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A Hero's Return?


I've recently finished (to the best of my single ability) my second novel, and it's like I've returned from an epic journey, minus the hero's welcome. There's no applause, no fanfare, just life as I left it a few months ago...

Except that I'm different, Aside from feeling that I've been running parallel to a life that has continued without me, I've opened another door to a world I hope I never have to experience personally – Missing Children. And much like when I invited child trafficking into my psyche; once you know, you can't un-know. It's not just that children go missing all the time, which they do, it's the multitude of reasons why that make it such an intriguing as well as sinister world to explore.

As I write this, the recently re-opened enquiry into the case of missing toddler Ben Needham is now suggesting that he was killed accidentally. That's 25 years after he went missing! To have finally found out what actually happened to your child after not knowing for so long must be the most incredible relief.

During my research that was the resounding issue throughout; the not knowing. That's the cruelty of it. Did the person run away, if so why? Were they that unhappy? Did they have an accident and are lying in a ditch somewhere (my mum's default cry when I came home late as a teenager!)? Or the real kicker: have they been taken?

In Missing Sunny Day I've tried to encapsulate what it's like for the people left behind by writing from a few characters' POV, thereby giving them all a 'voice'. It moves the intrigue around, keeps the reader guessing, because they all blame someone else, usually the ones who, from the outside, seem the most likely suspects - the abusive father, the lonely 50-year-old man, the 'weird' teenage boy, the nutty old lady... It's not a new subject but I hope I've approached it from a new angle which will keep the reader guessing until the end, then stay with them long after they've turned out the light.

#writing #writer #journey #novel #missingchildren

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emily pattullo author​