Because She Loves Me was inspired by a number of events that happened to me.
Firstly, like the protaganist Andrew, I suffered a detached retina a couple of years ago, and spent two weeks sleeping upright with a gas bubble in my eye, imbibing a cocktail of drugs and wondering if I would ever recover my sight. It was scary. Fortunately, thanks to the surgeons at my local hospital, I recovered. But the experience, including the horrible follow-up laser surgery, has made me slightly obsessed with my eyes.
Eyes feature heavily in Because She Loves Me – but to say more would be a spoiler…
Secondly, there has been my experience of jealousy. When I was at university I had a girlfriend who made my life hell because a green-eyed monster lived inside her. She accused me of fancying every woman I met; she got angry if an attractive woman appeared on TV; she demanded that I break off contact with my female friends. Going into a lecture, I squirmed and sweated if a good-looking girl sat next to me, in case my girlfriend found out. Being a nineteen-year-old idiot, I let her get away with it for quite a long time before the relationship burned itself out.
Years later, I lived with a woman who wasn’t jealous but who told me, after I broke my leg and was trapped in our upstairs flat for weeks, that this situation made her happy.
‘I like knowing exactly where you are all the time,’ she said. ‘And what you’re doing.’
And I have experienced jealousy myself. I know what it feels like when that darkness fills you up and devours good sense, filling you up with paranoid rage and fear. It’s the most irrational and nasty emotion and I’m happy to say it hasn’t afflicted me for a long time.
All of this combined to make me want to write a book about sexual jealousy and how destructive it can be. And, of course, that original idea grew into something much darker…