Interview with Coline Régembal

Author of He Who Sleeps

Hi:) My name is Coline, and I'm a young author. I've always loved writing, but this is my first time sharing my work to the world! Would mean so much to me if you could check it out<3

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Quick description of the book for a new reader - what should they expect?
  • A reader should expect to venture into the mind of someone who has no recollection of their past. Gabriel is a successful businessman in New York. From an outside perspective, he has a good life. And yet, as you grow to know him, you realize he is persistently unsatisfied. His relationship with Sonia - his girlfriend, is deteriorating, and questions about his past slowly torture him. He finally decides to uncover the truth, at whatever cost.
Can you describe the setting in which the characters grow?
  • The story takes place in the United States, in 2035, as climate change has ravaged ecosystems and cities. The heat, scorching sun and pollution have become unbearable. Swimming pools have been banned, and plastic, made illegal. Architecture has changed, the building walls are thick and windows are small. A Civil War has devastated Quebec, its population killing for the survival of their language. Gabriel originates from Montreal. This history is his heritage.
What was your inspiration for this book?
  • I became fascinated with a question - How would a person live if they had no memories of who they were? I wondered if they would be able to build meaningful relationships if they did not remember the ones they grew up with. How would this translate into their career? Would they settle for one job or would they constantly quit, endlessly searching for something they could not find - perhaps something that could fill a void inside of them. That's how Gabriel's character came into being. The book examines his search for the truth, and its impact on his relationship with someone he has learned to love - Sonia.
Could you briefly describe the characters?
  • Gabriel craves to fit in. To feel like he belongs. He loves feeling anonymous in New York, being one with the crowd of businessmen going to work. He longs for control. He knows that without it, his mind would venture to dark places he could never escape. But this endless desire for control is impacting his life - his relationship with a woman he loves, and his happiness. The book examines his personal growth as he decides to find the truth.
    Sonia is Gabriel's polar opposite. She loves fiercely, and fights for what she believes in. She loves to dance, to laugh, and Gabriel admires her freedom.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • Starting a story is easy, but ending it is hard. There can be much motivation at the start, but it can quickly decline as months go by and life goes on. I would advise aspiring authors to have a general idea of the book plot before writing. Consistency is also crucial, even if it is only one page per day. Your story will lack rhythm otherwise. And finally, speak from your heart:) I imagine my characters and their lives based on what I have personally experienced, who I am and who the people I love are. I find writing to be a truly cathartic experience.
Could you talk a little about your writing process?
  • As an idea for a story comes to me, I let it grow in my mind for several weeks before putting it on paper. It evolves as I meet people, discover new places, and read books. Then, I write the entire plot for the book, from beginning to end, without necessarily going into the details. I want to know that the plot is coherent. I will add the details later. I also write at least one page on each character, who they are, their personality traits, their relationships to others. This also evolves as I start writing, but it is important to have a sense of who they are before writing the story. Finally, I start writing, approximately two Word pages a day. Each day, I read what I have written the past day and review it. I continue this process until the story is complete. I then send it to my friends and family members for advice. I go through the entire story again once I have received enough feedback. I do this process several times. Finally, I don't read the story for at least a month, before reading it one last time and submitted it to publishers.
Which character has had the greatest impact on readers?
  • Gabriel has had the strongest impact on readers. I believe people relate to him. The book examines his personal journey as he faces grief, guilt, and has to overcome his fears for love. I believe such themes are rather universal, which makes him an impactful character.
If the book were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye ?
  • I would love to see Ryan Gosling as Gabriel (yes I'm being very realistic here). In Blade Runner 2049, he was capable of appearing emotionless, stone-like - and yet conveyed complex emotions through subtle facial expressions. Similarly, Gabriel appears cold and restrained to the world, but is capable of intense feelings and love when confronted to drastic situations.
What is your favorite book, and how do you think He Who Sleeps relates to it?
  • So, two books. The first one has been an absolute favorite of mine for YEARS, the Hunger Games. He Who Sleeps is similar in the sense that it unravels a dystopian society and studies its impact on its characters. Then, I would say, Still Alice. This book is about a woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer. Similarly, Gabriel has no memories of his past, and increasingly suffers from this. The theme studied in both stories is the impact of amnesia on a person and his or her ability to live.
Where next? What are you working on now?
  • The story ends with a clear cliffhanger. I wish to write a sequel to He Who Sleeps:)
Authors – click here to learn about Profile


In 2025, Gabriel awoke in a hospital bed with no memories of his past. He was told by doctors that he had fled war in Quebec, and had arrived in the United States alone. For months, the image of a little boy in a burning blue house haunted his dreams.

Ten years later, our protagonist is a successful businessman in New York. On the day of a promising interview for his career, Gabriel receives a call from Sonia, his girlfriend, which forces him to face their deteriorating relationship and ask questions he might regret.