Related to: 'Glow'

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.

Sceptre

Madness is Better than Defeat

Ned Beauman
Authors:
Ned Beauman

In 1938, two rival expeditions set off for a lost Mayan temple in the jungles of Honduras, one intending to shoot a screwball comedy on location there, the other intending to disassemble it and ship it back to New York. A seemingly endless stalemate ensues, and twenty years later, when a rogue CIA agent learns that both expeditions are still out in the wilderness, he embarks on a mission to exploit the temple as a geopolitical pawn. But the mission hurtles towards disaster when he discovers that the temple is the locus of grander conspiracies than anyone could have guessed.

Hodder & Stoughton

Boxer, Beetle

Ned Beauman
Authors:
Ned Beauman

Longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the for the Guardian First Book Award, Ned Beauman was chosen by The Culture Show as one of the twelve Best New British Writers in 2011.This is a novel for people with breeding. Only people with the right genes and the wrong impulses will find its marriage of bold ideas and deplorable characters irresistible. It is a novel that engages the mind while satisfying those that crave the thrill of a chase. There are riots and sex. There is love and murder. There is Darwinism and Fascism, nightclubs, invented languages and the dangerous bravado of youth. And there are lots of beetles. It is clever. It is distinctive. It is entertaining. We hope you are too.(P)2013 Hodder & Stoughton

Sceptre

The Teleportation Accident

Ned Beauman
Authors:
Ned Beauman

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

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.

Audrey Howard

Audrey Howard was born in Liverpool in 1929. Before she began to write she had a variety of jobs, among them hairdresser, model, shop assistant, cleaner and civil servant. In 1981, while living in Australia, she wrote the first of her bestselling novels. Here fourth novel, The Juniper Bush, won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 1988.She lives in St Anne's on Sea, her childhood home.

Belva Plain

Belva Plain's first novel, EVERGREEN, was published in 1978 and became an international bestseller. Over the course of a career spanning three decades she published over twenty bestselling novels in 22 languages. She died at the age of ninety five in 2010.

Ben Bova

An award-winning editor, President Emeritus of the National Space Society and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, Ben Bova is also the author of more than one hundred futuristic novels and non-fiction 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.

Fiona Gibson

Fiona Gibson is a freelance journalist who has written for many publications including the Observer, the Guardian, Red and Marie Claire and has a regular column on parenting in the Sunday Herald. She was previously the editor of More! magazine. She is the mother of three small children (including twin boys) and lives in Lanarkshire. Her website can be found at www.fionagibson.com

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.

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.

Jake Arnott

Jake Arnott was born in 1961, and lives in London. He is the author of THE LONG FIRM, published by Sceptre in 1999 and subsequently made into an acclaimed BBC TV series. His second novel, HE KILLS COPPERS, was also made into a series by Channel 4. He has since published the novels TRUECRIME, JOHNNY COME HOME, THE DEVIL'S PAINTBRUSH and THE HOUSE OF RUMOUR.

Jen Campbell

JEN CAMPBELL is an award-winning poet and short story writer. She is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series and The Bookshop Book. She won an Eric Gregory Award for poetry in 2016 and has been a judge for the Costa and Somerset Maugham awards. Her children's picture book series about a dragon called Franklin is published by Thames and Hudson. Having worked as a bookseller for ten years, Jen is a respected and influential book vlogger with almost 30,000 subscribers. Born in the north-east of England, she now lives in London. And she is a little bit obsessed with the darker side of fairy tales.

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.

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 Campbell

Karen Campbell is a former police officer who lives in Glasgow with her family. She began writing in earnest on the renowned Glasgow University Creative Writing course.www.karencampbell.co.ukwww.twitter.com/writerkcampbell

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.

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.