Related to: 'Make Them Sorry'

Julie Sarkissian on the protagonist in DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy

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

Walk Away

Sam Hawken
Authors:
Sam Hawken

Camaro Espinoza is 'the deadliest female protagonist since Jon Land's Caitlin Strong and Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander' (Booklist).Former combat medic Camaro Espinoza is trying to put her past behind her. She knows she's done bad things - but they were always for good reasons. Then her calm, anonymous life is interrupted by a distress call from her sister Annabel. She's become trapped in an abusive relationship with petty criminal Jake Collier, and she needs Camaro's help. Camaro has always protected Annabel, and she won't stop now. But the situation is more dangerous than she realises. Jake has a sibling of his own, an ex-Marine named Lukas who is as unhinged as Camaro is uncompromising. And he and Jake are planning a much bigger crime. As the federal marshals pick up Lukas's trail, and a bounty hunter with a debt to settle closes in, Camaro's smart enough to know that standing her ground is the last thing she should do. But even with a freight train like Lukas barrelling towards her, if there's one thing she can't do, it's walk away.

Mulholland Books

The Night Charter

Sam Hawken
Authors:
Sam Hawken

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, fourteen bestselling novels and a series of childrens' books. Like playing Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Medal of Honour, Chris Ryan's writing will put you at the heart of the action. You can find out more information on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ChrisRyanBooks. You can also follow Chris on Twitter @exSASChrisRyan

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

David Swinson

David Swinson is a retired police detective, having served 16 years with the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department. Before joining the DC police Swinson was a record store owner in Seal Beach, California, a punk rock/alternative concert promoter in Long Beach, California, and a music video producer and independent filmmaker in Los Angeles, California. Swinson currently lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, daughter, bull mastiff, and bearded dragon.

Don Mann

Don Mann has been associated with the Navy SEALS for the last thirty years, as a platoon member, assault team member, boat crew leader, or advanced training officer. Up until 1998 he was on active duty with SEAL Team 6. Visit his website at www.usfrogmann.com.

Dreda Say Mitchell

Born and bred in the East End of London, Dreda Say Mitchell has seen it all from the inside. After a string of jobs as a waitress, chambermaid and catering assistant she realised her dream of becoming a teacher. During this time she saw a new generation of East Enders grappling with the same problems she had but in an even more violent and unforgiving world. Dreda's books are inspired by the gritty, tough and criminal world she grew up in. She still lives in London's East End. Her debut, RUNNING HOT, was published in 2004 and won the Crime Writers' Association's John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first novel. She is the author of eight more novels and is currently writing the FLESH AND BLOOD series, set on 'The Devil's Estate' in Mile End. In 2016, she became a Reading Ambassador for the Reading Agency to promote literacy and libraries.Website: www.dredasaymitchell.com Facebook: /dredasaymitchell Twitter: @DredaMitchell

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly is the author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind 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/mserinkellywww.facebook.com/Erin-Kelly-Author

Graham Hancock

As East Africa correspondent of The Economist in the early eighties Graham Hancock began to write a series of highly acclaimed books on economics, politics and foreign aid. His life took a whole new turn when he became fascinated by rumours that the Ark of the Covenant is real artefact, hidden somewhere in northern Africa. The story of his detective work, tracking it down to its supposed final resting place became the international bestseller The Sign and the Seal (now in production as a feature film.) More bestsellers in the field of 'alternative history' followed, including Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (the latter co-authored with Robert Bauval) and Heaven's Mirror. In Supernatural he described his experiences journeying to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs amongst tribes people for whom they represent a gateway into supernatural realms. His ideas on exploring new dimensions in consciousness became the subject of his controversial TED talks.Graham Hancock's books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and have sold over nine million copies worldwide. His public lectures and broadcasts, including two major TV series for Channel 4, Quest for the Lost Civilisation, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, have further established his reputation as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity`s past.

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.

