What’s it about?
A breathtaking, heart-pounding, dark debut, sure to delight fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep. When Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?
As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife’s secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal and jealousy.
As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she’s lying silent in a hospital bed…
About Jessica Jarlvi
Born in Sweden, Jessica moved to London at the age of 18 to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Publishing and Business. She worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago where she edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Since 2010, Jessica has taught journalism and media at a local university, and has spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm. Last year, she was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Jessica is married with three spirited children, and although she’s known for her positivity, her writing tends to be rather dark!
Connect with the author
I never intended to write When I Wake Up from five different points of view. It happened organically – I’m not a planner! – but it made me enjoy writing the book even more. As a reader, I usually have five different books on the go, so this made sense. I recently read that Paula Hawkin’s latest book is told from eleven different perspectives, which is very impressive!
While doing a Masters in Creative Writing in Sweden one tutor told us that the most difficult book he had ever written, was from four different perspectives. This intrigued me, telling a story from various points of view and I started writing a book that involved different characters’ take on life.
Swopping from one character to another is similar to acting. You step in and out of someone else’s shoes, immersing yourself in that character’s thoughts. When I first moved to London, I did an evening class in improvisational acting, which led to a part in a play. My role involved being a Swedish student desperately in love with a man who in turn was in love with an older woman, who I seem to recall was not in love with him (drama galore in other words).
It was a terrific experience and I have to admit, I did toy with the idea of studying acting. However, my reasoning was that in such a competitive profession, you need to want it 100% to stand a chance, and my heart was – and still is – in writing stories.
Writing is therapeutic, sometimes difficult, but mostly enjoyable. Time spent with your characters, shaping them and watching them evolve, gets better the further into a book you get. People often ask where writers get their ideas from and for me, it’s from life: I’m always observing my surroundings, imagining what goes on in people’s heads.
Writing When I Wake Up, I really enjoyed immersing myself in Daniel’s perspective. His teenage mind goes through a number of conflicting emotions. He is both hard and soft, tough yet vulnerable. I both despised him and loved him at the same time. I feel that people, as well as characters, are not entirely good or bad. Life is not quite so black and white, and I wanted to depict that in this book.
My next novel is told through three different points of view only, but who knows what will happen along the way? Maybe more characters will clamour for attention, eager for their time in the spotlight…
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