Ladd brings dark story to life

THRILLING: Author and psychologist Kylie Ladd will be speaking at the Nowra Library on August 29.

THRILLING: Author and psychologist Kylie Ladd will be speaking at the Nowra Library on August 29.

Author and psychologist Kylie Ladd will be coming to the Nowra Library for an author talk on Tuesday, August 29 at 5.30pm to talk about her latest novel, The Way Back.

The novel is inspired by the stories of returned children such as Jaycee Duggard and Michelle Knight.

Ladd, a novelist and freelance writer,  has published four novels: After the Fall, Last Summer, which was highly commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award for fiction, Into My Arms, chosen as one of Get Reading’s ’50 books you can’t put down’ for 2013, and the bestselling Mothers and Daughters.

The Way Back is her fifth novel and, according to Kylie, has been the hardest one to write so far.

The book is a brilliant, insightful psychological thriller about a community’s worst fears, a family’s devastation, and a young woman’s journey through terror and courage.

“Most of my novels have taken a year but this one took three years,” she said from her Melbourne home.

The book revolves around Charlie Johnson, who is thirteen and in her first year of high school.

EMOTIONAL: Kylie Ladd's latest novel is a dark departure from her previous books.

EMOTIONAL: Kylie Ladd's latest novel is a dark departure from her previous books.

She loves her family, netball and Liam, the cute guy who sits next to her in Science – but most of all she loves horses and horse-riding.

Charlie’s parents have leased her a horse, Tic Tac, from the local pony club, but one day they go out for a ride in the national park and only Tic Tac returns.

Four months later, long after the police and the SES have called off the search, Charlie is found wandering injured and filthy, miles from where she was last seen.

Her family rejoice in her return, but can anyone truly recover from what Charlie’s been through?

The book delves into the question of when a life has been shattered, how do you put the pieces back together?

“The lost child is a popular trope in Australian arts and literature,” Kylie said, ‘”but I was interested in exploring this from a slightly different angle: not focusing on the loss, per se, but what happens next when what is lost is found.”

“When I was eight-years-old a classmate of mine, Eloise Worledge, was abducted from her bed in an upmarket Melbourne suburb in the middle of the night. Despite a manhunt and media frenzy at least the equal of the Daniel Morcombe case a quarter of a century later, Eloise was never recovered.

The Way Back is not about her but is in memory of her,” she said.

Kylie will be speaking both about the book and her writing career at the Nowra Library and all are welcome to come and listen. 

It is a free event and bookings can be made at www.eventbrite.com.au/e/author-event-kylie-ladd-tickets-36739519893.

Kylie holds a PhD in neuropsychology.