Related to: 'The Life of Reilly'

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

Father Frank

Paul Burke
Authors:
Paul Burke
Hodder & Stoughton

The Man Who Fell In Love With His Wife

Paul Burke
Authors:
Paul Burke

Newly-wed Frank Dempsey, a former Catholic priest, can now luxuriate in the sublime joys of his wife's arms.Yet Frank isn't really off-duty from charitable deeds - when he isn't driving his black cab for a local taxi firm, he is in hot demand to speak at christenings and funerals. Or to inspire people to flock to the dancefloor as a DJ.Frank soon discovers that the tempting sins of the flesh have consequences; when Frank becomes a real father, he realises he is going to need a miracle to feed the five thousand...

Hodder Paperbacks

Untorn Tickets

Paul Burke
Authors:
Paul Burke

Dave and Andy are two classmates from a strict Catholic School in 70s London. Dave is desperate to escape his stifling Irish home life and Andy the cultural trappings of his traditional Polish family. Both dream of opportunitiesafforded to the strangers on the silver screen. And by chance, they end up working part-time in their local cinema in Notting Hill.They soon discover that being heroes of their own lives and impressing the stars on the ground is a challenge. They embark on a voyage of discovery far more exciting than anything they've seen on film. But when the cinema is threatened with closure, they realise that more than their new found freedom is at risk...

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.

Alyson Richman

Alyson Richman is the author of The Mask Carver's Son, Swedish Tango, The Last Van Gogh and THE LOST WIFE. The daughter of a painter and an engineer, Richman's novels combine a love of art and research, and have been published in more than ten languages. She lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and two children.www.alysonrichman.comwww.twitter.com/alysonrichman

Amor Towles

Amor Towles has written fiction which has appeared in The Paris Review. He lives in New York.www.amortowles.comwww.facebook.com/AmorTowles

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.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and greeted as the debut of an outstanding new writer. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign novel published in Italy.It has been followed by Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, One Morning Like A Bird, Pure, which won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2011, and The Crossing.Andrew Miller's novels have been published in translation in twenty countries. Born in Bristol in 1960, he currently lives in Somerset.

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.

Chris Ryan

Former SAS corporal and the only man to escape death or capture during the Bravo Two Zero operation in the 1991 Gulf War, Chris Ryan turned to writing thrillers to tell the stories the Official Secrets Act stops him putting in his non-fiction. His novels have gone on to inspire the Sky One series Strike Back. Born near Newcastle in 1961, Chris Ryan joined the SAS in 1984. During his ten years there he was involved in overt and covert operations and was also sniper team commander of the anti-terrorist team. During the Gulf War, Chris Ryan was the only member of an eight-man unit to escape from Iraq, where three colleagues were killed and four captured. It was the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS. For this he was awarded the Military Medal. He wrote about his experiences in the bestseller The One That Got Away, which was adapted for screen, and since then has written three other works of non-fiction, over twenty bestselling novels and a series of childrens' books.

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind, He Said/She Said, Stone Mothers and Broadchurch: The Novel, inspired by the mega-hit TV series. In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama and was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011. He Said/She Said spent six weeks in the top ten in both hardback and paperback, was longlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier crime novel of the year award, and selected for both the Simon Mayo Radio 2 and Richard & Judy Book Clubs. She has worked as a freelance journalist since 1998 and written for the Guardian, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, New Statesman, Red, Elle, Cosmopolitan and The Pool. Born in London in 1976, she lives in north London with her husband and daughters. erinkelly.co.uk twitter.com/mserinkelly

Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert was born in 1920. His colourful and varied career included stints as a radio news commentator and jungle survival instructor. He is best known for creating the world of DUNE, which became the bestselling science fiction novel of all time. It won great acclaim, as well as the Hugo and Nebula awards, establishing Frank Herbert as a master of modern science fiction. He died in 1986. His son, Brian Herbert, has now begun a new series of Dune novels, Prelude to Dune in collaboration with Kevin J. Anderson . The first novel to appear in the new series is House Atreides, published by Hodder & Stoughton.www.dunenovels.com

Gerald Seymour

Gerald Seymour exploded onto the literary scene in 1975 with the massive bestseller HARRY'S GAME. The first major thriller to tackle the modern troubles in Northern Ireland, it was described by Frederick Forsyth as 'like nothing else I have ever read' and it changed the landscape of the British thriller forever.Gerald Seymour was a reporter at ITN for fifteen years. He covered events in Vietnam, Borneo, Aden, the Munich Olympics, Israel and Northern Ireland. He has been a full-time writer since 1978.

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.

Gloria Hunniford

Gloria Hunniford was the first woman to have her own daily show on BBC Radio 2 and went on to present Holiday, Songs of Praise and most recently The Heaven and Earth Show. Her daughter Caron Keating died of breast cancer in 2004. Gloria set up the Caron Keating Foundation to raise money for people affected by cancer. She lives with her second husband Stephen in Sevenoaks, Kent.

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.

Jack Hight

Jack Hight has a doctorate in history from the University of Chicago. He lives with his wife, daughter and dog in Washington, DC. Hight is the author of three acclaimed previous novels: Siege, and the first and second in the Saladin Trilogy: Eagle and Kingdom. You can find out more about Jack Hight and his writing and read his blogs at www.jackhight.com.

Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde spent twenty years in the film business before debuting on the New York Times bestseller list with The Eyre Affair in 2001. Since then he has written another twelve novels, including the Number One Sunday Times bestseller One of our Thursdays is Missing, and the Last Dragonslayer series, adapted for television by Sky.Fforde lives and works in his adopted nation of Wales. Visit Jasper's website, www.jasperfforde.com, find him on Facebook, www.facebook.com/jasperffordebooks, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasperfforde.

Jessie Greengrass

Jessie Greengrass was born in 1982. She studied philosophy in Cambridge and London. An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It won the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award, and was shortlisted for the PFD/Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. Sight is her first novel and was shortlistd for the Women's Prize for Fiction.

John Ajvide Lindqvist

John Ajvide Lindqvist is a Swedish author, born in 1968. He grew up in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm. He wanted to become something awful and fantastic. First he became a conjurer and came in second in the Nordic card trick championship. Then he was a stand-up comedian for twelve years, before writing Let the Right One In. That novel became a phenomenal international bestseller and was made into a film and a West End play, both called Let Me In. His books are published in twenty-nine countries worldwide.