Chilling thriller set on Gibraltar – at the heart of The Rock are secret tunnels, hard to navigate and even harder to escape. Sebastian is a civil engineering prodigy and his latest project is his most ambitious to date: to build a new city on the sheerest face of The Rock. His fiancee, Eva, a diver, is entranced by the penisula’s hidden depths and concerned that her lover doesn’t push himself beyond human limits in his desire to see his dream realised. Mimi, still in her teens, is desperate to spread her wings and chafing at the limits placed on her movements by her overprotective older brother. When Mimi gets into a relationship with a neighbour intent on fighting the new development, Sebastian’s precarious mental health spirals out of control putting them all in danger. When Mimi is lost amidst their twists and turns the race is on to find her before the water rises.
Location, location, location
From my earliest reading days, age six or so, I have been fascinated by exotic locations. Nothing takes you out of your own humdrum existence as – by just burying your head in a book – you’re transported to a fantastic and mysterious new land.
I conquered the dizzying heights of the Alps with Heidi, my absolutely favourite little heroine, where she lived in a cabin with her taciturn grandfather. I had no idea where these immense mountains were, but I didn’t care. Just running over the grassy slopes behind sheep, and breathing in the rarified air, I was high as a kite until nightly, my dad yanked out the plug from the socket and killed my reading lamp.
Prince Edward Island was next with Anne of Green Gables. I asked my mum where this exotic island was located, but much as she tried to help, we didn’t discover that it was a remote dot in the Canadian Maritimes (this was eonsbefore Google).
My first novel Ice Trap was inspired partly by a personal experience and partly by the location in which the story happened. I worked as Notary Public in a very remote town set on the Alaska Highway in northern British Columbia for a couple of years. Many would describe this place as a dump, with its melancholic aboriginal population, plus a selection of hopeful pioneers, dodgy ex-criminals, hardened alcoholics, and ambitious hustlers trying to make a buck. The town stretched out along the highway with motels, restaurants, gas stations and bars. There was nothing beautiful about it, yet, it had a special fascination which I clearly managed to convey on paper. I say this with confidence as Ice Trap became an international bestseller, translated into 15 languages. The wilderness, the silence, the snow, the sheer remoteness had a compelling majesty about it. I had lived it and loved it, so I was able to paint a lively canvas for the reader.
I travelled to Ladakh in the Himalayas, and Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh to truly experience the settings for my novel Cloud Fever. Nothing in the world prepares you for the Himalayas. Leh in Ladakh is about as remote as you can get. The population is largely Tibetan, a steady stream of refugees trekking over the mountain passes, risking their lives to reach freedom. The people and the animals in this region are all tiny. Donkeys and cows were the size of large dogs. I was enthralled with the moonlike landscape, but suffered terrible altitude sickness, my body swelled up like a balloon and my head felt like it was bursting. It is a dangerous condition, but what the hell, you have to be prepared to suffer for your art!
Other colourful locations featuring in my novels are Vancouver in Canada, Boulder Colorado, Key West and Cuba, Bath, Cardiff and Asturias, Spain.
My recently published novel The Fault is set in Gibraltar. This little British outpost has suffered a bad name, despite the truly spectacular apparition that is The Rock.
Walking down the main street, indeed you see many tacky- looking British pubs, scores of Indian-owned electronics shops, plus the regular high street chains like M&S, Debenhams, Next and Top Shop.
But underneath this facade of Britishness lurk infinite layers of history, uniqueness and mystique. You only have to step off the Main Street to discover a wealth of fascinating lanes, ramps, stairs, all set between ancient buildings. From everywhere are views to die for, over Spain, over the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, over Morocco’s Rif and Atlas Mountains. The Rock itself is penetrated by a staggering 50 km of man-made tunnels, many of them centuries old. I spent two months prowling around the caves, nature reserves and tunnels, often with the help of guides and people in the know.
The more I prowled, the more extraordinary things I discovered.
The people of Gibraltar are a mix of many nationalities, going back centuries, and they have their own unique language – Yanito. Whatever affiliation they claim, they are neither properly British nor Spanish but speak a blend of both languages, liberally dotted with Hebrew, Genoese and Arabic words.
What can I say… from the moment I set foot on The Rock, I was utterly obsessed with the place. There was nothing for it – a novel had to be set there.
Thank you, Kitty Sewell and Damp Pebbles.
About the author
Kitty Sewell was born in Sweden, and has had four successive nationalities, living in the Canary Islands, Central and South America, Canada, England, Wales and Spain where she now lives in the mountains of Andalucía. She is a successful sculptor, and bestselling author. Her books have been translated into 15 languages and she has been short-listed for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award, the Wales Book of the Year, Winner of the “People’s Choice” BBC Radio Wales Prize, and the Bertelsmann Book Clubs International Book of the Month. She also writes as Kitty Harri. With Honno she has published Ice Trap (2005, later bought by Simon & Schuster) and Hector’s Talent for Miracles (2007) as Kitty Harri.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Fault-Kitty-Sewell-ebook/dp/B07TGKJV5S/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1WHHZ2BAKDLEX&keywords=the+fault+kitty+sewell&qid=1565083546&s=gateway&sprefix=the+fault+kitty+%2Caps%2C198&sr=8-1
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Fault-Kitty-Sewell/9781909983991