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Love and intimacy

When I Wake Up is a dark psychological thriller that centres around a love story. We don’t choose who we fall in love with. It just happens. Biology and pheromones take over and we follow our heart instead of our head. We might hurt people in the process, but we feel happy so we go along with it. 


In When I Wake Up, I felt inspired by two people who on paper would be an unlikely match. What happens if they embark on a love affair? How will it affect those around them? 


The book starts with one of the main characters, Anna, badly beaten and left for dead behind the school where she works. She’s a popular teacher and the mother of two young children, so questions are immediately asked. Who would want to hurt someone like her in such a small, idyllic Swedish town?


Even in a small town, however, no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. Who is Anna? What makes her happy? What are her dreams and ambitions? Does anyone really know? 

Love and intimacy

Although every aspect of my book is based on fiction, I have experienced living with someone who lived a parallel life of which I knew nothing at the time. Unfortunately, the reality for many people can be that you don’t know whom you friends or even your partner is (as an author, this is more appealing in fiction than in real life!).


For Anna, however, who’s in a coma, lying quietly in a hospital bed, it’s the people around her who start to make assumptions. Her husband Erik for example, digs into her life, feeling increasingly frustrated by the police not involving him in their investigation. What will he find?


The importance of intimacy 


Sex is part of life. Most of us were born as a result of a sexual interaction. Mostly, intimacy is linked to love and since When I Wake Up focuses on a love story, I felt it was important to include sex scenes: to keep it real and to keep it honest. 


When I Wake Up is told through five different perspectives, which means you get to know the characters intimately, not just their actions and how they speak, but also their inner thoughts. Why shouldn’t you also know them sexually?


Sex is intimate and it can also feel private, secretive and mysterious. Just like love. Love can often be controversial and evoke emotions of judgment in others. In so many ways, however, love drives us. It can make us do something we wouldn’t otherwise have done. It might also be the best thing that’s ever happened to us. 


Would Anna have chosen differently is she had known the chain of events she set in motion? No one knows. Only Anna. Which leads us to the question: when she does wake up, what secrets will she reveal? 


The article first appeared on the Head of Zeus website.

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