Related to: '100 Ways to Be As Happy As Your Dog'

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

100 Ways to Be More Like Your Cat

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon
Hodder & Stoughton

The Joy of Cats

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

Anyone who lives with a cat will know of that strange and mysterious bond that grows between human and animal and which can bring such joy and fulfilment. Cats make houses into homes, heal stress and provide fun and entertainment. In this exquisitely produced anthology, drawn from the writing of cat lovers through the ages, Celia Haddon offers a testimony and a tribute to that unique and rewarding relationship between humans and their feline companions in which cats, in their utmost complexity, remain among us, but not of us. Above all, she reminds us of the truth of why cats matter.

Hodder & Stoughton

The First Ever English Olimpick Games

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon
Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Secret Thoughts Cats have about Humans

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

Adopt a rescue human. They think they are adopting you. Humans that need homes go to special places where cats are kept. These are rescue humans.Humans can't caterwaul - except in the bath or sometimes when they play the piano.They cannot purr. Cat psychologists suggest that this gap in the human vocal repertoire is due to their lack of inner confidence and serenity.Baby humans don't have anyone of their own age to play with, but it doesn't matter as much as it would for a kitten as they are amazingly retarded. Gay tom humans make the best pets.Don't miss Celia Haddon's new book, 100 Ways to Be More Like Your Cat, a guide on how to learn from your cat to lead a better life.

Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Find Its Inner Kitten

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon
Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train Its Human

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

At last, the handbook all you cool cats have been waiting for! One hundred easy ways to discover the joys of a purrfectly obedient human.Though humans cannot speak cat, they vocalise repeatedly. Most of their vocalisations are meaningless and can be completely ignored.In urban areas, fun can be got from hunting human objects such as mink stoles or old underpants. For some reason this kind of prey is usually greeted with human laughter.To get a male human off an armchair, jump on the back of it, hold down his head with a firm paw and lick his bald patch.Purring right into the ear is one of the kindest ways to tell a human being that it is time to get out of bed.Don't miss Celia Haddon's new book, 100 Ways to Be More Like Your Cat - your guide on how to improve your life by learning from your cat!

Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Ways to Say I Love You

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

Alexander Armstrong

Alexander Armstrong is a presenter, comedian and actor and part of the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller. He presents the hit BBC show Pointless with Richard Osman. As well as regular appearances on panel shows such as Have I Got News For You, he also presents a show on Classic FM and writes a column for the Telegraph.

Barry Johnston

Barry Johnston appeared with the vocal group Design on over fifty TV shows in the 1970s. He presented the breakfast show on KLOA-AM in California and has broadcast regularly on BBC radio. He now runs Barn Productions and has produced more than eighty audiobooks including the number one bestsellers AN EVENING WITH JOHNNERS and THE WIT OF CRICKET. He has also edited several books and is the author of biographies of Kenneth Horne and of his father, Brian Johnston.

Catherine Blyth

Catherine Blyth is an editor and writer. She has written scripts for the BBC and Channel 5 and contributed to publications including the Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday and The Times.

Celia Haddon

Celia Haddon is a bestselling anthologist whose books have sold well over 1,000,000 copies worldwide. She was the Daily Telegraph's pet agony aunt and is a reputed lover and worshipper of cats, having lived with them and loved them since she was a child. She has compiled a number of anthologies in their honour. She is also compiler of the best-selling One Hundred Ways series and a qualified cat behaviourist.

Charlotte Rea

Charlotte Rea is a veterinary surgeon currently working in a large London animal charity hospital. She graduated from vet school in 2008 and has since gone on to complete a post-graduate certificate in small animal medicine.She has spent several stints abroad working with various animal charities including in Nairobi for Kenya Wildlife Services and Worldwide Veterinary Service projects in Lisbon and on the Greek island of Samos. She is passionate about animal health and welfare and has spent nearly a decade of her life dedicated to the animals of London, including pampered dogs and cats, homeless and stray pets and city farm animals. Charlotte lives in north London with her husband, young daughter and eccentric, fluffy cat.

Cheryl Kerl

From bonny baby to people`s princess, it`s been a meteoric rise to the top of the celebrity tree for Cheryl Kerl. Born Cheryl Tweety, she quickly learned to use her stunning good looks to great effect. At the tender age of just 18 came her biggest break when she won a coveted place in a talent show with her band Girls are Loud. Hit followed hit as the girls became the biggest recording phenomonen the country has ever seen. And just when it seemed that she had nothing more to prove. Cheryl was approached to become a judge on X Factory and the rest is history. Cheryl is now a one-girl phenomenon and continues to go from strength to strength.

David Bramwell

David is the creator of the bestselling Cheeky Guides and author of travel memoir The No9 Bus to Utopia, ("packed with wisdom, humour and pathos." Tom Hodgkinson, Idler), which has since evolved into an award-winning one man show, Radio 3 documentary and TEDx talk. David is a presenter on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 and has made programs on subjects ranging from time travel to Ivor Cutler. In 2011 he won a Sony Silver Award for The Haunted Moustache. He is a regular contributor to Ernest Journal, co-hosts the Odditorium podcast and has written books on alcohol and hard words for Harper Collins. "A remarkable storyteller." (Radio Times).

Dom Parker

Stephanie and Dominic Parker can currently be seen on Channel 4's award winning series Gogglebox. The sixth 12-part series is currently airing every Friday evening at 9pm on Channel 4. Outside of Gogglebox, Steph and Dom own and run The Salutation, a high-end, Grade-1 listed hotel in Sandwich, Kent which has hosted royalty and celebrities alike. Their first foray into television was as part of Channel 4's Four in A Bed. Off the back of their appearance, Steph and Dom were invited to appear on the first series of Gogglebox.

James Bowen

James Bowen is the author of the bestselling A STREET CAT NAMED BOB and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BOB. He found Bob the cat in 2007 and the pair have been inseparable ever since. They both live in north London.

James May

James May is a writer, broadcaster and co-host of The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime. He has presented series for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. His previous books include James May's Man Lab, Car Fever and How to Land an A330 Airbus.

Jo Tinsley

Jo is the editor and publisher of Ernest Journal, an awardwinning digital and printed magazine for the curious and adventurous. It is a guide for those who appreciate true craftsmanship, slow adventure and eccentric history. She worked on the launch team for Countryfile magazine, launched and edited Pretty Nostalgic magazine and co-authored Wild Guide: Devon, Cornwall and South West. She writes regularly for Countryfile, The Simple Things,The Guardian, Independent and greentraveller.co.uk. She has hosted Bristol's Biggest Indoor Picnic and collaborated on events at Wilderness Festival, Port Eliot and Eroica Britannia.

Justin Pollard

Justin Pollard read Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge. He is a historical writer and consultant in film and TV. His credits include Elizabeth and Atonement and the BBC TV drama The Tudors, as well as more than twenty-five documentary series such as Channel 4's Time Team. He is a writer and researcher for QI, and the author of seven books including THE INTERESTING BITS, CHARGE!, SECRET BRITAIN and BOFFINOLOGY.

Lucy Dillon

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria. She won the Romantic Novelists' Association Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, and is the bestselling author of four other novels: The Ballroom Class, Walking Back to Happiness, The Secret of Happy Ever After and A Hundred Pieces of Me. Lucy now divides her time between London and the Wye Valley where she enjoys walking in the Malvern Hills with her basset hounds, Violet and Bonham. You can follow her on Twitter @lucy_dillon or on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/LucyDillonBooks.