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

What do you do when you overhear a murder? You call the police. But what happens if the police send you straight into the danger . . .'A potent mixture of murder, mystery and intrigue . . . you simply won't be able to put the book down'Woman's RealmStill mourning the death of her husband, Miranda remains haunted by Alex Manoussi, the enigmatic Greek man who rescued her from the same cruel sea that had claimed Tom. But when Alex turns up at her boss's party, she irrationally fears his appearance heralds another disaster. And she's not wrong.Miranda witnesses a brutal murder and is forced into hiding for her own protection. The job in a luxury hotel on the idyllic Greek island of Delephores seems heaven sent. But this Eden contains a serpent. Can it be mere coincidence that Alex is there, too? Is more death on the horizon? And if so, could it be Miranda next?

Hodder & Stoughton

Deep and Silent Waters

Charlotte Lamb
Authors:
Charlotte Lamb

Infatuation can make you do the stupidest things. Like risk your very life . . . Laura would never have gone to Venice if she had known she would meet Sebastian Ferrese there - the enigmatic film director that she has been fighting her attraction towards. However, 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. But death seems to follow Sebastian around - and by the time Laura begins to suspect that he is no innocent bystander she might just be in too deep . . .

Hodder & Stoughton

In the Still of the Night

Charlotte Lamb
Authors:
Charlotte Lamb

Annie Lang, star of the TV police drama The Force, is a character known to millions. Men want to protect her; women want to be her friend. But the actress with the innocent face harbours her own terrible secret. Two very different men dominated Annie's past and both of them vanished eight years ago. Since that fateful night, ambition has driven Annie to the top. Now at the peak of her success, she has everything she has ever wanted except love. And then one day love begins to stalk her . . .How is this connected to what happened eight years ago? What else does Annie's perfect façade hide? And, after all this time, will love bring about Annie's end?

Hodder & Stoughton

Treasons of the Heart

Charlotte Lamb
Authors:
Charlotte Lamb

LOVEWhen Claudia and Ben first meet on the banks of the Seine, the attraction between them is powerful, instantaneous and mutual. For Claudia, life is looking up.DANGERBut then Claudia's apartment is ransacked, and she herself threatened by a pair of sinister thugs. Fleeing in terror to her godfather's exquisite villa on the beautiful Cap d'Antibes, Claudia is followed there by Ben - and one of her attackers.DEATHIs Ben all he seems? Why is Claudia a target? As Claudia struggles to understand what is happening, she must also grapple with her own feelings. Because lover or deadly enemy, Ben has caught tight hold of her heart.

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

Fiona Mitchell

Fiona Mitchell is an award-winning writer and has worked as a journalist for many years. She spent almost three years living in Singapore and now lives in London with her husband and daughter. The Maid's Room is her first novel.

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.

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, has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2, and writes a column for the Telegraph. He is the winner of eight 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.

Helen Chandler

Helen Chandler read English at Oxford University before working as a general manager in various NHS organisations. She lives in East London with her husband and daughter. Her first novel, TWO FOR JOY, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Contemporary Romance award, 2013.You can visit Helen's website at www.helenchandler.co.uk to find out more or read her blog, or follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/HelenLChandler.

Irene Carr

Irene Carr was born and brought up on the river in Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, in the 1930s. As her father and brother worked in the local shipyards and her mother was a barmaid at the beginning of the century she was well acquainted with the setting and times of the world she recreated in her sagas. Irene Carr died in 2006.

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 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.

Julia Bryant

Julia Bryant was born in Portsmouth: her step-father and husband both served in the Navy. She trained as a nurse, then after her three children grew up, earned an honours B.A. in English and history. She and her husband now live in Portsmouth once more. Visit her website at www.juliabryant-online.com.

Julian Stockwin

Julian Stockwin was sent at the age of fourteen to Indefatigable, a tough sea-training school. He joined the Royal Navy at fifteen before transferring to the Royal Australian Navy, where he served for eight years in the Far East, Antarctic waters and the South Seas. In Vietnam he saw active service in a carrier task force. After leaving the Navy (rated Petty Officer), Julian practised as an educational psychologist. He lived for some time in Hong Kong, where he was commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve. He was awarded the MBE and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He now lives in Devon with his wife Kathy. More information can be found on his website at www.julianstockwin.com.

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.

Kate Fenton

Kate Fenton was born in Oldham and educated in Cheshire, Manchester and St Hilda's College, Oxford. As a BBC features and documentaries producer she worked for Radio Wales, the World Service and Radio 4. She lives on the North York Moors with her husband, actor Ian Carmichael. To find out more, visit Kate's website, www.katefenton.com.

Katie Marsh

Katie lives in London with her family. Before being published she worked in healthcare, and her novels are inspired by the bravery of the people she met in hospitals and clinics across the country. Her first novel My Everything is a 2018 World Book Night pick, and her second A Life Without You was a huge e-book bestseller. Her fourth novel The Rest of Me is out this summer in e-book, audio and paperback. She loves strong coffee, the promise of a blank page and stealing her husband's toast. When not writing, she spends her time fruitlessly pursuing her children in various local parks. You can contact Katie on Twitter (@marshisms) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/katiemarshauthor), or via her website (www.katie-marsh.com).

Laini Taylor

Hi! I write fantasy books. My latest is STRANGE THE DREAMER, about a young librarian, a mythic lost city, and the half-human children of murdered gods. Check it out :-) Before that I wrote the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE trilogy, which has been translated into 32 languages. It's about a blue-haired art student raised by monsters, a broken angel, and a war that has raged for 1000 years in another world. I also wrote LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES, which was a National Book Award finalist, and the DREAMDARK books. As well as various short stories and novellas. Thanks for reading!! www.lainitaylor.com; @lainitaylor