Intimate Conversation author Kitty Sewell

Intimate Conversation author Kitty Sewell

BPM:  Kitty please tell us a little about yourself.I was born in Sweden but have lived in Wales, Canada, Spain and the Canary islands. The Canadian Arctic, where I lived for two years, was the setting for my first novel. ICE TRAP became a bestseller and sold in 20 countries around the world. I speak four languages but write in English. Before I came to fiction writing, I practiced as a psychotherapist and sculptor. Now I live in Spain and write full-time. 

BPM:  What makes you powerful as a person and a writer? I think my power as a person and as a writer comes mainly through my maturity. I don’t mean necessarily maturity through years, but through experiences and life changes. I feel I’ve lived many lives, having struggled hard but also been extremely fortunate. Many extraordinary things have happened to my family. Through my psychotherapy work I’ve had the privilege of emotional intimacy with people from all walks of life, and heard many astonishing stories. I’ve always asked too many questions and wanted to hear what lies beneath the answers. I’ve lived in many countries, traveled extensively and seen unusual things. 

I think I can convey this accumulation of life experiences into my writing, yet I endeavor to retain a sense of humility. Life is a mysterious and complex affair with no set answers, and my uncertainty about everything informs my characters, in the way they grapple for insight and understanding. 

Writing is a skill too, a craft that must be learned and honed, so the power of a writer comes through a lot of hard work, discipline and dedication, but never at the expense of seeking to live life to the full.

BPM:  Who are your mentors? I feel that there is no end to how much you can learn so I’m always looking for mentors. For me there are mentors for writing and mentors for living, but often they have both functions. My writing mentors have been a number of writers and teachers. Liz Jensen, the novelist, has been invaluable to me. Her writing is flawless. She has read all my scribbling and shows no mercy. This is the problem with an ego; unless you can take rigorous critique, mentors will not be able to do very much for you. Gritting my teeth I set aside my pride and invite criticism. How else will I know what readers want? Some writers maintain that they write primarily for themselves. Well, good luck to them! 

A few other brilliant novelists have read my work and taught me lessons. I’m lucky enough to list Celia Brayfield, Stevie Davies, Deborah Moggach and Lindsay Clark among these. Then there are novelists who don’t know they are my mentors, and they are too numerous to list. Suffice it to say that to write well, you need to read widely, and all the time.

Karsten Diettrich, editor-in-chief (now retired) for the global Bertelsmann Group, took me under his wing when he made ICE TRAP the International Book of the Month with book clubs world-wide. He talked to me at length about Bloodprint (the title was his inspiration) and reviewed it several times, offering strong criticism and advice. I was still new to fiction-writing and very open to the guidance from someone with a whole life-time of experience. We speak often and he reads all my work.

BPM:  Where do you find your inspiration?My main inspiration is without doubt some of the experiences of my own outrageous family. In fact, it will be fodder for plots and characters for years to come. For example, in ICE TRAP I was able to disgorge bucket-loads of frustration, angst and bewilderment, because some of the bizarre things that happened to my characters, actually happened to me and my husband. I was truly empowered by writing about them, especially as ICE TRAP became a bestseller, and I turned adversity into a fantastic career.

In BLOODPRINT  I drew on the sadness and guilt I felt after the death of my sister. My sister’s difficult and tormented life was, in part, reflected in the character of Rachel.

I’m very inspired by nature and this comes across strongly in my writing. Trees have special meaning in all five of my novels. All the stories have exotic locations. BLOODPRINT is partly set in the tropical lushness of Key West and partly on the imposing Georgian streets of Bath, England. In ICE TRAP, the icy Arctic setting was almost a character in itself, and in CLOUD FEVER my hero battles his demons in the deserts of the Tibetan plateau. The novel I’m writing now is set in Gibraltar, a huge solitary rock, and an astonishing place of secret stories, underground tunnels and unusual people.

BPM:  Introduce us to your book BloodprintBLOODPRINT is a psychological suspense novel. The story centers around three women from different worlds whose paths are inexorably linked. Madeleine is an American psychotherapist who, after the death of her husband in a Florida hurricane, decides to move to the city of Bath in England where her parents live. Her father is a famous English painter, divorced from her Cuban mother, Rosaria, who is a Santera (a practitioner of a Cuban religion which has sorcery at its heart). Rosaria is a patient in a psychiatric hospital, and her delusions and predictions play havoc with Madeleine’s own sanity. Madeleine, in her quest to heal her life, is torn between her conventional father’s world-view and her mother’s ancient beliefs.

Rachel, a single mother with a tortured past comes to Madeleine for therapy, hoping to rid herself of the man who is her former pimp and the father of her son. Madeleine endures Rachel’s scornful attitude towards her as part of the psychotherapeutic process, but, increasingly wary of Rachel’s intentions and reasons for coming, she begins to imagine an impossible scenario. 

The increasingly complex relationship between Madeleine and Rachel soon begins to take a sinister turn and finally unleashes a terrifying series of events which neither woman could have predicted and neither can control. In their different ways, each woman seeks redemption for the crime that binds them. 

BLOODPRINT  by Kitty SewellPurchase books today!

BPM:  What was the most powerful chapter in the book?I’ll try and answer this question without spoilers. The first half of the novel maps the building of a relationship between the psychotherapist Madeleine, and her client Rachel. As time goes by, Madeleine becomes more and more suspicious about Rachel’s identity.

Concurrently to this process the reader gets glimpses of a back-story that explains how Madeleine could come to harbor these suspicions. In the climatic chapter, Rachel commits an unspeakable crime. It is done through sheer desperation, but also through a long build-up of rage. After the deed has been done, Rachel is desperately afraid, confused and alone. She doesn’t know what to do, where to turn, so she goes to the only person she can think of, her therapist.

But during the powerful confrontation which ensues between the two women, Rachel also divulges her true reasons for wanting therapy with Madeleine. She claims there is a debt to pay, and Madeleine has to deliver. From being a respectable professional, Madeleine finds herself embroiled in a grotesque cover-up, and with blood on her hands her life has changed for ever. 

BPM:  How will reading your book shape the readers lives? I think novels are written primarily to entertain, and it is verging on arrogant to assume that one’s stories can have any major impact on readers’ lives. Having said this, I have had scores of emails from readers, both questioning the premise of BLOODPRINT and telling me how they have been affected by it. I realize, almost in retrospect that BLOODPRINT, despite being a suspense/thriller type of novel, is quite a powerful story about the relationships between women. The issues of three generations of women come out in protest, pain, guilt, lust and fury, whilst this emotional battle plays itself out against increasingly disturbed and destructive behavior. Issues such as single parenthood, adoption, mental illness, human trafficking and prostitution are central to the novel, and if nothing else, I think readers might learn things they knew little about.

BPM:  How can our readers reach you online? Easy! You can go into my website  and access my contact details. I really enjoy receiving mail from readers and try as far as possible to answer them.


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