Related to: 'Dinner for Two'

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

Half a World Away

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

The incredibly moving and uplifting new novel from the author of The Man I Think I Know.Kerry Hayes knows exactly who she is: a single mum, a cleaner and Mariah Carey's biggest fan.Noah Martineau thinks he knows who he is: a successful barrister, with a wife, daughter and big house in Primrose Hill.Strangers with nothing in common.Strangers living worlds apart.But it wasn't always this way...and Noah and Kerry are about to discover just who they really are.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Man I Think I Know

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder & Stoughton

The Hope Family Calendar

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

Tom Hope is broken. Ever since his wife Laura died he hasn't been the same man, and definitely not the same father. Luckily however, his mother-in-law Linda is there to pick up the pieces and look after his two struggling daughters, Evie and Lola. But Tom getting arrested on the first anniversary of his wife's death is the last straw for Linda.She decides on drastic action, and in a final attempt to make Tom reconnect with his daughters, Linda leaves for Australia. Now, with two fast-maturing girls on his hands, Tom has to learn how to accept his responsibilities and navigate the newly discovered world of single fatherhood - starting immediately. While Linda finds her journey brings more than she bargained for, Tom suddenly has only himself to rely on. Will he fall back into grief or finally step up and be the father his girls need?Bittersweet, funny and sad, THE HOPE FAMILY CALENDAR is a novel about grief, love and family.

Hodder Paperbacks

Seeing Other People

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder Paperbacks

Turning Thirty

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

Unlike most people Matt Beckford is actually looking forward to turning thirty. At last, he thinks his career, finances and love life are all sorted. But life has other plans, and after splitting up with his girlfriend Matt is forced to move back in with his parents.This scenario soon has Matt feeling nostalgic, and desperate for some sanity. So, one by one, he tracks down his old school mates - the rest of the Magnificent Seven.But when you're turning thirty nothing's as simple as it used to be.

Hodder Paperbacks

Turning Forty

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

How to turn forty:1. Set yourself a personal challenge.2. Clear wardrobe of all age inappropriate clothing.3. Relax.How not to turn forty:1. Have a complete meltdown . . .High flier Matt Beckford's sole ambition is to turn forty with his life sorted. And with a Porsche on the drive and a job that requires him to spend more time in BA's club lounge than his own lounge, it looks like things are going in the right direction. But when Matt's wife unexpectedly calls time on their marriage, a chain of events is set in motion that very quickly sees him facing forty broke, homeless and completely alone.But all is not lost because Matt has a plan . . .Wise, witty and wonderful . . . a triumph! Jenny Colgan Look out for Mike's new novel, Half a World Away, available to pre-order now!

Hodder Paperbacks

The Stag and Hen Weekend

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

The Stag and Hen Weekend is the story of Phil and Helen, a couple in their thirties about to commit their lives to one another . . . that is of course if they can just manage to get through their respective stag and hen weekends (his: Amsterdam; hers: a country house and day spa in the Peak District) without falling apart. Told in the unique form of two separate stories that have common characters as well as themes and conclusion, The Stag and Hen Weekend can be read from front to back or from back to front putting the reader in the driver's seat as to which story they wish to read first. Feisty, fun and thought provoking.

Hodder & Stoughton

Men at Work - Quick Read

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder Paperbacks

The Importance of Being a Bachelor

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder Paperbacks

The To-Do List

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

Would a proper adult ignore the spilt milk under the fridge for weeks?Would a proper adult take three years to post a solitary Christmas card?Would a proper adult have decades-old underwear in active service?Mike Gayle is nowhere near being a proper adult - even though his tenth wedding anniversary is looming; his second child is due any moment; and in less than twenty-four hours he is going to be officially closer to forty than he is to thirty. Appalled by this lack of maturity, Mike draws up a To-Do list containing every single item he's been meaning to do but just keeps putting off... He's got a lot of stuff that needs doing. But unlike previous To-Do lists, he promises himself that this one will actually get DONE. And along the way, Mike will learn stuff about life (323), love (999), friends (1004) and family (9) and finally work out what it means to be a grown up (846).

