Will continue to write about grief, trauma, and how we overcome them: Paula Hawkins | books$author interview | Hindustan Times
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Will continue to write about grief, trauma, and how we overcome them: Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkins, author of the bestselling novel The Girl On The Train (2015), talks about writing her first novel, the subjects she is passionate about and the lessons she has learnt from initial setbacks in her writing career.

books Updated: Nov 19, 2017 10:41 IST
Before becoming a phenomenon with The Girl On The Train (2015), the Zimbabwe-born British author wrote a string of romantic novels, which went unnoticed.
Before becoming a phenomenon with The Girl On The Train (2015), the Zimbabwe-born British author wrote a string of romantic novels, which went unnoticed. (Paulahawkinsbooks.com)

Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel The Girl On The Train explored themes like domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse. The celebrated author says she wants to keep on writing about women’s struggle for liberty and also touch upon how women are “abused about the talents they have”.

“I will keep talking about the same space about women’s particular struggle with liberty, their relationship with each other, about the way women are abused, about the talents they have,” Hawkins said in an email interview.

“I will continue to write about grief and trauma, and how we overcome them. I can imagine my next novel will definitely concentrate on a lot of those issues. My second novel dealt a lot with a memory and there are certain things I want to focus on at the moment. I see that continuing, but you never know because I don’t plan a lot of novels in advance. I only think about the next thing I want to do,” she added.

Before becoming a phenomenon with the success of The Girl On The Train, the Zimbabwe-born British author faced failures with a string of romantic novels – which she wrote under pseudonym Amy Silver – going unnoticed.

Hawkins also wrote a book The Money Goddess about women who need to get in touch with their pensions and go for a financial makeover. She found success with The Girl On The Train, which was published in 2015. The story is based on an individual who has succumbed to melancholy and has found her solace in alcohol, seeking happiness in fantasising about the perfect life of a couple from her former husband’s neighbourhood.

The tale was adapted for the big screen in 2016 with actress Emily Blunt playing the lead.

Looking back at her struggles, Hawkins said: “I had a series before I wrote The Girl On The Train, which was quite a low grade for me. I have written some other novels and one of them did very badly, the last one couldn’t sell and I spent three years writing them....It was a very (trying) time for me to see that phase and to not know what to do next and to have financial difficulties,” she said.

But she feels there are lessons to learn from failures. “I don’t think I would have written The Girl On The Train had I not written those other novels. Those were training for me; those taught me all sorts of things like plot and characters and how to push through the difficult problems in a novel. You know even though it was a horrible thing at that time it is very useful now.”

What about a follow up to The Girl On The Train?

“I don’t plan to write a sequel at the moment. For me, that story is done, it’s finished for me, and it’s complete.”

She was happy with how the film, produced by Mark Platt and DreamWorks, turned out to be. Hawkins feels it is a “huge thing for novelists to have a film made on their work”. Another film adaptation from her book might be in pipeline.

“I’m now talking to the same team, but not to the same producers about making the movie of my second novel,” said Hawkins whose second novel Into the Water released earlier this year.

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