As we creep closer and closer to Maybe Baby’s release, I thought it would be fun to share with you the character interviews I made while I was writing the novel. First one up: Laney. Imagine Laney and I are sitting in a wine bar somewhere in Copenhagen. It’s a frosty day and she’s in her favourite olive green cashmere sweater, skinny jeans and boots. Her hair is pulled into a messy bun. She looks stylish but casual. And though she seems relaxed, she’s fidgeting. I’m guessing she’s a bit nervous about opening up…
Me: This relationship with Mads–is it the first time you’ve cheated?
Laney: (nodding) I always said I would never be one of those people who cheats. If I was attracted to someone else, I’d wait or ignore my interest. I thought if I ignored it long enough my interest in the other person would disappear, and it usually did. But when I met Mads I couldn’t ignore how I felt. He…it sounds like a cliché but he made me feel like I’d come home. I didn’t have that with Niklas. I don’t think I ever did.
Me: You never talk about your parents. Sometimes you mention how bad their marriage was, but you haven’t even told Mads much about your life in the US. Did you ever tell Niklas about your life in the States?
Laney: In the beginning I did. I thought I could tell him everything and that it would just be between us. And then I found out he was discussing our relationship with his ex-wife. I couldn’t believe it. All that time I was telling him my deepest secrets and he was talking about with Karolina.
Me: How did you find out?
Laney: We were at a dinner party and Karolina started talking about how our parents and their bad decisions haunt us. And then she asked me if I felt the same. Then she started giving everyone who was there–people I barely knew–my whole story. I was mortified. But I knew I couldn’t react. If I did, she would see that as proof I wasn’t good enough for Niklas. I bottled it up inside me. I think I went out on the balcony and chain-smoked. When Niklas came out to join me, I held him off by smoking more. He hated it when I smoked. I don’t think he thought he’d done anything wrong. When I confronted him later, he said he told her everything. It had always been that way.
Me: Why did you say you’re not the girl men fall in love with?
Laney: I’m not. Or I wasn’t in the past. I’ve never been enough for the men I’ve dated. Mads is the first person who made me feel like I was the only person who could fulfill him. Even Niklas still needed his ex-wife.
Me: But what makes you feel that way?
Laney: If you’d grown up with my dad and being told all the time you weren’t good enough or that you weren’t worthy of his love and affection because you weren’t pretty enough or smart enough…I was never enough.
Me: What are you most afraid of?
Laney: Being alone. I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone leaves. I think every argument means a break-up is imminent. I don’t really know how to deal with them, arguments I mean. I try to talk through them–explain my feelings and all that, but I can’t always put words to how I feel. And then I get agitated. And I say hurtful things or I just walk out. Sometimes I almost bait the other person to say something awful just so I can feel justified in walking away. I have to stop myself. It’s hard. I hate that I do this. But I know I do it because it what’s I learned from watching my parents’ relationship fall apart. And then I think about how my dad just walked away from my mom and never went back. He started a new family, didn’t care one bit about us. Even when my mom got sick, he didn’t call or ask me how she was doing or how I was doing. I called him once to tell him she was back in the hospital and he said it was my problem so I needed to deal with it. So when my mom died, I didn’t have anyone. She didn’t have any relatives. My dad’s family kind of abandoned me. The only one’s who stayed in touch were Eddy’s mom and grandmother. Her grandmother and my grandmother were sisters. Eddy’s mom and grandmom took me back to New York with them. I lived with them until I started college. I love them. They’re my only family. But they’re not…my family.
Me: Is that why you got a bit obsessed with having a baby?
Laney: I wasn’t obsessed. I just felt like it was time. I thought I wanted a family with Niklas. He’s not perfect, but he…he could give me and the baby security. He loves his kids–even with how screwed up they can be, he loves them unconditionally. And I wanted to have a baby with him that would have that kind of love. Because I never had it, not really.
Me: Is that what you think you can get with Mads?
Laney: (nods) It’s different with Mads. He’s more relaxed. He takes things as they come. He doesn’t plan for a lifetime. He’s the opposite of Niklas. If you tell Mads something, he’ll never share it with anyone else. When he says he loves you, you feel it so deeply. I feel it so deeply. And I know if we have a child together, she’ll feel it too. She’ll never have to doubt that she is loved. She’ll know it all the time.