Related to: 'Never Go There: a gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist you'll never forget'

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

Why Did You Lie?

Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Authors:
Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Hodder & Stoughton

Shiver

Karen Robards
Authors:
Karen Robards

When she swore off love, he was the last man she imagined would steal her heart.If driving a tow truck through the seediest part of town with a gun beside her means putting a roof over her son's head, then single mother Samantha is going to be the best repossession woman on the books. But when she hooks her truck up to a flashy BMW, the last thing she expects is to find a beaten, bloody man in the trunk - or to be catapulted into a terrifying fight to survive.Daniel knows the drug runners who kidnapped him from protective custody will stop at nothing to see him dead. With his life on the line, his only option is to take his pretty saviour hostage and force her to help him. Sam and her four-year-old son are in too deep. With ruthless killers on their trail, she must reluctantly trust this handsome, menacing stranger. And as Sam relinquishes control, she feels an unmistakable desire. But what is the price of falling for a man who operates on the edge of danger - her heart, her life . . . or both?

Hodder & Stoughton

Death in August

Marco Vichi
Authors:
Marco Vichi

Crime fiction packed with Italian flavour, Death in August is the first Inspector Bordelli mystery set in 1960s' Florence - perfect for fans of Andrea Camilleri or Donna Leon.Florence, summer 1963. Inspector Bordelli is one of the few policemen left in the deserted city. He spends his days on routine work, and his nights tormented by the heat and mosquitoes.Suddenly one night, a telephone call gives him a new sense of purpose: the suspected death of a wealthy Signora. Bordelli rushes to her hilltop villa, and picks the locks. The old woman is lying on her bed - apparently killed by an asthma attack, though her medicine has been left untouched.With the help of his young protégé, the victim's eccentric brother, and a semi-retired petty thief, the inspector begins a murder investigation. Each suspect has a solid alibi, but there is something that doesn't quite add up . . .

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

Aline Templeton

Aline Templeton lives in Edinburgh with her husband, in a house with a balcony built by an astronomer to observe the stars over the beautiful city skyline. She has worked in education and broadcasting and has written numerous articles and stories for newspapers and magazines. Her books have been published in translation in several European countries as well as in the United States.

Aly Monroe

Aly Monroe was born and educated in England. Trained in linguistics, she has lived abroad - mostly in Spain - and speaks several languages. She is married and has three children. The first three books in the Peter Cotton series, Maze of Cadiz and Washington Shadow and Icelight (winner of the 2012 Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award) are also available from Hodder & Stoughton. You can find out more about Peter Cotton and Aly Monroe via her website, www.alymonroe.com or at www.hodder.co.uk, through her official facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Monroe.Aly, and you can follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/monroe_aly.

Amy Engel

Amy Engel is the author of the YA novels THE BOOK OF IVY and THE REVOLUTION OF IVY. She lives in Missouri with her family. THE ROANOKE GIRLS is her first novel for adults.

Carlene Thompson

Carlene Thompson is the author of several psychological thrillers, including BLACK FOR REMEMBRANCE and ALL FALL DOWN. She taught English at a small college in Ohio. She now lives in West Virginia.

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.

H.B. Lyle

H.B. Lyle lives in South London with his partner and their twin daughters. After a career infeature film development, he took an MA in creative writing - then PhD - at the University ofEast Anglia, an experience which led to the creation of The Irregular. He also writes screenplaysand teaches undergraduates.

Jennifer L. Armentrout

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel, and her hyper Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories . . . therefore explaining her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Adult and Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Romance. Visit Jennifer's website: www.jenniferarmentrout.com, follow her on Twitter: @JLArmentrout, or find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JenniferLArmentrout.

John Grisham

John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade, specialising in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987.His next novel, The Firm, spent 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and became the bestselling novel of 1991. Since then, he has written one novel a year, including The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Rainmaker and The Runaway Jury.Today, Grisham has written a collection of stories, a work of non-fiction, three sports novels, five kids' books, and many legal thrillers. His work has been translated into 42 languages. He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

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.

Noel Barber

Noel Barber has enchanted millions of readers with his six bestselling novels. In these powerfully exotic novels he drew upon his own experience as one of the leading foreign correspondents from the 40s to the 60s working on the Daily Mail. He was the first Briton to reach the South Pole since Scott, was stabbed five times while covering the wars in Morocco and was shot during the Hungarian uprising. He died in 1988.

Paul Crilley

Paul Crilley is a Scotsman adrift in South Africa and has been writing professionally for the past 17 years. In that time he has worked on over thirteen television shows, one of which was nominated for an international Emmy award. He has worked with Fox Television, written ten novels, worked on five computer games, and is currently making his way in the comic book field. (He conceptualized the entire story and wrote three issues of the six issue comic book mini-series, X-Files: Conspiracy, where he had to come up with a story that brought The Transformers, Ghostbusters, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Crow into one coherent story.He recently completed an X-Files novella and a Hardy Boys novel. Poison City is his debut adult novel.

Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson's DCI Banks is now a major ITV1 drama starring Stephen Tompkinson (Wild at Heart, Ballykissangel) as Inspector Banks, and Andrea Lowe (The Bill, Murphy's Law) as DI Annie Cabbot. Peter's standalone novel BEFORE THE POISON won the IMBA's 2013 Dilys Award as well as the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel by the Crime Writers of Canada. This was Peter's sixth Arthur Ellis award. His critically acclaimed DCI Banks novels have won numerous awards in Britain, the United States, Canada and Europe, and are published in translation all over the world.Peter grew up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between Richmond and Canada. Peter keeps a website at www.inspectorbanks.com.

Saul David

Saul David is a historian and broadcaster and is currently Professor of Military History at the University of Buckingham. His many critically-acclaimed books include Zulu, Victoria's Wars and 100 Days to Victory. He has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels. Visit Saul's website at www.sauldavid.co.uk and follow him on Twitter @sauldavid66

Stephen Leather

Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers, an ebook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan 'Spider' Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels. Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country's most successful ebook authors and his titles have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages and he has also written for television.You can learn more from Stephen's website, www.stephenleather.com, find him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenleather.Stephen also has a website for his Spider Shepherd series, www.danspidershepherd.com, and for his Jack Nightingale series, www.jacknightingale.com.

Tom Harper

Tom Harper was born in West Germany in 1977 and grew up in Germany, Belgium and America. He studied history at Lincoln College, Oxford, worked for a while in the glamorous world of pensions services, and now writes full time. He lives in York with his wife and two sons. His novels have been sold into twenty languages, from Brazil to China. In 2001 Tom Harper's debut, The Blighted Cliffs, was the runner up for the CWA Debut Dagger Award. He can be found online at www.tom-harper.co.uk.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Author of the bestselling Thora Gudmundsdottir crime series and several stand-alone thrillers, Yrsa Sigurdardottir was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1963 and works as a civil engineer. She made her crime fiction debut in 2005 with LAST RITUALS, the first instalment in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series, and has been translated into more than 30 languages. Her work stands 'comparison with the finest contemporary crime writing anywhere in the world' according to the Times Literary Supplement. The second instalment in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series, MY SOUL TO TAKE, was shortlisted for the 2010 Shamus Award. In 2011 her stand-alone horror novel I REMEMBER YOU was awarded the Icelandic Crime Fiction Award and was nominated for The Glass Key. Her novel THE SILENCE OF THE SEA won the Petrona Award in 2015.