The author of the publishing phenomenon The Girl on the Train talks to us about the books that changed her life. 

And Then There Were None

by Agatha Christie 

When I discovered Agatha Christie novels on my parents’ shelves at the age of 12, I adored the fact that the characters in her books—and this one in particular—all harbour some terrible secret from their past. This novel has such a clever structure and plot; it’s a real page-turner.

I had a very happy childhood, so I’m not sure why I’m so intrigued by the dark side of human nature and people who are imperfect and damaged.

 

The Secret History

by Donna Tartt

I was at Oxford in the early 1990s when this literary psychological thriller came out. It was a time of intense and important friendships—those golden years when you’re a little in love with all your brilliant friends.

Although Tartt’s characters exist within a rarefied social and academic group, there was a part of me that felt I understood them—even wished myself into their scholarly and elite world. But how had these beautiful friends found themselves complicit in murder? I remain fascinated by what leads people to extreme actions.

 

A God in Ruins

by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson writes compelling and clever fiction that’s full of wisdom. The Girl on the Train was just about to be published when I read A God in Ruins.

It was an exciting and terrifying time in my life, but Kate’s novel gave me the desire to write another book and to be brave and ambitious in what I could achieve. I wanted to cross boundaries and do something different. Into the Water is the result.

 

Paula Hawkins' new psychological thriller Into the Water is out now

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