Related to: 'Walking in Darkness'

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

Angel of Death

Charlotte Lamb
Authors:
Charlotte Lamb
Hodder & Stoughton

Deep and Silent Waters

Charlotte Lamb
Authors:
Charlotte Lamb
Hodder & Stoughton

In the Still of the Night

Charlotte Lamb
Authors:
Charlotte Lamb
Hodder & Stoughton

Treasons of the Heart

Charlotte Lamb
Authors:
Charlotte Lamb

When Claudia and Ben first meet on the banks of the Seine, the sexual frisson between them is powerful, instantaneous - and mutual. But Claudia quickly begins to suspect that Ben is less interested in her than in her honorary godfather Hugh, the enigmatic Englishman who had been her father's best friend. Then Claudia's apartment is ransacked, and she herself threatened by a pair of sinister thugs. As she flees in terror to Hugh's exquisite villa on the beautiful Cap d'Antibes, Claudia is followed by Ben - and one of her attackers.The solution to the puzzle lies in the dark days of World War II, when Edward, exiled in the South of France with Wallis Simpson, plots deadly treason against his native land.As Claudia struggles to understand the complexities of the past, she must also grapple with her own turbulent feelings: lover or deadly enemy, Ben has caught tight hold of her heart.

D.M. Mark

D.M. Mark is the historical alter ego of David Mark, who was a crime journalist before becoming a novelist. He has written six novels in the McAvoy series: Dark Winter, Original Skin, Sorrow Bound, Taking Pity, Dead Pretty and Cruel Mercy, as well as two McAvoy novellas, A Bad Death and Fire of Lies, which are available in ebook. Dark Winter was selected for the Harrogate New Blood panel and was a Richard & Judy pick and a Sunday Times bestseller. The Zealot's Bones is his first historical crime novel. He chose to delve into the past after deciding that some stories served up by his twisted imagination are just too disturbing to feature in the present. He lives in East Yorkshire and you can find him on Twitter @davidmarkwriter.

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

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly is the author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind 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. Born in London in 1976, she lives in north London with her husband and daughters.www.erinkelly.co.ukwww.twitter.com/mserinkellywww.facebook.com/Erin-Kelly-Author

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.Gerald was interviewed recently on Andrew Marr's Sleuths, Spies and Sorcerers on BBC TV.

James Jackson

James Jackson has written six pervious thrillers including the acclaimed BLOOD ROCK, PILGRIM, REALM and PERDITION (all available from John Murray). His non-fiction works include The Counter-Terrorist Handbook. A former political risk consultant and a postgraduate in military studies, he was called to the Bar, and is a member of the Inner Temple.

John Grisham

John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade, specialising in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987.His next novel, The Firm, spent 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and became the bestselling novel of 1991. Since then, he has written one novel a year, including The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Rainmaker and The Runaway Jury.Today, Grisham has written a collection of stories, a work of non-fiction, three sports novels, five kids' books, and many legal thrillers. His work has been translated into 42 languages. He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Karen Robards

Karen Robards is the internationally bestselling author of over forty romantic suspense novels, which have regularly appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, among others. She is the mother of three boys and lives with her family in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.You can find out more at www.karenrobards.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorKarenRobards or follow her on Twitter @TheKarenRobards.

Liz Ryan

Having been a journalist with Independent Newspapers in Dublin for nearly twenty years, Liz Ryan continues to comment in print and on radio on Irish tourism and current affairs, dividing her time between Ireland and France.

Lucy Dillon

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria. She won the Romantic Novelists' Association Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, and is the bestselling author of four other novels: The Ballroom Class, Walking Back to Happiness, The Secret of Happy Ever After and A Hundred Pieces of Me. Lucy now divides her time between London and the Wye Valley where she enjoys walking in the Malvern Hills with her basset hounds, Violet and Bonham. You can follow her on Twitter @lucy_dillon or on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/LucyDillonBooks.

Meg Hutchinson

Meg Hutchinson lived for sixty years in Wednesbury, where her parents and grandparents spent all their lives. Her passion for storytelling reaped dividends, with her novels regularly appearing in bestseller lists. She was the undisputed queen of the clogs and shawls saga. Passionate about history, her meticulous research provided an authentic context to the action-packed narratives set in the Black Country. She died in February 2010.

Michael Koryta

Michael Koryta's novels have won the LA Times Book Prize and the Great Lakes Book Award and been nominated for the Edgar, Shamus, Quill and Barry awards. A former private investigator and newspaper reporter, he published his first novel at the age of twenty-one. His work has been translated into twenty languages.Visit Michael Koryta's website at www.michaelkoryta.com and follow Michael on Twitter @mjkoryta

Mick Herron

Mick Herron is a novelist and short story writer whose books include the Jackson Lamb series, the first of which - the Steel-Dagger nominated Slow Horses - has been described as the 'most enjoyable British spy novel in years'. The second Jackson Lamb novel, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger, and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of the best 25 crime novels of the past five years. Mick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.

Robyn Young

Robyn Young was born in Oxford and grew up in the Midlands and Devon. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Sussex and lives and writes in Brighton full-time. Her first novel, BRETHREN, was the bestselling hardback debut novel of 2006, with the paperback also going straight into the top ten bestseller list. Two more bestsellers followed, CRUSADE and REQUIEM, completing the Brethren trilogy, which has now sold over a million copies and been translated into nineteen languages.The inspiration for Robyn's new trilogy, which began with INSURRECTION and continues in RENEGADE, grew out of an earlier research trip to Scotland. Robyn explains: 'Day by day, out of the pages of history and the wild landscape, one figure came striding, larger, clearer than all the others - Robert the Bruce. He swept me off my feet and carried me into a story of bitter family feuds, two civil wars and the struggle for the crown. I realised there was no way this character could play a cameo role in another man's story. His tale was too powerful, too intricate and too good to be cut down and boxed to fit.'To find out more about Robyn Young and her historical novels, visit her website at www.robynyoung.com and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RobynYoungAuthor and follow her on Twitter @RobynYoung36

Sarah Lotz

Sarah Lotz is a screenwriter and novelist who pens novels under the name S.L Grey with author Louis Greenberg; YA novels with her daughter, as Lily Herne; and is one third of pseudonymous author Helena S. Paige. Lauren Beukes calls her 'a natural-born storyteller. Like the hand reaching up from the dark well, she'll drag you into her thrall. You'll come up gasping.' Sarah lives in England with her family and other animals.

Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer. Her crime novels have been translated into 34 languages and published in 51 countries. Her psychological thriller The Carrier won the Specsavers National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year in 2013. In 2014 and 2016, Sophie published The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, the first new Hercule Poirot mysteries since Agatha Christie's death, both of which were national and international bestsellers. Sophie's novels The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives have been adapted for television as Case Sensitive, starring Olivia Williams and Darren Boyd. Sophie is also a bestselling poet who has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE and A-level throughout the UK. Sophie is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, two children and dog.

Stephen King

Stephen King is the bestselling author of more than fifty books. His novels include Carrie, The Shining and Revival. His novel Under the Dome is now a major TV series. His novel 11.22.63 won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association.Many of his books have been turned into celebrated films including Misery, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Over the years, King has had various cameo roles in film adaptations of his books as well as playing rhythm guitar in the Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock and roll band made up of some of America's bestselling and best-loved writersHe was the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives with his wife, novelist Tabitha King, in Maine, USA.