Related to: 'The Binding Song'

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.

Mulholland Books

The Death Knock

Elodie Harper
Authors:
Elodie Harper
Hodder & Stoughton

Six Scary Stories

Elodie Harper, Manuela Saragosa, Paul Bassett Davies, Michael Button, Stuart Johnstone, Neil Hudson
Authors:
Elodie Harper, Manuela Saragosa, Paul Bassett Davies, Michael Button, Stuart Johnstone, Neil Hudson

Alex Valente

ALEX VALENTE is a European half-Yorkshire, half-Tuscan freelance translator. He has researched comics, poetry, and their translation, co-edits the Norwich Radical, regularly translates for Italian literary agencies, and does voluntary work for non-profit organisations. He's on Twitter as @DrFumetts.

Allen Eskens

Allen Eskens is the USA Today bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, and The Deep Dark Descending. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, the Rosebud Award, and the Silver Falchion Award, and has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Thriller Award, the Anthony Award, and the Minnesota Book Award. His debut novel, The Life We Bury, has been published in 16 languages and is being developed for a feature film. Eskens lives with his wife, Joely, in out-state Minnesota, where he has been a practicing criminal defense attorney for 25 years.

Angela Clarke

Angela Clarke is The Sunday Times bestselling author of the Social Media Murders series. Her debut Follow Me was named Amazon's Rising Star Debut of the Month, longlisted for the CWA's Dagger in the Library, and shortlisted for the Good Reader Page Turner Award. Angela has appeared on CBS Reality's Written In Blood, on stage for BBC Edinburgh Fringe and on BBC News 24's Ouch comedy special Tales From the Misunderstood, at Noirwich, Camp Bestival, Panic! (in partnership with the Barbican, Goldsmiths University and the Guardian), at City University, at HM Prisons, and hosted BBC 3 Counties Radio show Tales From Your Life. She won the Young Stationers' Prize 2015 for achievement and promise in writing. A sufferer of EDS III, Angela is passionate about bringing marginalised voices into publishing. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Antonia Hodgson

Antonia Hodgson's first novel, The Devil in the Marshalsea, won the CWA Historical Dagger 2014 and was shortlisted forthe Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year, the John Creasey Dagger for Best FirstNovel and the HWA Debut Crown. It was also a Richard & Judy and WaterstonesBook Club selection. Her second book, The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins, was published in 2015 to widespread critical acclaim.Antonia was born and grew up in Derby and studied English at the University ofLeeds. She lives in London, where she works as an editor. 2

Declan Hughes

Declan Hughes was born in Dublin, where he lives with his wife and daughters. He has worked as a playwright and director and co-founded the award-winning Rough Magic Theatre Company, where he was artistic director and writer-in-residence. The first in the series of Ed Loy mysteries, The Wrong Kind of Blood, won the Shamus Award for best first novel and the third, The Dying Breed, was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe award for best novel.

Elena Varvello

ELENA VARVELLO was born in Turin, Italy, in 1971. She has published two collections of poetry, Perseveranza è salutare and Atlanti, a collection of short stories, L'economia delle cose (nominated for the Premio Strega, the Italian equivalent of the Man Booker Prize), and two novels, La luce perfetta del giorno and La vita felice, now translated into English as Can you hear me? (English PEN Award 2017). She teaches creative writing at the Scuola Holden in Turin. elenavarvello.com ALEX VALENTE is a European half-Yorkshire, half-Tuscan freelance translator. He has researched comics, poetry, and their translation, co-edits The Norwich Radical, regularly translates for Italian literary agencies, and does voluntary work for non-profit organisations. He's on Twitter as @DrFumetts.

Elizabeth Moss

Elizabeth Moss was born into a literary family in Essex, and currently lives in the south-west of England with her husband and young family. She also writes commercial fiction under another name. For more information about her, visit her blog at: www.elizabethmossfiction.com

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

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.

Greg Rucka

Greg Rucka is the bestselling author of nearly a dozen novels published in the US. He has also written several short-stories, countless comics, and the occasional non-fiction essay. In comics, he has had the opportunity to write stories featuring some of the world's best-known characters - Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman - and is currently working on Punisher. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two children.Visit his website at www.gregrucka.com, follow him on Twitter @ruckawriter, and find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GregRucka.

Hesh Kestin

An honors graduate of the Brooklyn streets, where he grew up across from the former headquarters of Murder Inc., Hesh Kestin reported on war, crime and terrorism in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as Forbes, Newsday, the Jerusalem Post and Playboy. After hanging up his trenchcoat Kestin founded two prize-winning newspapers, the independent Israeli daily The Nation, and The American, a weekly for expatriates. He is also the author of a collection of novellas, Based On A True Story. "You never stop being afraid," Kestin says of a former life in which he was often the only unarmed man in the room. "But having grown up in a part of New York where every day was a war, I had a unique advantage: I was used to it."

Jane Robins

Jane Robins is a distinguished writer and journalist. Her most recent book, THE CURIOUS HABITS OF DR ADAMS, is the chilling true tale of Dr John Bodkin Adams, the family doctor suspected of murdering 160 of his patients in 1950s Eastbourne.

Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde spent twenty years in the film business before debuting on the New York Times bestseller list with The Eyre Affair in 2001. Since then he has written another twelve novels, including the Number One Sunday Times bestseller One of our Thursdays is Missing, and the Last Dragonslayer series, adapted for television by Sky.Fforde lives and works in his adopted nation of Wales. Visit Jasper's website, www.jasperfforde.com, find him on Facebook, www.facebook.com/jasperffordebooks, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasperfforde.

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.

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.

Marianne Kavanagh

Marianne Kavanagh is a writer and journalist. She has worked on staff for Woman, Tatler, the Sunday Telegraph magazine and British Marie Claire, and has contributed features to a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. She lives in London.

Mario Giordano

Mario Giordano, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in Munich in 1963 and studied psychology at the University of Dusseldorf. He writes novels, books for adolescents, and screenplays. He lives in Cologne. Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is his first crime novel.