In Kitty Sewell's debut, Ice Trap (Reviews, Oct. 8), Welsh surgeon Dafydd Woodruff unearths some disturbing secrets in a Canadian Arctic outpost, where 14 years earlier he had served as a physician.

How did you choose such a remote setting for Ice Trap?

I love the Canadian Arctic, having lived in this region myself for three years. 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.

What made you decide not only to tell your story from a man's perspective but also to shift between Dafydd's present life in Wales and his past in Canada?

It was essential to describe the catastrophic turning point in Dafydd's life as a young doctor and how he came to flee Wales to find the most remote place on earth, in order to set the scene for when this past comes back to haunt him. People often ask me how I can presume to write from a man's point of view, yet men have told me that I've perfectly captured the way the archetypal man deals with difficulties, relationships, conflicts, sorrows and joys. My background as a psychotherapist has helped me in this.

Is your knowledge of Inuit traditions and myths based on research or firsthand experience?

Both. There are many distinct tribes in the vast space of the Northwest Territories, and the 20th century has changed their cultures forever. Yet many struggle to hold on to a way of life that they've enjoyed for millennia, living in harmony with the natural world. I read what books were available, and I established contact with Inuit people through e-mail. I was able to gain all the information I needed through these evolving friendships.

What inspired you, as a debut novelist, to start writing?

It was a traumatic personal event that inspired me to start writing, an unknown child appearing in the life of my immediate family. To learn the nuts and bolts of writing, I've read and been inspired by many authors in the genre, but take care to retain my own unique voice. I read in three languages (Swedish, English and Spanish) so I'm exposed to a wide variety of literature.

Do you plan to continue Dafydd's story in future books?

I'm going to let Dafydd decide that. If he comes to me in the night and tells me what he's been up to, what mysteries have befallen him, I might write them down. My next novel has taken me on another journey to dark places, both in the world and inside the mind.