Hodder Paperbacks

Life and Soul of the Party

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle
Hodder Paperbacks

Wish You Were Here

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

A brilliant romantic comedy exploring beach basics for the broken-hearted from number one bestselling author Mike Gayle.Their holiday brochure said 18-30 . . . But they've just turned 35.After ten years together Charlie Mansell has been dumped by his live-in girlfriend, Sarah. All he wants to do is wallow in misery, but mates Andy and Tom have a better idea: a week of sun, sea and souvlaki in Malia, party capital of the Greek islands.But Charlie and his mates aren't eighteen any more. Or even under thirty. And it shows.It isn't the cheap beer, the late nights or even the fast-food that's the problem. It's girls. And life. And most of all . . . each other. WISH YOU WERE HERE is a heart-warming, funny and wise tale about love and friendship and how seven days in the sun can change your life forever.

Hodder Paperbacks

Brand New Friend

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

'Funny and well-observed, this is another sure-fire hit' HeatWhen Rob's girlfriend asks him to leave London and live with her in Manchester not only will it mean moving cities, it'll also mean leaving behind his best mate in the entire world. Believing that love conquers all and convinced of his ability to make new friends, Rob takes the plunge.Six months in, and yet to find so much as a regular drinking buddy, Rob realises that sometimes making friends in your thirties can be the hardest thing to do. With drastic action needed, his girlfriend puts an ad in the classifieds for him. Three excruciatingly embarrassing "bloke dates" later, Rob begins to truly despair. Until his luck changes . . .There's just one problem. Apart from knowing less than nothing about music trivia, football, and the vital statistics of supermodels, Rob's new friend has one huge flaw . . .She's a girl.

Hodder Paperbacks

His 'n' Hers

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

A brilliant romantic comedy for fans of Bridget Jones's Diary.A cat. A flat. And a couple who think it's over.From their first meeting at the student union over a decade ago, Jim and Alison successfully navigated their way through first dates, meeting parents, moving in together and more . . . Then they split up and divided their worldly goods (including a sofa, a cat and their flat) into his 'n' hers.Now, three years on and with new lives and new loves, they couldn't be happier. Until a chance encounter throws them back together, and causes them to embark on a journey through their past to ask themselves the big question: where did it all go wrong, and is it too late to put it all right?

Hodder Paperbacks

Mr Commitment

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

Number One bestselling author Mike Gayle returns with this wickedly observed novel about modern relationships: does Mr Irresponsible have what it takes to become Mr Commitment?Duffy is engaged. He accepted Mel's proposal. But the trips to IKEA, dinner parties for couples and talk of babies are giving him itchy feet and now he's not sure if he can say goodbye to his extended adolescence and face up to that final walk down the aisle.How does he know if she's The One? Can he cope with responsibility? Does he have what it takes to become Mr Commitment? Because if he doesn't, he may just find that he's lost Mel - forever...

Hodder Paperbacks

My Legendary Girlfriend

Mike Gayle
Authors:
Mike Gayle

R. F. Delderfield

R. F. Delderfield was born in South London in 1912. On leaving school he joined the Exmouth Chronicle newspaper as a junior reporter, where he went on to become Editor. From there he began to write stage plays and then became a highly successful novelist, renowned for brilliantly portraying slices of English life. With the publication of his first saga, A HORSEMAN RIDING BY, he became one of Britain's most popular authors. Many of his bestselling novels were later adapted for television. He died in 1972.

Rosamunde Pilcher

Rosamunde Pilcher had a long and distinguished career as a novelist and short story writer, but it was her phenomenally successful novel, The Shell Seekers, that captured the hearts of all who read it, and won her international recognition as one of the best-loved storytellers of our time. It was voted one of UK's top 100 novels in the BBC's Big Read in 2003. Her bestselling novels, September, Coming Home and Winter Solstice were made into television films. She was awarded an O.B.E for services to literature in 2002 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Dundee University in 2010. Rosamunde Pilcher died on 6 February 2019.

Ruth Hogan

Ruth Hogan is the author of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes. A #1 word-of-mouth hit and Sunday Times bestseller with more than 800,000 copies sold, The Keeper of Lost Things was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and a WHSmith Travel 'Fresh Talent' selection and is currently being published in over 30 countries around the world. Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel is her third novel. She lives in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and her long-suffering husband.ruthhogan.co.uktwitter | instagram > ruthmariehoganfacebook > RuthHoganAuthor

Sadie Matthews

Sadie Matthews is the author of provocative, romantic novels that explore an intense and intimate side of life and relationships. The After Dark series was her first trilogy, and entranced readers with its sensual, engrossing story and unforgettable characters. The Seasons trilogy is her latest series, telling the story of the Hammond sisters.Sadie Matthews is married and lives in England. Find Sadie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sadie_matthews.