Related to: 'The Lost Daughter'

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

Cornish Girl

Joanna Hines
Authors:
Joanna Hines
Hodder & Stoughton

Puritan's Wife

Joanna Hines
Authors:
Joanna Hines
Hodder & Stoughton

Dora's Room

Joanna Hines
Authors:
Joanna Hines
Hodder & Stoughton

Fifth Secret

Joanna Hines
Authors:
Joanna Hines

In a cottage by the river, five children amuse themselves with games of secrecy and murder. Years later, one of them is dead, another has been mysteriously attacked and a third has vanished. The fourth, Jane Baer, receives a phone call, which sends her off on a painful journey into the past.

Hodder & Stoughton

Autumn of Strangers

Joanna Hines
Authors:
Joanna Hines

Caroline and Lydia couldn't be more different. Caroline is careful and tidy, with four children; Lydia is single and seemingly out of control. When travellers move into a nearby field, a line is drawn through the village and the women seem to be on opposite sides of it. It changes their lives.

Alison Jean Lester

Alison Jean Lester was born to an American father and a British mother, and educated in the US, the UK, China and Italy. She spent twenty-five years working, writing and raising her children in Japan and Singapore before relocating to the UK in 2016. She is the author of the novel Lillian on Life and has had short stories published in Ecotone, Good Housekeeping, Synaesthesia and Barrelhouse.

Amy Jenkins

Born and brought up in London, Amy Jenkins went to Westminster and University College London where she read law. As the creator of THIS LIFE (BBC2), she has won fans in the millions. Her other credits include: BLINK, a short film for Channel 4 films and ELEPHANT JUICE, her first feature shot by Miramax. Film rights in Amy's first novel Honeymoon have been sold to Columbia Pictures.

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 eighty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards, and Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

Anthony Riches

Anthony Riches began his lifelong interest in war and soldiers when he first heard his father's stories about World War II. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become Wounds of Honour after a visit to Housesteads in 1996. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.www.anthonyriches.comwww.twitter.com/AnthonyRiches

Ciara Geraghty

Ciara Geraghty is the author of five novels: Now That I've Found You, Saving Grace, Becoming Scarlett, Finding Mr Flood and Lifesaving for Beginners. She lives in Dublin with her husband, three children and dog.You can find out more at www.ciarageraghty.com, visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/CiaraGeraghtyBooks, or follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/ciarageraghty.

Colleen Houck

Formerly a student at the University of Arizona Colleen Houck has worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years. Tiger`s Curse is her first book, which has already received literary praise and digital success. Her self-published eBook claimed the no.1 spot on Kindle`s children`s best-seller list for seven weeks. She lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a white stuffed tiger. Find out more on www.tigerscurse.com and connect with Colleen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ColleenHouck.

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

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.

Graham Norton

Graham Norton is one of the UK's best loved broadcasters. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1 and has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2. He is the winner of nine BAFTA awards. Born in Dublin and raised in West Cork, Norton now lives in London. His debut novel Holding was a commercial and critical success, winning Norton the Irish Independent Popular Fiction award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards in 2016.

Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth is a writer, performer, former MP and government whip whose career has ranged from hosting Have I Got News For You to starring in his own award-winning musical revue in London's West End. Currently a reporter with The One Show on BBC1 and a regular on Radio 4's Just a Minute, his acclaimed Victorian detective stories - THE OSCAR WILDE MURDER MYSTERIES - are now being published in nineteen countries around the world and are currently in development for TV. All six books in the series, OSCAR WILDE AND THE CANDLELIGHT MURDERS, OSCAR WILDE AND THE RING OF DEATH, OSCAR WILDE AND THE DEAD MAN'S SMILE, OSCAR WILDE AND THE NEST OF VIPERS, OSCAR WILDE AND THE VATICAN MURDERS and OSCAR WILDE AND THE MURDERS AT READING GAOL are available from John Murray. You can find out more about the Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries at www.oscarwildemurdermysteries.com and about Gyles Brandreth at www.gylesbrandreth.net

Henry Normal

Henry Normal is an English comedian, television producer, poet and writer. He co-wrote The Royle Family, The Mrs Merton Show, Paul and Pauline Calf's Video Diaries, Coogan's Run, The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon, Dr Terrible's House of Horrible and The Parole Officer. He is Managing Director of Baby Cow Productions Ltd, which he set up with Steve Coogan, responsible for bringing The Mighty Boosh and Gavin and Stacey to the screen, amongst many others.

Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne is a bestselling author. She is passionate about gender equality and mental health. How Do You Like Me Now? is her debut adult novel.

James Treadwell

James Treadwell was born, brought up and educated within a mile of the Thames, and has spent much of his life further reducing the distance between him and the river. He studied and taught for more than a decade near the crossing at Folly Bridge, Oxford, and now lives within sight of the Tideway in West London.

Jamie Kornegay

Jamie Kornegay is an independent bookseller in Greenwood Mississippi, where he lives with his wife and three children. He started the Turnrow Book Co in 2006. Prior to that he was events coordinator and radio show producer for the renowned Square Books in Oxford Miss.Soil is his first novel. turnrowbooks.comfacebook.com/turnrowbookstwitter.com/JamieKornegay

Joann Fletcher

Professor Joann Fletcher is based in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, where she teaches world mummification and funerary archaeology. She is also Consultant Egyptologist for Harrogate Museums and Arts and archaeology advisor to Barnsley and Wigan museums. Joann is the author of nine books and numerous articles including contributions to the BBC's History website. Among her many television appearances, the follow-up programme to 'The Search For Nefertiti' (televised as 'Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret') won a BAFTA, a Royal Television Society Award and an Association for International Broadcasting Award. She wrote and presented 'Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings' and 'Egypt's Lost Queens' for BBC2, and has recently completed a four-part series on the history of ancient Egypt again for BBC2.