Shortly after I graduated journalism school, I moved to Korea to teach English. I was planning on doing freelance journalism projects on the side and had a list of contacts in my pocket, but they quickly got thrown out when I decided instead to write the novel I’d always wanted to write. It turned out to be an overly autobiographical ‘practice’ novel and so I moved on to my next.

After Korea, I moved to LA with my husband and started teaching ESL there while I worked on my second novel. While there, I discovered I loved teaching my foreign students. I loved hearing the stories they told me. It was a lot like journalism, but with more compassion. They told me stories about being mistreated and also stories of mistreating others. I became interested in the subject of modern-day slavery and the trafficking of humans. There are so many domestic workers in LA that I realized anyone could be a slave. Your neighbor could have a modern-day slave, someone working without pay in her house and you wouldn’t even know it.

I traveled to Moldova to research my next book, TRAFFICKED. My cousin was living there so I stayed with her and interviewed girls in the city and in the villages. I came to have a greater understanding of the causes of trafficking and slavery and I felt a great deal of empathy for these poor, ambitious and smart girls who felt trapped in a life of poverty. They were the perfect targets for this crime. So, I wrote a novel about a girl who comes from Moldova to LA to be a nanny and ends up as a modern-day domestic slave. My debut novel, TRAFFICKED, is being published by Penguin and comes out in February 2012.


Hannah is an ordinary teenager growing up in Moldova  until her parents are killed in a terrorist bombing. While she’s still  mourning the loss, she gets an offer that sounds too good to be true: a  job as a nanny for a Russian family in Los Angeles.

At first, it  seems like her luck has finally turned around, but life with the  Platonovs quickly spirals into a nightmare. Lillian, the mother, forces  Hannah to work sixteen-hour days cleaning, and won’t let her leave the  house. Sergey, the father, is full of secrets. And they refuse to pay Hannah.

Stranded in a foreign land with false documents, no  money, and nobody who can help her, Hannah has become a modern-day  slave. And the more Hannah unravels this family’s terrible secrets, the  more her life—and her family back home—are in grave danger. Desperate  and lonely, she reaches out to the boy next door. But in the end, the  only one who can save Hannah is herself.

Kim’s Causes:

I’m donating 20 percent of whatever I make from the novel to help trafficking victims. The organizations that I support are ones which helped me research this book and that I think do a good job of helping the victims.

Safe Horizon: This is a charity which helps the victims of trafficking and gets them back on their feet.

Salvation Army: They have a great program to help victims of trafficking as well as working with police to stop trafficking networks.

La Strada: This is an organization that works tirelessly in Moldova to create awareness so that fewer girls are trafficked and enslaved. They also track down girls who have become victims of this crime and help bring them back home.

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One Response to Kim Purcell

  1. Kerry Dwyer says:

    I have been tagged in ‘The Next Big Thing’ – it is one of those answer ten questions and tag 5 other people things. It’s for authors with a project. Here is an example . I am working on my submission but I would like to tag as many RABMAD authors as possible.

    Does this interest you?

    Kerry Dwyer.

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