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Sewell, Kitty 1951(?)- (Kitty Harri)

Sewell, Kitty 1951(?)- (Kitty Harri)

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1951, in Sweden; married (divorced); married; second husband's name John (a doctor); children: (first marriage) Erik, Elise. Education: Degree in applied sculpture; master's degree in creative writing.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Granada, Spain; Swansea, Wales. Agent—Sheila Crowley, Curtis Brown Group, Ltd., Haymarket House, 28-29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP, England.

CAREER:

Writer. Worked as a notary public, a sculptor, and as a psychotherapist for the British National Health Service and in private practice.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Two awards for stone carvings; Reader's Prize, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); International Book of the Month, Bertelsmann Publishing Group.

WRITINGS:

(With Raymond Thompson) What Took You So Long? A Girl's Journey to Manhood: The Story of Raymond Thompson (biography), Penguin Books (London, England), 1995.

(Editor) My Cheating Heart: Contemporary Short Stories by Women from Wales, Honno Modern Fiction (Dinas Powys, Wales), 2005.

(Under pseudonym Kitty Harri) Hector's Talent for Miracles (fiction), Honno Modern Fiction (Dinas Powys, Wales), 2007.

Ice Trap, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2007, also published as Ice Trap: A Novel of Suspense, Touchstone/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2008.

Bloodprint: A Novel of Psychological Suspense, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2009.

SIDELIGHTS:

Kitty Sewell is an author whose life has taken her around the world. She was born in Sweden and lived there until she was thirteen years old. At that time, her parents moved to the Canary Islands of Spain, and then to Canada several years after that. Sewell continued to travel after she reached adulthood, spending time "being a hippie, hitchhiking solo around South America," as she explained on her Web site. She married, had children, and divorced, then took work as a notary public in a small community in the sub-Arctic zone, on the Alaskan Highway. "I wanted to escape, get as far away from civilization as possible," she stated. After two years there, she met an English doctor who was "another escapist," and they soon married. The couple moved to England, then Wales, where she worked as a psychotherapist and wrote a newspaper column about mental health. Her first published book was What Took You So Long? A Girl's Journey to Manhood: The Story of Raymond Thompson, the biography of a transsexual. Sewell wrote the book with Thompson, who was its subject.

Sewell then embarked on a career in sculpture and even won two awards for her artwork in that medium, but when her novel Ice Trap was published, she decided that writing was her true vocation. The story has some parallels to her own life; it is set in northern Canada and Wales and concerns a doctor who has spent time in the remote northern regions. Dafydd Woodruff, the protagonist, is a British surgeon with all the trappings of a successful life. He has a fine home, a wife who loves him, and a successful medical practice. His wife wants very much to have a child, but Dafydd doesn't feel ready for the responsibilities of parenthood. There is some tension between them over the issue, but their marriage is basically sound. It is, however, badly upset when Dafydd receives a letter from a teenaged girl in Moose Creek, Canada, who claims that she and her twin brother are his children. Dafydd had lived in Moose Creek for a year after having a bad outcome on a young boy's surgery; his feelings of guilt about that incident led him to spend time in the isolated spot. Dafydd knows the children's mother, an unstable woman named Sheila Halley, who works as a head nurse at the hospital associated with Moose Creek. He has no recollection of any physical encounter with her, however. Accordingly, he is stunned when DNA tests indicate that he is, indeed, the father of the two children. His story is so unbelievable that his wife feels he is lying, and his marriage seems to be falling apart. He returns to Moose Creek to find out the truth, and there he uncovers many secrets and deceptions that will change his life and many others for years to come. The narrative shifts back and forth in time to slowly reveal the truth.

Reviewing Ice Trap for Bookreporter.com, Joe Hartlaub found the characters to be multifaceted and the story to be an intriguing one. He commented: "Sewell's storytelling is the real star here…. Even in the face of apparent tragedy, there is a natural beauty that informs the background." Hartlaub concluded that Ice Trap marks an "impressive debut" as a novelist for Sewell. A reviewer for It's a Crime (or a Mystery …) felt the novel runs "a little too long" but described it as "quick and assured in seeking out emotions and motivations" and "strong on characterisation and emotional motivation." Booklist reviewer Emily Melton recommended Ice Trap as "dark, ripping, stark, and suspenseful" with a strong plot, memorable characters, and evocative descriptions of the Arctic region.

In an interview with Jordan Foster for Publishers Weekly, Sewell commented: "I love the Canadian Arctic…. It's one of the few remaining ‘last frontiers.’ As a setting for a novel, it has fantastic scope for mystery and menace, the starkness of the landscape reflecting the desolate inner world of the characters."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2007, Emily Melton, review of Ice Trap, p. 20.

Bookseller, November 9, 2007, "Ice Trap Author to S&S," p. 13.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2007, review of Ice Trap.

Library Journal, November 15, 2007, Lisa O'Hara, review of Ice Trap, p. 52.

M2 Best Books, May 30, 2006, "Shortlist for Wales Book of the Year Award Announced."

Publishers Weekly, October 8, 2007, review of Ice Trap, p. 34; December 10, 2007, Jordan Foster, "PW Talks with Kitty Sewell: The Most Remote Place on Earth," interview with Kitty Sewell, p. 32.

ONLINE

A Bookaholic's Review,http://bookaholicsreview.wordpress.com/ (April 2, 2008), review of Ice Trap.

Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (August 15, 2008), Joe Hartlaub, review of Ice Trap.

It's a Crime (or a Mystery …), http://itsacrime.typepad.com/ (February 17, 2007), review of Ice Trap.

Kitty Sewell's Home Page,http://kittysewell.com (August 15, 2008).

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