Alice Sebold became inspired to write The Lovely Bones from two different instances. The first instance, is her own horrible experience having been a victim of a brutal rape during her college years. She already had written a novel about it in a memoir titled Lucky. However, she used elements of that situation to further develop the extremely sensible topics of the rape, and the murder of a young, innocent girl in The Lovely Bones.
The second instance, as Sebold narrates in the introduction to The Lovely Bones, is the incidence of teenage girls during the 1970's which disappeared and were never found. This same observation is voiced by the character of Susie Salmon in the first chapter of the novel. It is further evidence that demonstrates Sebold's need to speak on behalf of these young women, who are victims of a society that had not yet become prepared to deal with the reality of sociopathic behavior in "bread and butter" America.
In newspaper photos of missing girls from the seventies, most looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair. This was before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily mail. It was still back when people believed things like that didn't happen.
Therefore, the crime committed against her, as well as the crimes committed against other young and innocent women, prompted Alice Sebold to use her exquisite talent as a writer to voice their pains, their anger, and the sense of injustice that exists in those situations. Nobody, but the victim herself, could be able to explain, in detail the effects of crime on innocent people.