This is the second time Aria Fiction have invited me to take part in the Blog Tour for one of Jessica’s books and once again, Jessica has been lovely about it and agreed to contribute a Guest Post, which is always my most favoured option for a promotional article.
There are many other stops on the tour, each with unique content to offer, so why not visit a few, to help you decide if ‘What Did I Do?’ is heading for your ‘Want To Read’ shelf!
‘WHAT DID I DO?’
From her life.
When two murders happen in Chicago, a witch-hunt ensues, and Kristin quickly finds herself at the centre.
The problem is she isn’t sure of what she did or didn’t do.
Armed with a life insurance payout, she runs away to Sweden to start her life over.
But it’s not that easy to escape the past.
And whatever she’s done, someone is on her tail, wanting her to pay…
Hi! I am JESSICA JARLVI
I worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago, USA, where I edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, I completed a Masters in Creative Writing.
Since 2010, I have taught journalism and media at a local university, and I have spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm.
In 2016, I was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
I am married with three spirited children, and although I am known for my positivity, my writing does tend to be rather dark!
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“FAMILY DRAMA AND TRAFFICKING IN A NEW NOVEL“
Families offer so much material.
Whether it’s happy or dysfunctional, there are always disagreements, so imagine that you have a family torn apart by mental illness and now… murder.
Kristin’s husband dies and with people casting their suspicions on her, she runs away. Around the same time, Frank and Birgitta’s son supposedly drowns but they suspect foul play and decide to go after the suspect themselves: their daughter. ‘It felt bizarre to think of his daughter as the enemy, but she had crossed the line from being mentally challenged to a destroyer of lives.’
That’s how my second novel, What Did I Do?, starts. The characters and their actions took me on a fantastic ride, and they quite often did the unexpected, making me alter the plot to follow them on their journeys.
I’m often asked if I plan my novels in advance since there are authors who spend months carefully constructing their books before they start writing. I don’t. Although I put a synopsis together at the beginning of the process, I didn’t completely stick to it. The story came together organically. Having said that, I did know what I was working towards, that is to say, the ending.
Dealing with trafficking.
Women as victims in novels has caused a bit of a stir recently. A new literary prize was announced for thrillers that don’t star female victims. It has divided opinion and although I understand the frustration the organizer feels (and the reason this has been set up), I also believe it’s important for female victims to have a voice. Until issues such as trafficking have been eliminated, we shouldn’t pretend they don’t exist. But more importantly, writers shouldn’t be told what to write, or not to, write about.
Trafficking seems to be one of those issues which isn’t written about enough. The fact that some people think it’s okay to enslave other people (often women), destroying lives, families and destinies, horrifies and angers me. No one should have that power over another human being. While writing my new novel, I found myself skirting around the issue, until I decided to include a character who is wholly dedicated to this and contributes to the What Did I Do? story from another perspective. This made more sense to me.
These days writers are also told to be politically correct and write about what they know. But if writers can’t explore and learn while they write, they would be writing memoirs and although I’ve had a fairly interesting life, there are only so many books you can write about yourself (and I’m not sure I want to write any!)
A recent article in The Guardian by We Need to Talk about Kevin author, Lionel Shriver (who I was lucky enough to meet at a literary festival a few years ago) rightly said: “If all modern literature comes to toe the same goody-goody line, fiction is bound to grow timid, homogeneous, and dreary.”