Upwey writer’s debut novel Someone Else’s Child

Someone Else's Child will launch at Belgrave Library on June 4. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Parker McKenzie

When freelance writer Kylie Orr was approached online by a literary agent, she had no idea how to write a novel.

“A commissioning editor who had read my articles contacted me and said it sounds like you have a good voice for women’s fiction. Do you have any gems in your bottom drawer? And I was like… no,” Ms Orr said.

“I was part of a writer’s group and they all thought I was ridiculous to say no. They said just say yes and find something.”

Seven years later, Ms Orr’s debut novel Someone Else’s Child will hit the stores on 1 June, followed by an official launch at Belgrave Library on 4 June.

The psychological thriller focuses on a caseworker named Ren, who lives in a fictional country town in Australia.

“Her two best friends are married and they have a daughter who’s been diagnosed with brain cancer that is inoperable, and there’s no treatment,” Ms Orr said.

“They’re desperately trying to find a cure; they find a trial in Europe, at a cost of $100,000. They set about fundraising the money to get Charlotte, the daughter, on this trial.”

As the fundraiser gains national attention, the husband’s uncomfortableness comes to the forefront as questions over where the money is being used start to arise.

Ms Orr, who is based in Upwey, said the idea behind the novel is a parent doing anything to save their child and the concept of when you donate money, do you have a say in where it goes.

“There are lots of questions about motherhood in friendship, small towns, and because I live in the hills, that was something that inspired it,” she said.

“We have a really tight close-knit community here that is very supportive. I just took the question of what if one of our fundraisers turned bad, how would that look?”

The novel was completed in 2019, although the Covid-19 delayed publication until 2022.

Ms Orr said she has learned plenty writing her first novel, with a second in the editing stage and planned for 2023, but mostly about the difficulties of breaking into the literary industry.

“This industry is really difficult; I was rejected many times before I was long listed in a literary prize for unpublished authors,” Ms Orr said.

“I got an agent at the end of 2019 and it took an entire year to get a book deal after that because the pandemic hit, obviously, the timing was atrocious.”

For more information on Kylie Orr or Someone Else’s Child, visit www.kylieorr.com/novels