Author Lucy Treloar said that writing saved her from her worst self.
"I was depressed and I thought I am just going to do this thing and pick myself up," Ms Treloar said.
That thing was enrolling in a creative writing course and she hasn't looked back since.
Ms Treloar moved to Cambodia with her partner earlier this century and worked in a translation office, where she was privy to government and royal family information as she tidied up the English of translated documents.
Returning to Australia four years later is when Ms Treloar's writing career was kickstarted.
An author of children's books in the early 2000s, her 2015 novel Salt Creek is about the remote and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong in South Australia.
It is Ms Treloar's most acclaimed work to date, winning numerous awards including Indie Award for Best Debut and the Dobbie Award.
Ms Treloar will feature in two events at May's Big Bookmark.
On Friday, 8 May, 'Not So Safe Haven' will delve into whether escaping to the country is what it once was.
"My place of greatest sanctuary has been a beach house that has been in my family for more than a century.
"There has been a family pilgrimage to meet up there.
"It is like flocks of birds congregating."
It was when she began writing her recent novel Wolfe Island that Ms Treloar noticed people are losing their sanctuary.
"My daughter was talking to my mother in the summer about the beach house, which is perched on a cliff.
"They pondered which will happen first, the cliff falling down or the beach disappearing from erosion?" she said.
It is these places and things that compel people and Ms Treloar is excited to hear about them when she makes her first appearance at the Bendigo Writers Festival.
It is a theme that is explored on Saturday, 9 May in 'Disappeared Australia', which examines what has disappeared from Australia and whether or not we miss or can recover what is lost.
"The erosion of the possibilities of those memories being formed is a loss," Ms Treloar says when reminiscing on family road trips in cars without air conditioning and the family dog in the back seat.
"I have a massive amount of nostalgia for those Australian childhood experiences and I can imagine the panel will be comparing experiences," Ms Treloar said.
The Bendigo Writers Festival takes place from May 8 to 10 at the Capital Theatre.
For more information and to book tickets, visit bendigowritersfestival.com.au/ticketing