The Novelry Blog

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Paula Hawkins - On Writing the Unputdownable Book. Nov 01, 2020


From the Desk of Paula Hawkins.

I didn’t set out to write an unputdownable book, but when The Girl on the Train was published, I was told very clearly that I had, and that numerous train stops had been missed as readers were compelled to keep turning the pages.

Unputdownable hadn’t been an aim: I had wanted to write a crime novel about a young woman with a drink problem who suffers from blackouts, because I was interested in how her memory of acting a certain way related to her sense of guilt and responsibility for her actions.

You might want to write a book about the plight of women accused of witchcraft in the late sixteenth century, or about a southern African immigrant’s experience of life in London; your aim might be to write a book that makes people laugh, or reconsider their life choices, or a book that makes them too frightened to turn off the light at night.

Unputdownability is rarely a goal in and of itself. Not everyone believes unputdownability...

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