Today I’m on the blog tour for The Victoria Lie, and I’m delighted to welcome author, Sarah Marie Graye to Portable Magic. My post is written with thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour, and of course, to Sarah Marie Graye for writing her guest post.
WHEN IS A LIE A LIFELINE? …To Tori lies are everything.
ZOE wants to end her life. But she can’t just leave a note. She needs to say goodbye to boyfriend JAMES and best friend ALISON.
TORI is waiting in the wings to fill the space ZOE will leave behind, wanting to claim both James and Alison for herself.
But with ZOE still alive and Alison’s childhood friend RUBY now on the scene vying to fill the gap, TORI realizes she has her work cut out.
Just what lengths is TORI willing to go to in order to claim Alison and James for herself?
And what does any of this have to do with BETH and FAYE?
The Victoria Lie is perfect for fans of Gail Honeyman, Maggie O’Farrell, Patrick Gale and Elizabeth Strout.
Sarah Marie Graye writes about the roles of autism and ADHD in The Victoria Lie.
“I knew I was different” – I’m pretty sure this has been said by everyone who has been diagnosed with either ADHD or Autism as an adult!
I was diagnosed with ADHD last year, at the age of (whispers) 42. Even before my diagnosis I knew I was different, I just didn’t understand the why or how. So while I’d come to terms with being different years ago, my coping strategies were very much hit and miss.
When my psychiatrist first told me she thought I had ADHD, I was embarrassed on her behalf – I thought she was grasping at straws. I don’t have an attention-deficit and I’m certainly not hyperactive. (The people who know me laugh when I tell them I have ADHD because I’m anything but hyperactive.)
But it turns out ADHD is an old name for a condition that’s much better understood now. It’s a disorder that affects the “executive function” part of our brain and it affects our ability to manage time, to switch focus and regulate emotions.
As my psychiatrist explained the condition to me, giving me examples of the symptoms, I found myself slowly nodding along. I reluctantly agreed I probably had ADHD.
The best way to discover if the diagnosis is correct is to take ADHD drugs. The condition is caused by a lack of dopamine and the stimulant drugs available increase dopamine levels.
It was only when I started taking drugs for my condition that I realised how “tough” my old version of the world had been and how much “easier” life was when I had enough dopamine coursing through my brain.
My reluctance to be diagnosed with ADHD was in part because what the condition meant to me: the seven-year-old boy running round the classroom causing havoc. As someone who passed their GCSEs and A Levels first time round and wrote their first novel as part of an MA Creative Writing, I did not recognise myself in the stereotype.
I wanted tell people what ADHD is like in reality, but I’m aware the only people reading articles about ADHD are people who’ve been diagnosed with the condition. I knew writing a novel was the best way to get the subject matter under the noses of people who’d never normally read about it!
While researching ADHD, I discovered that many women are being diagnosed in their late 30s and early 40s – that I’m part of a new medical phenomenon based on a better understanding of the condition. I discovered this was the case with Autism too, so I decided to write about both conditions.
It was important for me that neither of my “neurodiverse” characters were angels: I wanted to make sure they were well-rounded and their condition was only part of who they were. I also wanted to steer clear of the stereotypes of both conditions.
Zoe, my character with ADHD, is funny and loyal, but she is also angry with life and can be dismissive and sharp-tongued. She goes through the same incredulity over her diagnosis as I did over mine.
Tori, my character with Autism, is not diagnosed – she refused to attend an assessment when she was younger. She finds it difficult to understand social rules and so lies to try and connect with people. Most of her lies are harmless, but she can also be extremely manipulative.
I hope people reading The Victoria Lie accidentally learn something about neurodevelopmental disorders… and maybe even go on to read some articles about them!