Dark inherited secret shared in memoir at Bonegilla Reunion

Author Annette Janic thought she knew her mother well.

But after her mother passed away, a decade ago now, her mother's best friend shared with her a secret that turned her life upside down.

Come along to the Bonegilla Reunion on November 2 and 3 to discover the dark inherited mystery first hand as Ms Janic delves into her past.

The co-author of War Child and a first generation Australian, Ms Janic's parents and older brother passed through the Bonegilla Migrant Camp after arriving in Australia under the International Refugee organisation program following WWII.

"When I started on this journey of documenting my mother's life I thought I knew my mum well, like many daughters think about their mums," she said.

"She had a lot of secrets that were uncovered along the way, but at the time that she died I thought that I knew them all and that I was going to write about them.

"It was after my mother's death that her best friend revealed what I call the ultimate secret and that was something that involves me.

"It took me on a completely different tangent and turned the book from what was going to be a biography into a memoir because I had to write myself into the story as I inherited this secret.

"As much as it was then about me, it also completed my mother's journey and so the two went hand in hand."

Ms Janic recalled she needed to convince herself to tell the story. 

"It's a story that I have been collating since I was five years old and over the years I just keep kind of storing bits and pieces that my mum told me and decided after her death to write it down on paper," she said.

"A friend read a draft and convinced me it was an incredible story that needed to be told.

"It was a difficult process because it was very personal and I was discovering information as I was writing it and I didn't know how or when it would end," she said.

"It's not a sexy, happy story - it's very confronting and dark in places but despite that we need to hear those stories."

Ms Janic has received positive and supportive feedback since releasing the book just over two years ago.

"It has touched a lot of people," she said.

Over the past 18 months, Ms Janic has delivered a dozen author talks.

War Child can be ordered through book shops and Ms Janic is excited to reveal it will soon be published in Germany.

"It's important to try and capture post WWII generation stories, they are just too valuable to not be told and there's not that many of that generation left," she said.

"This book also gives a slightly different angle on some historical events when you are looking at it from a normal, everyday civilian point of view because a lot of history, war history in particular, is written by historians or from the military point of view."

Ms Janic will deliver two author talks at the Bonegilla Reunion on both the Friday and Saturday.

Be sure to get your seat by registering at www.wodonga.vic.gov.au/downloads/images/Booking_form.pdf

The author talk on Friday will be at 2.30pm, with afternoon tea to follow. Cost is $12.

Saturday's author talk will be from 1pm. Cost is $6.