photo by Kate Neil
The Girl on the Train has been called “the fastest selling novel in adult history” and the new Gone Girl. It’s a psychological thriller with an alcoholic, voyeuristic protagonist, and it’s delicious fun to read, even if you're not commuting by train or peeking into other people's windows.
Hawkins, who lives in England, visits Barnes & Noble Galleria, on Oct. 28 where she will speak to readers in a live interview beginning at 7:00 p.m.
A limited number of wristbands will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for priority seating with a purchase of the book. (Call the store for more info: 952-920-0633.)
As has become our custom, we asked Hawkins five questions. Her answers are below.
1. One of the most terrifying aspects of this book is how close to home the danger is—even as it’s not necessarily the protagonist's home. What does that terror mean, particularly when writing for women readers?
I’ve always been interested in the sort of crime which happens in and around our ordinary lives: for women I think this has particular resonance. While men are statistically more likely to become victims of violence, when women do become victims, it is overwhelmingly in a domestic setting, with the perpetrators most likely to be someone with whom they have or have had a relationship.
2. It’s scary and sad to be so close to a protagonist experiencing an extreme dependence on alcohol. Was it sad for you to create her, and experience (as her creator) the devastation in her life?
Yes, it was sad. I created her this way because I was interested in the way memory loss can affect all sorts of aspects of your life: your sense of guilt and responsibility, your sense of self. It makes you vulnerable and easy to manipulate, it makes you shameful. It wasn’t an easy thing to explore, but I felt it was worthwhile and ultimately rewarding. Readers have responded very strongly to that aspect of the book.
3. This book is instructive (and cautionary) for us voyeurs with rich inner lives. What did you learn about your own voyeuristic and projection tendencies as you wrote it? You are, after all, a journalist. Next to detective, it’s the ultimate job for a voyeur!
I am a people-watcher and I believe this tendency has stood me in good stead—it’s essential as a writer and as a journalist to be curious about the lives of others. Indeed, I think a little voyeurism is a good thing. At its best, I think it comes from empathy: we look at people and wonder about their lives, we put ourselves in their shoes. But of course there may be a temptation to take this to an extreme, which could be dangerous, or intrusive. I think most of us know where that line lies, although it could be blurred under stress or in an extreme situation.
4. You are also the author of the Amy Silver series of chick lit novels. Talk about the struggle of writing them—you have said you prefer “an atmosphere of menace” to frothy romantic comedy. I can only imagine the struggle of writing a book called All I Want for Christmas.
Ha! All I Want for Christmas was the most successful of the four Amy Silver books and is actually rather a sad tale about a woman whose husband is killed in an accident on Christmas Eve! Writing those books was instructive, it was worthwhile, it was fun, but Amy never felt like me, and my tendency to introduce tragedy at every turn meant that I struggled to find the happy endings which readers expect when they pick up that sort of book.
5. Do you really love trains?
I do! It’s my preferred method of travel.