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Book Nook: The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins


Late last year I received an advance copy of a novel that was written by an author who was unknown to me. This is not an uncommon circumstance. What was unusual was that this book had a press release which indicated that there was a lot of buzz about it among some people who work in publishing. They were all abuzz about this novel "The Girl on the Train." So I read it and then I got it. I understood.

After I read it but before the book actually came out I wrote a column for the Cox Ohio newspapers and suggested that this would be one the hottest books of 2015. Little did I know. The book became an instant bestseller. It went straight to number one on the fiction list. One day I was reading the New York Times and noticed an article about the author and her smoking hot book. The article indicated that her publisher was planning to bring her over to the US from her home in England for a quickie book tour. I knew I had to move fast.

Fortunately her publicist is someone I have known for years. We have worked on a lot of projects together. I sent her an e-mail and I begged for an interview. And her publicist came through for me. Paula Hawkins was staying at a hotel in San Francisco when I called her to record this interview. We talked about the back story behind this book, her unreliable narrator, and what it feels like to have the hottest book on the planet when she had been a virtual unknown just a month before.

This book is a compelling read. Her protagonist is a woman who has a lot of issues. She has experienced a crushing break up with her boyfriend and she cannot get over him. She has self esteem issues. She's overweight. She drinks too much. She's got roommate issues and work issues and an overactive imagination. Then she sees something profoundly disturbing when she's looking out the window of a commuter train. Or maybe she didn't see that. She had been drinking. Maybe she imagined it?

This is a real page turner. And as I'm writing this in April the book is still the hottest book on the planet. Still number one. Still selling like crazy. Enjoy this interview. I certainly did.

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Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them.  Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.