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.
Can you tell us about any research you carried out for The Fault?
All my novels are set in interesting and/or exotic locations. Either I have already lived there (like the Canadian sub-Arctic in Ice Trap) or the place fascinates me and I spend time there to immerse myself in the atmosphere (like Ladakh and Dharamsala in India for Cloud Fever) I find out every little thing about the place, and the really interesting facts and aspects get worked into my writing somehow.
In The Fault, I had to research everything about Gibraltar, the tunnel system, the Neanderthal findings, the diving treasures, the people and their fascinating history, their quirky language, the battles that took place there going back millennia. You have to knock on a few doors and explain you need information for a novel, so you can’t be shy. I had to find out a lot about structural engineering to make Sebastian Luna a credible genius. I can build the darned bridge myself after all that!
Where do the ideas for your plots come from?
Normally my plot ideas come to me at night, in that twilight state of half sleep. Plots need to be developed however, so from an initial idea I do a lot of thinking and trying out the plausibility of the plot strands and its resolution.
Do you have any rules for writing?
My best rule is discipline. Don’t let more than two days go by without sitting down to serious writing. How many hundreds of thousands of novels never get finished due to lack of discipline and perseverance? Don’t join that sad lot.
My second rule is, start your novel with a bang, a passage that will totally capture the reader (including prospective publishers)
Let interested friends and family read your work and really listen to their comments, especially the negative ones. Immersed in your writing you really benefit from outside perspective, bringing glaring inconsistencies to light.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Time for developing something worthwhile is limited, so stop faffing about worrying about appearances, your body shape, getting a tan, getting hooked on TV series, what your buddies are doing when you are not around, etc etc.
Practice that guitar, study, stay fit, meditate, learn a new language, develop your painting and sculpting ….write that novel… In other words: be grateful for your talents and develop them.
Do you have any advice for first time writers?
Start with short, short stories. Go on a course or do a workshop. Buy Robert McGee’s “Story” and Sol Stein’s “Stein on Writing” and read them (you can get them on audio, so you can listen to them all day and get immersed in their wisdom and brilliance).
We’d love to know more about your writing space. What’s it like?
Ha ha… Did you ever see Tracy Emin’s sculpture My Bed? Mine is not quite that bad, nor dirty, but I do a lot of writing propped up on pillows. I don’t recommend this appalling habit. Sometimes I write sitting on my sofa with a view of the incredibly lush botanical bonanza that is my garden, the Mediterranean in the background. Sadly, I cannot write out of doors where I am most happy.
What hurdles have you had to cross?
The hurdles of life certainly inspire my writing. Discovering that my (then) husband had sired a child he knew nothing about, was personal hurdle in my life and marriage and it inspired my first novel Ice Trap. The fact that I was writing from a deeply personal experience clearly made the story so much more poignant and real, making the novel a bestseller. I think all the hurdles in my life have had their hand in my writing. Escaping a tyrannical and psychopathic father, made it easy to write Mimi in The Fault (in her case a mother). I just had to remember the hurdles I had to cross in my gradual transformation from rebellious and troubled teenager into a thinking and balanced woman.
The best hurdle to tackle in your path to become a writer is to have psychotherapy. Finding out what makes you tick will help you create believable characters with depth.
Can you tell about any movies or music that have inspired your writing and how they inspired you?
I was very inspired by South American music in my youth, a favorite being Atahualpa Yupanqui, who sang his astonishingly beautiful poetry and played wonderful guitar. I had the privilege to once sing and play guitar with Joan Baez, at a workshop during the Toronto Folk Festival. I was totally in love with that era’s music with its meaningful lyrics, some of which actually spoke to your soul. Also very moved by my own country’s (Sweden) balladeers, such as Ulf Lundell and Evert Taube. I am more inspired by art and sculpture where my writing is concerned, the act of sculpting is akin to sculpting prose with words.
Movies rarely inspire my writing.
What are your five favourite novels?
I often read psychological suspense novels, because it is good to see what the competition has to offer. I also learn a bit from plots that surprise me, and certainly what not to write. I blow hot and cold with Ian McEwan’s novels but I was very impressed with Enduring Love, absolutely brilliant! I learned a lot from it about plot. Peter May’s Hebrides trilogy was superb. Couldn’t put them down. I thought the recent Apple Tree Yard was the best I had read in ages and ages. A book that stayed with me for a long time was Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. Some say it was badly written. If that is the case, it wins hands down for emotionally connecting me to a work. It inspired and informed my novel Hector’s Talent for Miracles, a story set partly in the Spanish Civil War. Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man was my favorite for many years. I don’t dare to reread it, just in case it disappoints.
Do you have any quirky approaches to writing (for example, I know of one writer who, in her first draft of her first novel, hadn’t decided if her main character was going to be male or female so used ambiguous names such as Sam, Alex, Charlie etc).
I do occasionally talk to my characters to see if they like me and if we could have a friendship or relationship (that can be disappointing). Sometimes I pretend I am one of the characters, usually female but not always.
Houses are very important to me, and every one of my novels have an unusual house, or as in The Fault, an apartment. These dwellings become like a characters in themselves with a history and a personality.
Modesty aside, I think my ability to create very atmospheric setting has a lot to do with my relative success as an author.
Thank you Kitty
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Published in paperback and ebook formats by Honno Press on 18th July 2019.
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.