The Head of Nursing, who in a more traditional, more hierarchical, more Victorian institution would have been called Matron in the old-fashioned way, had been fairly direct with Sunny Taylor in the beginning, extremely direct, by the Finnish standards of the day: “What we want from you is competent nursing, and also patience. You might get annoyed because of them. It should be said.”

What made you decide to write a novel set in a hospital? Most people try to avoid spending time in them, after all.

I feel drawn to hospitals. To me they’re an index of civilization. That might sound weird when our own healthcare system is so messed up, but isn’t it amazing, at the same time, that we have a system? That there are people who are motivated (and by secular reasons, to boot) to help us when we’re seriously sick or injured, day after day after day? It’s not like this is easy work to do, and the stress felt by individual care providers can be huge. My aunt is a retired practical nurse, and I’m sure that’s one reason I wanted to write about nurses.