Novelist and psychologist Kylie Ladd was inspired to write her latest book The Way Back because of an incident in her childhood.
When Ms Ladd was in Year 3, her classmate Eloise Worledge was kidnapped and never heard from again.
Eloise was eight when she was taken from her Melbourne home bedroom in 1976 and, despite being one of the biggest missing person’s cases in Vitoria’s history and a reward offered for her return, the case was never solved.
It was this incident that made Ms Ladd fascinated with child abductions and the way families piece together their lives when a crime such as this happens.
‘‘I guess something like that stays with you,’’ she said.
The Way Back follows Charlie Johnson, 13, in her first year of high school.
Charlie loves horse riding so her family leases her a horse called Tic Tac from the local pony club.
Everything is going well until one day when Charlie takes Tic Tac out for a ride in the national park and only Tic Tac comes back.
The story then focuses on Charlie’s return to her family and how the aftermath of having survived such a traumatising incident impacts her and those close to her.
Ms Ladd, who has written four other books, said The Way Back was the most difficult to write.
‘‘It took two and (a) half years (to write), which is long for me,’’ she said.
‘‘No book is easy, but this is definitely the hardest book I’ve ever written because of the subject matter.’’
Ms Ladd, who works once a fortnight at Goulburn Valley Health as a psychologist, said it was likely someone rescued from an abduction would never really recover from the trauma completely.
In The Way Back, she wanted to explore how someone could pick up the pieces of their life and try to repair them.
Ms Ladd said it was important to create a scenario which made people think and that was why the person who abducted Charlie was brain damaged.
The character is not a one-dimensional villain like a serial killer and instead offers a more confronting personality readers can empathise with.
Ms Ladd said this had shocked some readers because they did not know how to respond to the character.
‘‘I quite like to make people uncomfortable,’’ she said.
‘‘It was a good challenge to write someone who did bad things but maybe a reader could find some degree of empathy with,’’ she said.
Ms Ladd is coming to Nagambie to talk about her latest book and answer any questions people have about it.
Her talk will also touch on how she became a published writer.
Kylie Ladd will speak at Nagambie library, 352 High St, Nagambie, on Tuesday, October 17, at 7pm and at Cobram library, 14 Punt Rd, Cobram, at 7pm, on Monday, October 30.
Bookings are required for this talk and can be made by phoning Nagambie library on 1300374765 by Saturday, October 14.