Related to: 'Safe: How to stay safe in a dangerous world'

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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Strikeback 4

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Book 4 in the Strikeback Series

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Head Hunters

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Global Strike

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Warlord

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Bad Soldier

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Shadow Kill

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Held up by rebel forces in a brutal siege, John Porter is tested to the limit in the African jungle. Strikeback hero John Porter is sent on a mission with Regimental scallywag John Bald. Where Porter plays it by the book, Bald will always want to break the rules.They are sent to Sierra Leone to extract Ronald Soames, a former CO of the Regiment and now right-hand man to the President. But when Porter and Bald arrive the Englishman has disappeared, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Rebels are threatening to take over the country and its diamond mines - and to massacre all foreigners.Porter and Bald find themselves fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Regiment psychopath who is already embedded in the country.But it soon becomes clear that the Firm has lied to them about the true nature of the mission.What seems at first to be a battle to control Sierra Leone's diamond mines will turn out to about a much greater evil - and with a trail that leads back to both Westminster and the Kremlin.

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Deathlist

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Hellfire

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

On the Syria/Iraq border a British hostage is beheaded by IS terrorists. The executioner is a young British extremist. A masked figure watches him. This mysterious person is treated with a mixture of respect and terror. They call him the Caliph.In Nigeria the British High Commisioner and his young aide are kidnapped. A four-person SAS team, including Regiment hero Danny Black, is deployed to find him. The team find devastation in Nigeria, and when they discover prisoners infected with the plague they realise they have uncovered a combined Boko Haram/IS plot to unleash a bio-terror attack upon the world.The team must stop the terrorists and identify the Caliph before the deadly disease threatens those much closer to home.(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

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Murder Team

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Danny Black is a lone wolf on an unofficial mission.He is in the deserts of East Africa looking for his old comrade in arms Spud, wounded in their last mission and now missing.A wounded British solder is a commodity in these parts...Danny recruits a grizzled ex-Blade to help him, encounters an ex-Mossad mercenary, who is part of the supply chain, and heads for a showdown with a small Somali army, led by most-wanted Islamist militant Abu Bakr.In the heat of battle Danny discovers, he is not the lone wolf he thought he was. He begins to wonder, as so many soldiers have before him, is he just a pawn in a greater game?(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

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Chris Ryan Extreme: Silent Kill

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

The fourth book in Chris Ryan's Extreme series.The Chris Ryan Extreme books take you even further into the heart of the mission with more extreme action, more extreme language and more extreme pace. Like Call of Duty or Medal of Honour you'll feel part of the team.Chris Ryan Extreme: Silent Kill has previously been published as four separate shorter missions. Now in one book to keep you at the heart of the action. Northern Ireland, 1993. For high-flying MI5 officer Avery Chance the real war has only just begun. When Chance is abducted by the IRA's notorious Nutting Squad, her hopes lie in the hands of a young SAS recruit who must risk everything to bring her home. Twenty years after his act of self-sacrifice in Belfast ex-SAS legend John Bald is a scarred shadow of his former self. But when a face from the past appears and rescues him from deep trouble, Bald is offered one last shot at redemption. His target is Kurt Pretorius, a ruthless mercenary operating deep in the wilds of war-ravaged Somali.In a world where rogue mercenaries operate beyond the reach of the law, Kurt Pretorius has transformed himself into a god. It is up to Bald to stop Pretorius before he turns Somalia into a terrorist haven. But Bald quickly finds himself sucked into a twisted game of survival, where the stakes could not be higher - and the price of failure is his life...With time running out, Bald must kill Pretorius before he brings down everyone around him. It's a mission Bald was born to do. Because sometimes, the only way to beat your deadliest enemy...is to be like your deadliest enemy.(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

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Chris Ryan Extreme: Most Wanted

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Hunter Killer

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Masters of War

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Chris Ryan Extreme: Night Strike

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

The second book in the Chris Ryan Extreme series. Former SAS hero John Bald is a man at war with himself and fighting a losing battle with the bottle. But then he is reluctantly thrust back into battle...In the race to develop ever more powerful weapons, technology has become the new frontline in global terrorism. And when one of America's most cutting-edge defence contractors suspects a sleeper cell operating in its midst, the Firm reaches out to its most cold-blooded son. Bald's mission: kill the sleeper before they can smuggle top-secret weaponry into the hands of the West's deadliest enemies.But the mission goes sideways, and Bald is the fall guy. Now he must pursue the sleeper from the ghettos of Florida to the war-torn streets of Tripoli, in a relentless hunt for the technology and the truth. Shadowed every step of the way by a ruthless CIA hitman, Bald soon finds that the lines between friend and enemy are blurred, and he'll have to call on all his warrior instincts to stay alive...The Chris Ryan Extreme books take you even further into the heart of the mission with even more extreme action, more extreme language and more extreme pace. Like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor, you'll feel part of the team. Chris Ryan Extreme: Night Strike has already been published as four separate shorter missions on ebook.

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Chris Ryan Extreme: Hard Target

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Osama

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Despatches from the secret world behind the headlines. Former SAS legend Chris Ryan brings you his seventeenth novel, filled with his trademark action, thrills and inside knowledge. Osama Bin Laden is dead.The President of the United States knows it. The world knows it. And SAS hero Joe Mansfield knows it. He was on the ground in Pakistan when it happened. He saw Seal Team 6 go in, and he saw them extract with their grisly cargo. He was in the right place at the right time.Or maybe, the wrong place at the wrong time.Because now, somebody wants Joe dead, and they're willing to do anything to make it happen. His world is violently dismantled. His family is targeted, his reputation destroyed. And as a mysterious and ruthless enemy plans a devastating terror attack on both sides of the Atlantic, Joe knows this: his only chance of survival is to find out what happened in Bin Laden's compound the night the Americans went in.But an unseen, menacing power has footprints it needs to cover. And it will stop at nothing to prevent him uncovering the sinister truth...

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Medal of Honor

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Killing for the Company

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

From the author of the bestselling Danny Black series and hit TV show Strikeback. Former SAS legend Chris Ryan brings you his sixteenth novel and it is full of all his trademark action, thrills and inside knowledge.2003. Invalided out of the SAS Chet Freeman makes his living in high-end security, on a temporary contract for an American corporation called the Grosvenor Group. He catches a young woman, a peace campaigner, eavesdropping on a meeting the Group is holding with the British Prime Minister. The Group's interests include arms manufacture, and what Chet and the young woman overhear seems to imply that it is bribing the Prime Minister to take his country into an illegal war. Could this possibly be true? Somebody believes that this is a secret that needs covering up, because Chet and the girl are attacked. Hunted down, they go into hiding, and a deadly game of cat and mouse begins.Nearly ten years later tension is reaching breaking point in Jerusalem. The now ex-Prime Minister is working as a Middle East peace envoy. As the city descends into anarchy and rival armies are poised to turn it into a battlefield, Chet's best buddy, Luke, is part of a team tasked by the Regiment with extracting the ex-Prime Minister.At the height of the battle Luke discovers a conspiracy far more devastating than any arms deal.

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The Kill Zone

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Alison Jean Lester

Alison Jean Lester was born to an American father and a British mother, and educated in the US, the UK, China and Italy. She spent twenty-five years working, writing and raising her children in Japan and Singapore before relocating to the UK in 2016. She is the author of the novel Lillian on Life and has had short stories published in Ecotone, Good Housekeeping, Synaesthesia and Barrelhouse.