By Rachel Stafler
IT’S NOT OFTEN that a writer can go from virtual
obscurity to writing the fastest-selling adult hardcover book since records began. For Paula Hawkins,
the author of the heralded thriller The Girl on the
Train, success has been long awaited and the reception of her first thriller overwhelming.
Set in suburban London, the book focuses on
Rachel, a troubled woman who rides a commuter
train. Every day on the way to and
from work, she peers into the houses
along the track. A vivid fantasist,
Rachel makes up a story about the life
of “Jess and Jason,” a couple who happen to live down the street from her
ex-husband and his new wife. After
witnessing something not meant for
her eyes, Rachel inserts herself into
their lives and the action begins.
“The experience of commuting is
universal,” Hawkins tells The
Connection from her home in South
London. “That voyeuristic element of
looking into people’s windows to see what their lives
might be like is something everyone can identify
with. Rachel is a cringe-worthy but compelling
character because people will recognize someone
they know. I think her voice is strong, and that
draws you in. Plus the rhythm of the book works
well at keeping you turning the page.”
For those reasons and more, the book has been
on the best-seller lists for months, and in its first
COSTCO HAS 50 signed copies of Paula
Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train to give
away. To enter, go to: costcoconnection
NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT OR OPT-IN OF ANY KIND IS
NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES.
Purchase will not improve odds of winning. Sweepstakes is
sponsored by Penguin Random House, 1745 Broadway, New
York, NY 10019. Open to legal residents of the U.S. (except Puerto
Rico) who are age 18 or older at the time of entry. One entry per
household. Entries must be received before the August issue is
available online, which will happen around July 25, 2015.
Winners will be randomly selected and noti;ed by mail on or
before September 1, 2015. The value of the prize is $26.95. Void
where prohibited. Winners are responsible for all applicable
federal, state and local taxes. Odds of winning depend on the
number of eligible entries received. Employees of Costco or
Penguin Random House and their families are not eligible.
Pennie Clark Ianniciello,
Costco book buyer
The Girl on the Train’s journey to success
IN THIS BUSINESS, it’s
important to stay on top
of publishing sensations.
While thrillers aren’t
typically my thing, this
month’s book buyer’s
pick, The Girl on the
Train, by Paula Hawkins,
deserves every bit of buzz
that it’s been getting.
Rachel Watson can’t
stop thinking about the
couple she sees every
day on her way to and
from work. “Jess and
Jason” live a few houses
away from where Rachel
used to live. She believes
them to have the perfect
one she used to have.
When “Jess” goes
missing, Rachel ;nds
herself at the middle of
The characters are
believable, and the
storytelling is ;awless. If
you’ve been waiting for
the right thriller to get
you hooked on the genre,
I can’t say enough good
things about this one.
(Item #973292, 7/1)
For more book picks,
see page 69.
three months outsold the first three months of other
well-known books, including The Da Vinci Code,
Gone Girl, The Casual Vacancy, The Five People You
Meet in Heaven and The Host. It has sold more than
1. 5 million copies, and translation rights to the
book have been sold to 42 countries and counting.
Hawkins, 42, got her start writing professionally
after graduating from Oxford University, when she
went to work for the financial publication Euromoney. Her strong background
in finance led her to write a guide on the
subject. When her book agent mentioned that the publisher was looking for
a writer to pen a series of chick-lit novels,
Hawkins took up the challenge.
She ended up producing four
romantic novels under the name Amy
Silver, but when the last book flopped,
she decided to give writing one more
chance before giving it up altogether.
“These romantic books were a
genre that I never felt completely comfortable with,” says Hawkins. “They kept getting
darker and darker, and I thought, ‘What I want to be
doing is writing suspense and psychological thrillers.’ ” She wrote a detailed outline of the story and
completed The Girl on the Train a year later, making
changes to her original story line as she went along.
Hawkins is already hard at work on her next
book, another “dark and gothic” psychological
thriller that centers on the relationship between two
sisters and how they each remember key events in
their lives differently.
Despite the success of The Girl on the Train,
Hawkins’ day-to-day life is still largely the same. She
shares her house with an old friend, and spends as
much time as possible writing. She writes best in the
morning, in her “little house”—not at cafés, she
specifies. Although a busy publicity schedule keeps
her away from her desk more than she would like,
on a good day she still manages to sit down and
write 2,000 to 3,000 words.
“The reception has been wonderful, although it
is quite daunting,” she says. “I get lots of lovely
tweets and messages on Facebook, which is a
fantastic feeling. But it hasn’t changed my
life. I’m still doing exactly the same stuff
as I was before. I still have to go to [the]
supermarket and pick up the dry
Rachel Stafler is a London-based