IT was a nice moment, according to author Petronella McGovern.
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Back in her home town of Bathurst last year for the launch of her debut novel, the psychological thriller Six Minutes, Ms McGovern came across a familiar face.
"My kindergarten teacher came to the launch and was so lovely," she said.
"When I was in kindergarten, she was always encouraging reading and writing."
The problems of the pandemic mean Ms McGovern won't be able to travel to Bathurst - or other locations - for events to introduce her new novel, The Good Teacher.
But that's only a small fly in the ointment for the author, who has, since her trip to Bathurst last July, been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Crime Awards (in the debut crime fiction category) and the Sisters In Crime Australia Davitt Awards for Six Minutes.
"The response to Six Minutes has just been amazing and now The Good Teacher has been released and all the early reviews have been lovely," she said.
"I'm on top of the world."
Where Six Minutes examined the aftermath of a child's disappearance from a playgroup on the bushy edges of Canberra, The Good Teacher is the story of kindergarten teacher Allison and her efforts to regain control of a life in disarray.
Ms McGovern said both are about issues that are relatable to readers.
"I'm writing about family, parents, children, community - I think those are all topics that really interest people.
"When I was growing up in Bathurst, both my parents [obstetrician Terry and GP Ingrid] were doctors, and we would walk down the street and everyone would say hello to Mum and Dad.
"The character of Allison [in The Good Teacher], who has been a kindergarten teacher for 12 years, knows a lot of the community, so when her life falls apart, she is ashamed.
"People trust her; she is able to influence the community. It's about influencing the community for good or evil."
Ms McGovern said psychological thrillers allow her to peel back the layers.
"I'm interested in what makes people behave the way they do; their motivations to act in certain ways.
"And I write books from multiple viewpoints, going between the heads of different characters.
"That's interesting. When you are just looking at someone from the outside, you don't know what they are thinking or their reasons for doing things."
Ms McGovern is at work on a third novel as part of a new two-book deal with publisher Allen and Unwin.
And in the meantime, she knows she's got a guaranteed sale for The Good Teacher in Bathurst.
"Mum has ordered her copy from BooksPlus," she said.
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