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

Laura would never have gone to Venice if she had known she would meet Sebastian Ferrese there: for the past three years, she has fought her attraction to the enigmatic film director and has no wish to lay herself open to temptation again.But her nomination for an award at the Film Festival proves too much of an enticement - and when Laura sees Sebastian, she finds herself swept up in his overwhelming magnetism once more. It is a dangerous infatuation, for death seems to follow Sebastian around - and Laura begins to suspect that he is no innocent bystander . . .

Hodder & Stoughton

In the Still of the Night

Charlotte Lamb
Authors:
Charlotte Lamb
Hodder & Stoughton

Treasons of the Heart

Charlotte Lamb
Authors:
Charlotte Lamb

David Mark

David spent more than fifteen years as a journalist, including seven years as a crime reporter with the Yorkshire Post - walking the Hull streets that would later become the setting for the Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy novels. 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 a McAvoy novella, A Bad Death, which is available as an ebook. Dark Winter was selected for the Harrogate New Blood panel and was a Richard & Judy pick and a Sunday Times bestseller. He lives in Lincolnshire, and you can find him on Twitter @davidmarkwriter.

Elodie Harper

Elodie Harper is a journalist and prize winning short story writer. Her story 'Wild Swimming' won the Guardian-Hodder The Bazaar of Bad Dreams story competition as judged by Stephen King. She is currently a reporter and presenter at ITV News Anglia, and before that worked as a producer for Channel 4 News. She is married with a young son.

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 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/mserinkelly

Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than a dozen novels, including Sunset and Sawdust, Rumble Tumble and The Bottoms. He has received the British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, the Edgar Award, the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, and seven Bram Stoker Awards. He lives with his family in Nacogdoches, Texas. Visit his website at www.joerlansdale.com, follow him on Twitter @joelansdale or find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JoeRLansdale.

John Connolly

John Connolly is author of the Charlie Parker mysteries, The Book of Lost Things, the Samuel Johnson novels for young adults and, with his partner, Jennifer Ridyard, co-author of the Chronicles of the Invaders. John Connolly's debut - EVERY DEAD THING - introduced the character of Private Investigator Charlie Parker, and swiftly launched him right into the front rank of thriller writers. All his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers. He was the winner of the 2016 CWA Short Story Dagger for On the Anatomization of an Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier from NIGHT MUSIC: Nocturnes Vol 2.In 2007 he was awarded the Irish Post Award for Literature. He was the first non-American writer to win the US Shamus award and the first Irish writer to win an Edgar award. BOOKS TO DIE FOR, which he edited with Declan Burke, was the winner of the 2013 Anthony, Agatha and Macavity awards for Best Non-Fiction work.

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.

Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes was born in 1969 and brought up in London. A journalist and writer, she worked for the Independent until 2001. She lives in East Anglia with her husband and three children.Jojo has twice won the Romantic Novelists' Association Novel of the Year Award: in 2011 for The Last Letter From Your Lover and in 2003 for Foreign Fruit. The Ship of Brides and Silver Bay were shortlisted for the 2005 and 2007 RNA award and Silver Bay was shortlisted for the inaugural Good Housekeeping 2007 Book of the Year award. You can read Jojo's blog or find out more from her website, www.jojomoyes.com, follow her on Twitter @jojomoyes or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jojo.moyes.

Karen Ellis

Karen Ellis is the pseudonym of Katia Lief, the author of several internationally bestselling crime novels, including The Money Kill, the fourth installment of her Karin Schaeffer series published in 2013 and nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She teaches fiction writing at The New School in Manhattan and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

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.

Lisa Jackson

LISA JACKSON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than seventy-five novels, including Ready to Die, Afraid to Die, You Don't Want to Know, Running Scared, Without Mercy, Malice and Shiver. She has over twenty million copies of her books in print in nineteen languages. She lives with her family and a rambunctious pug in the Pacific Northwest. Find out more atwww.lisajackson.comwww.facebook.com/lisajacksonfanswww.twitter.com/readlisajackson

Marco Vichi

Marco Vichi was born in Florence in 1957. The author of twelve novels and two collections of short stories, he has also edited crime anthologies, written screenplays, music lyrics and for radio, and collaborated on and directed various projects for humanitarian causes.His novel Death in Florence won the Scerbanenco, Rieti, Camaiore and Azzeccagarbugli prizes in Italy. Marco Vichi lives in the Chianti region of Tuscany.You can find out more at www.marcovichi.it.

Mick Herron

Mick Herron's first Jackson Lamb novel, Slow Horses, was described as the 'most enjoyable British spy novel in years' by the Mail on Sunday and picked as one of the best twenty spy novels of all time by the Daily Telegraph. The second, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger. The third, Real Tigers, was shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and both the CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger and the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. The fourth, Spook Street, was shortlisted for the Gold Dagger and won the Steel Dagger. London Rules is the fifth.Mick Herron was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.

Mons Kallentoft

Mons Kallentoft grew up in a working-class household in the provincial town of Linkoping, Sweden, where the Malin Fors series is set. Before becoming a writer, he worked in journalism and is also a keen food critic. His first novel, Pesetas, was awarded the Swedish equivalent of the Whitbread Award. He has been married to Karolina for over 20 years, and they live in Stockholm with their daughter and son.His novels are translated into English by Neil Smith.Visit Mons' website at www.monskallentoft.se and his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MonsKallentoft and follow him on Twitter @Kallentoft

Paul Crilley

Paul Crilley is a Scotsman adrift in South Africa and has been writing professionally for the past 17 years. In that time he has worked on over thirteen television shows, one of which was nominated for an international Emmy award. He has worked with Fox Television, written ten novels, worked on five computer games, and is currently making his way in the comic book field. (He conceptualized the entire story and wrote three issues of the six issue comic book mini-series, X-Files: Conspiracy, where he had to come up with a story that brought The Transformers, Ghostbusters, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Crow into one coherent story.He recently completed an X-Files novella and a Hardy Boys novel. Poison City is his debut adult novel.

Pierce Brown

PIERCE BROWN spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling Red Rising trilogy (Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star), and the next novel in the Red Rising universe, Iron Gold, is publishing January 2018.

Sabine Durrant

Sabine Durrant is the author of three psychological thrillers, Under Your Skin, Remember Me This Way and Lie With Me, a Richard & Judy Bookclub selection and Sunday Times paperback bestseller. Her previous novels are Having It and Eating It and The Great Indoors, and two books for teenage girls, Cross Your Heart, Connie Pickles and Ooh La La! Connie Pickles. She is a former features editor of the Guardian and a former literary editor at the Sunday Times, and her writing has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines. She lives in south London with her partner and their three children.