Petronella McGovern's first book, Six Minutes, a story about a missing toddler, had its origins in an incident where her then three-year-old son went missing in Questacon.
Now her children are teenagers and once again they've provided their mother with the seed for a riveting story.
"When my daughter turned 15 and started talking about going to teenage parties I thought back to when I was that age and was doing the same thing," says the former Canberran who now lives in Sydney.
"I was thinking at least things have changed, at least it's a bit better now and my story would be about how there's a character who's a mother and something happened to her when she was 15, but now for her daughter it's different, it's better.
"But then my daughter told me a few things, Chantel Contos came out with her petition about the private schools in Sydney, the Brittany Higgins case, we're doing the women's march for justice again, and I was like, right, it hasn't really changed as much as I'd hoped."
In The Liars, the close-knit community of Kinton Bay is rocked when 15-year-old Siena makes a grisly discovery near a cave in the national park.
She believes the skull is a relic from the town's violent colonial past and posts a video which hits the headlines.
But her parents, Meri and Rollo, think differently.
They remember the teenage parties they had in the "Killing Cave" in the 1990s and the school mate that went missing then. Is the killer still alive and living in the small town?
"Talking to my daughter made me shift my focus when writing the story, I've really looked at the parallels of three different time frames, of incidents happening to women, to teenage girls, at how the town treats women, and has always treated women.
"Something happened to Meri, the mother, when she was 15 and she'd tried to suppress it but now her daughter is 15, it's all coming back, and she's over protective and she wants to stop anything happening to her daughter."
While there are many similarities between the different generations, McGovern, speaking as both an author and a mother, says there are also great differences.
"Teenagers today are so different from us, in good and bad ways," she says.
"In the story, Siena is a teenage activist, a campaigner, you see these teenagers today that are so super aware, they are so much more connected with the world and they want to change the future, things matter to them that didn't really matter to people of our generation.
"We were a little less aware, we didn't have the internet, we weren't that concerned about the environment, that kind of thing.
"One of the hardest things is that perhaps we don't understand their lives, how they live in very different times even though they're going through a lot of the things we went through."
As she did in Six Minutes and The Good Teacher, McGovern's developed a cast of characters who could well be your neighbours, even your family.
The essence of good, what we'll call "suburban noir", lies in stories that could well be happening in your own community.
"I'm fascinated by the idea of what happens to everyday people, like you and me, when they're faced with a difficult, even a terrible, situation," she says.
"That's why we read these books, we think about how we would react to things, what we would do."
In The Liars, the story is told in various voices, Siena, Meri, Rollo, the local detective Douglas Poole.
"There are all sorts of things going on in The Liars and everyone does have a different perspective because they're coming at it with a different history, a different background.
"I want to be able to explore people's opinions and views and writing in various viewpoints lets me do that."
As well as working as an online tutor for the Australian Writers' Centre and running her own writing and editing business, McGovern spends most of her time on novel writing these days.
That and keeping an eye on things that are happening around her, in her own circles, wide and narrow.
"It's the everyday that interests me, that's where I'm finding my stories."
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