Related to: 'Random Winds'

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 Sight of the Stars

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

The Sight of the Stars chronicles four generations of the remarkable Anring family as they journey across a teeming canvas of history, through world wars and the close of a century, through years of love, loss, sacrifice and unimaginable betrayal. It is about what happens when we dare to dream, and the moments that can change families forever.

Hodder & Stoughton

Crossroads

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain
Hodder & Stoughton

Looking Back

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain
Hodder & Stoughton

Her Father's House

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

Donald and Lillian were never a match made in heaven, but they have a child, Tina, and she is the love of Donald's heart.For her he would give up everything: his home, his work and even his freedom. When his marriage fails, he does just that.A chance meeting with a stranger on a train changes his life - and his daughter's - in ways he could never have imagined.From her earliest years Tina is exceptional, a brilliant student and a joyous person with a loving spirit. At university she falls in love with Gilbert who, three years older than she, graduates from law school just as she is about to enter medical school. Together they go to New York, where they learn a truth about Donald that shatters Tina's regard for the father who has for so long protected and cherished her.When a terrible lie has been told for love, can it be forgiven?

Hodder & Stoughton

Fortune's Hand

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

Rob McDaniels, a schoolteacher with noble intentions, comes into a little money, enabling him to go to law school. Upon graduation he goes to work for a fine honourable firm and marries the daughter of the senior partner, leaving behind the hometown girl he had planned to marry. From then on his career brings him enormous successes but then takes a shocking turn that changes his life and the life of his family, and reverberates into the next generation.With the magic of a born storyteller, bestselling author Belva Plain unfolds the devastating tale of a man whose dreams come true. Fortune's Hand is a novel of temptation, betrayal and greed - and of the redeeming power of love.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Carousel

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

In public, Oliver Grey is a devoted father, prominent public figure and respected businessman. But in private, he has a much darker side.On a visit to her brother Dan's house, Oliver's niece Amanda sees a silver carousel much like the one her uncle gave her as a child. When Amanda breaks down and reveals a troubling link between her niece Caroline, her uncle Oliver and the silver carousel, events take a dangerous turn. Horrified by the revelations, Dan's wife Ellen visits Oliver's home to confront him. And when she leaves, Oliver is dead.But with one son mired in gambling debts and a desperately troubled niece, finding the person behind Oliver's death might not be as simple as it seems.

Hodder & Stoughton

Legacy of Silence

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

Caroline Hartzinger flees wartime Europe with a shattered life and a devastating secret. Pregnant and unwed, she arrives in America in 1939. Joel Hirsch offers marriage and respectability, hoping one day to earn her love, if not the passion she feels for a man whose memory haunts them both. With Joel, Caroline builds a new life, determined to bury the past - until her daughter Eve brings Caroline's carefully crafted world crashing down again, driven by rage to discover the truth. Now the legacy that has tainted lives and put generations at risk is Eve's secret to keep. But with it comes a gift - a new sister who offers hope, and a truth that will finally break the hold of the past.

Hodder & Stoughton

Secrecy

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

First came the sin. Then the lies.He was handsome, charming, irresistable, and an eighteen-year-old lady-killer, her uncle Cliff's stepson, Ted. But in one terrible night he would shatter the life of fourteen-year-old Charlotte Dawes and nearly destroy her family. Years afterward, Charlotte would remember that night with fear and loathing, with pain that could be banished only by her work as a gifted architect, building a new world for others as she conceals her own.For Charlotte's family, prime employers in New England mill town, what happened to Charlotte was the beginning of the end. Her father is left shattered by his daughter's pain. Her troubled mother is unable to cope. And her distinguished family has fallen from grace, plunged into debt. The only rock that sustains them in their darkest hours is a woman whose own guilty secret has given her the power to ruin--or resurrect--the family to whom she owes her life.Belva Plain's searing novel cuts to the heart of a family ravaged by secrecy. But it is ultimately a story of redemption, the kind that grows when one person dares to tell the truth.

Hodder & Stoughton

Promises

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

With three children, a beautiful home and her loving husband Adam, Margaret Crane is a woman many would envy. When Adam begins working late at the office, Margaret is sure it's just the rumoured takeover of his company - until she meets Randi, the other woman.As the life Margaret knows comes crashing down, her adopted daughter Nina revels in New York. Nina is sure she's found Mr. Right in Keith, a brilliant investment banker. But Keith has a secret he hasn't told Nina.As Nina clings to stolen weekends with Keith and Margaret plays the dutiful wife, a rift develops between the two women. Keith is not welcome in Margaret's home. And Nina herself is the other woman...

Hodder & Stoughton

Daybreak

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain
Hodder & Stoughton

Evergreen

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

A magnificent story of courage and ambition. Born into poverty and fear, Anna Friedman is desperate to leave her native Poland. Determined to make something of herself, Anna takes a journey that will change her life forever. Crossing the ocean, she moves to into a cramped New York slum and finds a job in a sweatshop. When two very different men fall in love with her, Anna is torn in love and loyalty.

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After the Fire

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain
Hodder & Stoughton

Homecoming

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

Alexander Armstrong

Alexander Armstrong is a presenter, comedian and actor and part of the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller. He presents the hit BBC show Pointless with Richard Osman. As well as regular appearances on panel shows such as Have I Got News For You, he also presents a show on Classic FM and writes a column for the Telegraph.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and greeted as the debut of an outstanding new writer. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign novel published in Italy.It has been followed by Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, One Morning Like A Bird, Pure, which won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2011, and The Crossing.Andrew Miller's novels have been published in translation in twenty countries. Born in Bristol in 1960, he currently lives in Somerset.

Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor is a British crime and historical novelist, winner of the Cartier Diamond Dagger (for lifelong excellence in the genre) and the triple winner of the Historical Dagger. His books include the Sunday Times bestsellers The Ashes of London and The Fire Court, the international bestseller The American Boy (a Richard and Judy selection); the Roth Trilogy (filmed for TV as Fallen Angel); the Lydmouth Series; the William Dougal Series, The Anatomy of Ghosts, shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and The Scent of Death. He lives on the borders of England and Wales. He reviews for the Spectator and The Times. For more information about Andrew Taylor and his books, see: www.andrew-taylor.co.uk or follow him on twitter: @andrewjrtaylor

Callie Bates

Callie Bates is a writer, harpist and certified harp therapist, sometimes artist, and nature nerd. When she's not creating, she's hitting the trails or streets and exploring new places. She lives in the Upper Midwest. THE MEMORY OF FIRE is the sequel to her debut fantasy novel, THE WAKING LAND. She occasionally writes nonfiction. Her essays have appeared in Shambhala Sun, The Best Buddhist Writing 2012, All Things Girl and online journals.

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.

Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand grew up in Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where she was a teaching/writing fellow. She now lives with her husband and their three children on Nantucket, Massachusetts, where her novels are set.You can follow Elin on Twitter @elinhilderbrand or find out more on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/ElinHilderbrand.

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 nine 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.