Related to: 'Untitled 3'

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

The Reaction

Helena Coggan
Authors:
Helena Coggan

'The next J. K. Rowling' Today Programme, USAThe Reaction is the explosive sequel to Helena Coggan's stunning debut The Catalyst.For the first time in her life, fifteen-year-old Rose Elmsworth is alone. Her father, David, has been imprisoned and disgraced, a death sentence almost certain. She has been rejected by the Department, the amoral law-enforcement agency in which she grew up. Most dangerous of all is the terrible secret she and her father have been keeping all her life: if exposed, it has the power to destroy her. But Rose cannot stay hidden forever. Around her, the world is changing faster than either she or the Department can stop it. The laws which have for years maintained peace between magicals and non-magicals are breaking down, and two rival militias are gathering on the streets to prepare for a devastating war. As deeper, darker elements of her father's past emerge, Rose begins to understand that the rules of good and evil in which she has always believed will not protect her anymore.In a world of monsters, how long can trust, loyalty and justice survive? And how much will Rose herself have to change to stay alive?

Hodder & Stoughton

The Catalyst

Helena Coggan
Authors:
Helena Coggan

Rose Elmsworth has a secret. For eighteen years, the world has been divided into the magically Gifted and the non-magical Ashkind, but Rose's identity is far more dangerous. At fifteen, she has earned herself a place alongside her father in the Department, a brutal law-enforcement organisation run by the Gifted to control the Ashkind. But now an old enemy is threatening to start a catastrophic war, and Rose faces a challenging test of her loyalties. How much does she really know about her father's past? How far is the Department willing to go to keep the peace? And, if the time comes, will Rose choose to protect her secret, or the people she loves?

Adélaïde de Clermont-Tonnerre

This is Adélaïde de Clermont-Tonnerre's second novel. Her first, Fourrure, won five literary prizes in France. Le Dernier des Nôtres was the winner of both the Académie Francaise Grand Prix du Roman and the 2016 inaugural Filigranes prize, awarded to the book with the widest general appeal. It was on the longlist for the 2016 Renaudot prize, on the shortlist of four for the 2016 Landerneau prize, longlisted for the Prix de Flore.

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 sixty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards. Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006, and The Trader's Wife is on the shortlist for the 2012 award.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

David Mitchell

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

Hannah Coates

Hannah Coates has always loved dogs - she grew up surrounded by pooches, and now has two of her own. She loves all dogs, but beagles remain her favourite.

Helena Coggan

Helena Coggan wrote the first draft of her debut novel, The Catalyst, when she was thirteen. It was published two years later and was named as one of 2015's Debuts of the Year by the Guardian and Amazon, and featured by The Sunday Times, the Observer, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Daily Metro, the Sunday Express, Radio 4, NBC, and BBC Breakfast. Up until she started writing it, she spent most of her time waiting for her Hogwarts letter to arrive, or for the Tardis to appear in her garden; she would like to pretend she has stopped doing this now, but doubts she ever will. She lives in London with her parents and sister, and spends most of her time suppressing the thought that she should probably be doing her homework. The Reaction, the sequel to The Catalyst, is her second novel.

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-four internationally bestselling novels, including My Sister's Keeper, House Rules and The Storyteller, and has also co-written two YA books with her daughter Samantha van Leer, Between the Lines and Off the Page. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. Jodi's UK website is www.jodipicoult.co.uk and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/JodiPicoultUK and twitter.com/jodipicoult. She also has a YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/JodiPicoultOfficial.

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.

Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver captivated readers with her achingly beautiful first novel, BEFORE I FALL. She followed that up with her bestselling young adult Delirium Trilogy and three adult novels. Her newest book, REPLICA, is out in late 2016.She is also the author of three novels for young readers, including the CURIOSITY HOUSE series. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.Find more information at www.laurenoliverbooks.com, or connect with Lauren on Twitter (/OliverBooks) and on Facebook (/laurenoliverbooks).

Lisa Bullard

Lisa Bullard is a Minneaopolis-based children's book writer with over 60 published books, ranging from picture books to chapter books to nonfiction titles. Her work has won numerous awards, including those from Teacher's Choice and the Children's Book Council. She is also a well-known and popular creative writing teacher and mentor, running courses at The Loft, one of America's most prestigious and successful creative writing centres.

Louise Welsh

Louise Welsh is the author of eight novels including The Cutting Room, A Lovely Way to Burn and Death is a Welcome Guest. She has received numerous awards and international fellowships, including an Honorary Doctor of Arts from Edinburgh Napier University and an honorary fellowship from the University of Iowa's International Writing Program. Louise Welsh is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.

New International Version

The New International Version is the world's most popular modern English Bible translation. Developed by Biblica, formerly the International Bible Society, the New International Version is the result of years of work by the Committee on Bible Translation, overseeing the efforts of many contributing scholars. The translators are drawn from a wide range of denominations and from various countries and they continually review new research in order to ensure the NIV remains at the forefront of accessibility, relevance and authority.www.hodderbibles.co.uk www.facebook.com/NIVBibles

Noel Barber

Noel Barber has enchanted millions of readers with his six bestselling novels. In these powerfully exotic novels he drew upon his own experience as one of the leading foreign correspondents from the 40s to the 60s working on the Daily Mail. He was the first Briton to reach the South Pole since Scott, was stabbed five times while covering the wars in Morocco and was shot during the Hungarian uprising. He died in 1988.

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.

Paula McGrath

Paula McGrath lives in Dublin. Her first novel, Generation, was published in 2015. She has a background in English Literature and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Limerick. In another life she was a yoga teacher.

Phillip Lewis

Phillip Lewis was born and raised in a small town called West Jefferson in the mountains of North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later received a law degree from Campbell University. While his law practice is based in downtown Charlotte, much of his work has been in the western part of North Carolina, in the mountains.

Rosamunde Pilcher

Rosamunde Pilcher has had a long and distinguished career as a novelist and short story writer, but it was her phenomenally successful novel, The Shell Seekers, that captured the hearts of all who read it, and won her international recognition as one of the best-loved storytellers of our time. It was voted one of UK's top 100 novels in the BBC's Big Read in 2003. Her bestselling novels, September, Coming Home and Winter Solstice were made into television films. She was awarded an O.B.E for services to literature in 2002 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Dundee University in 2010.

Ruth Hogan

Ruth Hogan is the author of The Keeper of Lost Things, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and a WHSmith Travel 'Fresh Talent' selection. A #1 word-of-mouth hit with more than a quarter of a million copies sold, the book is currently being published in more than 20 countries around the world. The Particular Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, Ruth's second novel, will be published by Two Roads in Spring 2018.She lives in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and her long-suffering husband.ruthhogan.co.uktwitter | instagram | facebook > ruthmariehogan