Julie Corbin

Julie Corbin is Scottish and grew up just outside Edinburgh. She has lived in East Sussex for the last twenty-five years and raised her three sons in a village close to the Ashdown Forest. She is trained as a nurse and combines running the medical department in a boarding school with writing novels, short stories and currently a radio play.Her psychological thrillers have been described as 'creepy and gripping' (Closer) and 'remarkably assured... suspenseful narrative' (Daily Mail)She speaks at writing events, book groups and libraries, and runs writing workshops for beginners and more experienced writers.Visit Julie's website at www.juliecorbin.com and follow her on Twitter @Julie_Corbin

Leslie Charteris

Leslie Charteris was born in Singapore and moved to England in 1919. He left Cambridge University early when his first novel was accepted for publication. He wrote novels about the Saint throughout his life, and was one of the 20th century's most prolific and popular authors. He died in 1993.Visit www.lesliecharteris.com for more information.

Matthew Blakstad

Matthew's first career was as a professional child actor. From the age of ten, he had roles in TV dramas, in the films and on stage at theatres including the Royal Court. After graduating from Oxford with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, he began a career in online communications, consulting for a wide range of clients from the BBC to major banks. Since 2008, he has been in public service, using his communication skills to help the British population understand and manage their money.In 2012 Matthew took the Writing a Novel course at Faber Academy.Sockpuppet is his first novel.

Mick Herron

Mick Herron is a novelist and short story writer whose books include the Jackson Lamb series, the first of which - the Steel-Dagger nominated Slow Horses - has been described as the 'most enjoyable British spy novel in years'. The second Jackson Lamb novel, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger, and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of the best 25 crime novels of the past five years. Mick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.

Paul Cleave

Paul Cleave is an award-winning author who divides his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages and have sold over a million copies. He's won the Ngaio Marsh Award three times, the Saint-Maur book festival's crime novel of the year award, has been shortlisted for the Edgar, the Barry and the Ned Kelly Awards. When he's not at home with the stereo cranked up loud and working on his next novel, he can normally be found on a tennis court, a golf course, or throwing a Frisbee somewhere.

Richard Lange

Richard Lange is the author of the short story collections Dead Boys and Sweet Nothing and the novels This Wicked World and Angel Baby. His stories have appeared in the Sun, the Iowa Review and Best American Mystery Stories, and as part of the Atlantic Monthly's Fiction for Kindle series. He was the 2008 recipient of the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009. He lives in Los Angeles.Vist his website at www.richlange.com or follow him on Twitter @richardlange.

Roger Pearce

The former Commander of Special Branch at New Scotland Yard, Roger Pearce was responsible for surveillance and undercover operations against terrorists and extremists, the close protection of government ministers and visiting VIPs, and other highly sensitive assignments. He was also Director of Intelligence, charged with heading covert operations against serious and organised criminals. After leaving the Yard he was appointed Counter-Terrorism Adviser to the Foreign Office, where he worked with government and intelligence experts worldwide in the campaign against Al Qaeda. Roger Pearce has degrees in Theology from Durham University and Law from London University. He is also a barrister-at-law. Married with three adult children, he has homes in London and Miami and is European security director of a high profile global company. In his novels the author draws upon his knowledge and first hand experience of a career in national security at every level.

Rosemary Rowe

Rosemary Rowe is extremely active in the crime-writing community, and is a very involved member of the Crime Writers' Association. She has written a series of popular crime novels set in second-century Roman Britain, featuring the Celtic sleuth and mosaic-maker, Libertus,and regularly gives talks and runs crime writing courses, the latest being a Summer School Crime Writing Course.

Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown is the author of numerous New York Times bestselling thrillers. She lives in Arlington, Texas. Visit her website at www.sandrabrown.com and connect with her on Twitter: @SandraBrown_NYT

Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky was named 2011 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. She is the winner of many awards, including the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers' Association and the CWA Gold Dagger for Blacklist. In 2015 she received the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. She lives on Chicago's south side with her husband.Visit Sara's website, www.saraparetsky.com, find her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SaraParetsky, and follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/SaraParetsky