Related to: 'Falling Leaves and Fireworks: a funny and feel-good autumnal enovella'

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.

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The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club: the perfect laugh-out-loud romantic comedy

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby
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A Fairy Tale for Christmas: a funny, feel-good, glorious Christmas romp

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby
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A Wedding at Christmas

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby
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A Proper Family Adventure

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Could you spend two weeks at sea with your family?Thanks to an unexpected windfall, the Bensons are treating themselves to a luxury cruise. With stop-offs in Barcelona, Rome and Marseilles, plus constant entertainment onboard, it's a dream come true . . . Or is it? Last time Chelsea Benson went on holiday with this lot she nearly went crazy.Her mum and sister are convinced Chelsea's boyfriend Adam will propose on the ship. Chelsea's sure he won't, but she can't help feeling butterflies as they set sail. Is Adam going to pop the question, or will the only thing to pop be Chelsea's ego?Onboard dramas, family upheavals, memories and sunshine . . . Fall in love with the Benson family, and treat yourself to a five-star family cruise, all without leaving your sofa.Praise for Chris Manby'Manby's novels are made for holidays' - Glamour'A gloriously delicious read!...Packed with warm characters and hilarious situations' - www.handwrittengirl.com

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A Proper Family Christmas

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Christmas comes but once a year . . . thank goodness! So keep calm this festive season and treat yourself to the warm and wonderful new novel from Chrissie Manby.Annabel Buchanan, one Queen Bee, is happily married, proud of her beautiful daughter Izzy and has the perfect house in the country...But when Izzy falls dangerously ill, adoptee Annabel has to track down her biological family - the Bensons - to see if she can help her daughter. Little does she expect the Bensons to be large, loud and messy. What will happen when their worlds collide?Can Annabel see past the Bensons' brash exteriors to the warm, loving people they are at heart?With December just around the corner, is it too much to hope that the Bensons and the Buchanans can have a proper family Christmas?Praise for Chris Manby'Manby's novels are made for holidays' - Glamour'Touching and funny in equal parts, this book will stay with you long after you close the final page. *****' - Heat

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A Proper Family Holiday

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Could you survive a week-long holiday with your entire family? Newly single magazine journalist Chelsea Benson can't think of anything worse.Your grubby small nephew torpedoing any chance of romance with the dishy guy you met on the plane . . .Your eighty-five-year-old granddad chatting up ladies at the hotel bar . . .Getting nothing but sarcastic comments from your older sister, who's always been the family favourite . . .And all this is before your parents drop their bombshell.Is a week enough time for the Bensons to put their differences aside and have some fun? Or is this their last ever proper family holiday?Heartwarming and funny, this is the perfect summer read for fans of SOPHIE KINSELLA and LINDSEY KELK. And provides a great excuse for ignoring your annoying family members . . .Praise for Chris Manby'A gloriously delicious read!...Packed with warm characters and hilarious situations' - handwrittengirl.com'Smart and entertaining' - Closer

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Writing for Love

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Practical, inspiring, and filled with her trademark wit and charm, Chrissie Manby describes the writing process - from where she gets her ideas to a practical guide to planning the structure of a novel. A must-read for chick-lit fans and aspiring authors. EXCLUSIVE: contains chapters 1-4 of Chrissie's novel WHAT I DID ON MY HOLIDAYS.

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Kate's Wedding

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

'Laugh-out-loud funny . . . Unputdownable' - HeatA tongue-in-cheek comedy, perfect if you're missing the buzz of the 2018 royal wedding!Thirty-nine-year-old Kate had almost given up on love when she met her fiance. Now she's planning for the wedding she never dreamed she'd have. But things seem to be slipping out of her control. Diana, born on the day of the 1981 Royal Wedding, never doubted that one day she would find her prince. Newly engaged, and with Daddy's credit card in her grasp, she's in full Bridezilla mode. Against the backdrop of the other couple getting married in April 2011, both women prepare for the most important day of their lives. But will each bride get her perfect day? Or will it all become a right royal fiasco?'I've always liked Manby's books and this is my favourite so far . . . deeply cringe-making, sometimes poignant and often hilarious . . . I loved it. Six stars, hurrah!' - Daily Mail

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Getting Over Mr Right

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Have you ever had your heart broken? How did you get over it? Did a tub of ice cream cheer you up? Did you delete his number and start again? Are you now friends with your ex? Perhaps you're godmother to his children?In which case, this book is not for you.But if you reacted with denial, begging or a spot of casual witchcraft, then you've come to the right place. This is one woman's journey from love to lunacy and back again . . .Praise for Chris Manby'Be prepared to get completely lost in this deliciously funny read' - Heat'Destined to keep you up until the small hours' - Daily Mirror

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Crazy in Love

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby
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Marrying for Money

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby
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Flatmates

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Have you ever shared a flat with your so-called friends? Do you remember with a shudder the squabbles over the itemised phone bill, the cleaning rota and whose turn it is to do the washing up? If so, you'll sympathise with the three troubled occupants of No. 67 Artesia Road.Fiona - who's been offered a glorious job in New York, but can't bear to leave Tim, her brilliant - but none-too-devoted - fiancé.Kerry - who's fed up with spending Saturday night alone in front of the TV, fantasising about her devastatingly handsome - but unavailable - boss.Linzi - who won't be tied down by anybody or anything.They think they've got problems. But nothing can prepare them for the chaos which ensues when Linzi's latest boyfriend arrives on the scene. Gorgeous but feckless, Gaetano spells trouble with a capital 'T'. And soon events are spiralling out of everyone's control . . .Praise for Chrissie Manby'If you've ever shared a flat, been to a bad party or fallen in love with the wrong man, you'll find this book spot on' - Company'Manby's hilarious novels still shine out' - OK!

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Girl Meets Ape

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby
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Deep Heat

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Recovering in hospital from an appendix operation, Ali Harris whiles away her time by entering magazine competitions. A few weeks later, she's delighted to discover that she's won first prize in Complete Woman magazine's Most Romantic Couple of the Year competition. There's just one problem. Ali has been dumped by her fiancé, and there's no way she can claim her prize - a romantic holiday for two in Antigua - on her own. Help is at hand in the unlikely form of Jeremy 'Boily' Baxter, the spotty boy next door. But Ali's troubles have only just begun.

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Second Prize

Chrissie Manby
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Getting Personal

Chrissie Manby
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Running Away From Richard

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Chrissie Manby
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Lizzie Jordan's Secret Life

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Seven Sunny Days

Chrissie Manby
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Chrissie Manby
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Ready or Not?

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Every bride is entitled to some pre-wedding jitters. And who wouldn't think twice about marriage when their fiancé gets their eyebrows shaved off just in time to look horrendous for the photographs?But what if it's not the ceremony that freaks you out but the happy ever after? Heidi Savage wonders whether she can really forsake all others for macho, beer-swilling Ed. The what-if's are too pressing to ignore...Will the answer come in the form of her ex-boyfriend Steven? Grown-up, gorgeous and good-with-children. Is Heidi's dilemma simply a case of the 'grass is greener on the other side'?Praise for Chris Manby'Dry wit that sits just beneath the surface...A delicious read' - Daily Mail'Nothing short of brilliant' - Marie Claire