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The Swedish influence

I have lived in various countries but growing up in Sweden had a profound impact on me and therefore, setting When I Wake Up in my home country felt like an easy choice. Sweden is amazing with its four seasons. Summertime is synonymous with lush green fields and fresh air; it never really gets dark at night and everything comes alive. Autumn is colourful but wet and wintertime is clouded in a chilling darkness.


People love to be outside all year round when the sun shines. My mother would always tell me to go outside: ‘the sun is shining, Jessica!’ But it meant abandoning whatever book I was reading…


Growing up in a small town, I would read about the world until I could discover it for myself. That’s where my passion for literature began and I often found myself in the local library, so it’s no surprise that a library features in my novel.


I go back to Sweden regularly, to visit friends and family, and it was during one of those visits that a seed was planted for When I Wake Up. It was springtime; still chilly but flowers were emerging everywhere, sprinkling the air with optimism. I went to see a friend one afternoon. The sky was a cloud-less blue but by the time I made to leave, I found the town submerged in darkness even though it wasn’t late. It felt eerie.


All the shops were closed, there were no people or cars around, and the lights in the houses were gradually switching off. The place felt so utterly deserted and  because it felt so spooky, I started running back to my car, which was parked in the town centre. My heart was beating fast in my chest, my throat hurting from the cold. 


That’s when my brain kicked into action and the author in me started creating various scenarios, one of them being: ‘if someone was attacked now, there would be no witnesses’. That’s how Anna’s attack came about. It made me realise that all the action doesn’t have to be set in a city. In fact, the mystery would be more effective in a small town where everyone thinks they know each other. 



Writing the novel, I really enjoyed recreating an environment similar to the one where I grew up, generously adding fictional elements to suit the story. Although I have spent years living abroad, in my heart, Sweden is still my home and I definitely plan to write more novels that are set there.


Where is your home?  I would love to hear! Tag #jessicajarlvi and for more writing tips, please do follow me on FacebookLinkedIn , Twitter , YouTube or Instagram for inspiration and to keep up with my journey!





This blog post first appeared as a guest blog on the Aimee Raindrop Writes blog.

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