queensferry in south-east Scotland in 1965 and educated at Edinburgh University. She left with a PhD in Linguistics and spent a few years as a university lecturer before beginning to write fiction. The first Dandy Gilver novel was short-listed for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2005 and the second was long-listed for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award 2007. In 2012 DANDY GILVER AND THE PROPER TREATMENT OF BLOODSTAINS was nominated for a Historical Macavity Award. Catriona writes full-time and divides her time between southern Scotland and northern California.www.dandygilver.comwww.catrionamcpherson.comwww.twitter.com/CatrionaMcP

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty 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.

Cynthia Swanson

Cynthia Swanson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Bookseller, which is soon to be a motion picture starring Julia Roberts. An Indie Next selection and the winner of the 2016 WILLA Award for Historical Fiction, The Bookseller is being translated into more than a dozen languages and it was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award. Cynthia lives with her family in Denver, Colorado.

David Mitchell

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

Davina Langdale

Davina Langdale studied Zoology at Bristol University, and worked with 93 chimpanzees and a hippo in Northern Zambia. She returned to the UK to take a postgraduate diploma in journalism at the London College of Printing, and after a brief stint in that field she realised that fiction was her true love. The Brittle Star is her first novel.

Edward Kelsey Moore

Edward Kelsey Moore lives in Chicago with his partner of many years. Having trained with some of the world's finest musicians, he has travelled widely and recorded extensively during his lengthy career as a professional cellist. Edward's literary work often reflects both his life as a musician and his upbringing as the backsliding son of a Baptist preacher. His short fiction has appeared in several literary magazines and on Public Radio. Like Dora in THE SUPREMES AT EARL'S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT, Edward is also an avid gardener; like Odette, his horticultural projects are not always successful. THE SUPREMES AT EARL'S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT is Edward Kelsey Moore's first novel. Find out more on Edward's website at www.edwardkelseymoore.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/EdwardKelseyMooreauthor and follow him on Twitter @edkmoore.

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.

Eloisa James

After graduating from Harvard University, Eloisa got an M.Phil. from Oxford University, a Ph.D. from Yale and eventually became a Shakespeare professor. Currently she is the Director of Creative Writing in the English Department at Fordham University in New York City. She lives and writes in New Jersey with her husband, a Dante scholar and Italian knight, and their two children.

Fran Cooper

Fran Cooper grew up in London before reading English at Cambridge and Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She spent three years in Paris writing a PhD about travelling eighteenth-century artists, and currently works in the curatorial department of a London museum. These Dividing Walls is her first novel.

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.