Jessica Jarlvi - Question & Answer
Can you tell us more about your book, 'When I Wake Up?'
Anna, a caring and popular teacher and mother, is beaten and left to die in a parking lot. She had no apparent enemies, so what could have happened for someone to want to hurt her? Secrets are exposed in the small Swedish town but does anyone really have the answer, other than Anna herself?
Where did you get the inspiration for the novel?
I grew up with parents who worked in the educational system and could always tell how much they really cared about their students. That’s how Anna became a caring teacher who goes above and beyond. I also wanted to portray a woman who tries to be everything to everyone: she wants the world to be a better place but forgets about her own needs along the way. When she finally does what’s not expected, her world comes crashing down.
Question & Answer
Do you see yourself in any of the characters in your novel?
This is a tricky one. My characters are all making choices that I haven’t made in life, but sometimes you borrow an emotion from your own life when writing.
Was there a particular part of the novel that was really difficult to write for you?
The violence of Anna’s attack. I’m very much a ‘make love, not war’ kind of person.
What does your average writing day look like?
I juggle my writing with a marketing job and being a mother of three children, so no day is the same. My writing either takes place very early in the morning, but most likely late at night when the children are sleeping, or when I can grab a few hours on the weekend. I have learnt to be very efficient with my time. :0)
When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
Like most authors, I have been writing for years but I used to write in my mother tongue, Swedish, until my husband asked me to write something he could actually read! That’s how this book started, my first novel in English.
What’s one of the most exciting things that has happened to you since you became a writer?
To be surrounded by a publishing team that is incredibly supportive and appreciates your work is very rewarding. The most exciting event has definitely been to be invited as an author to the Emirates Festival of Literature where I was one of the Montegrappa First Fiction winners, an event that was a catalyst to my book being published.
What is a great book you’ve read recently that you would recommend to others?
'Small Great Things' by Jodi Picoult – everyone should read this book. 'The Good Girl' by Mary Kubica was also superb – a page-turner.
What’s next for you?
I’m busy writing my second book, which is also set in Sweden: about a mother and a father hunting for their daughter who they claim is a murderer, but is she?