Hear from a masterful new voice in suspense, as Paula Hawkins recounts the twists and turns of her journey to ‘overnight success’, and dissects our insatiable interest in elegantly-crafted and emotionally-nuanced literary thrillers. In conversation with Hilary Harper.
It was the book every commuter seemed to have in their hands in 2015. A tautly written psychological thriller with lashings of Hitchcock and Agatha Christie, Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train explored society’s voyeuristic impulses, alcoholism and the disconcerting unreliability of memory.
Even more riveting than The Girl on the Train, though, is the story of how it came into being. A debut novel that becomes an international bestseller and is quickly optioned by Hollywood? It seems like every writer’s dream – but according to Hawkins, it wasn’t nearly that straightforward. The Girl on the Train ‘was a last roll of the dice for me as a fiction writer’, she’s admitted.
Hilary Harper has a degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, and 30 years’ experience in radio. She’s been at the ABC since 2005. She’s covered everything from news and current affairs to traffic reporting, arts, health, gardening, science, finance, education, relationships, parenting, and much discussion of food.
Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller. It has been published in over forty languages and has been a bestseller around the world. It has been optioned for film by Dreamworks.