How Paula Hawkins writes

Paula Hawkins “The set-up is often the fun part. You can set up all these scenarios and all these red herrings, but drawing all those strands into a believable conclusion is actually incredibly difficult to do in a way that isn’t hackneyed… It’s a really hard thing to make that final fifth a convincing ending.”
[in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine, October 31, 2014]

Paula Hawkins


The Girl on the Train is a fantastic thriller, but I think there is a misconception that only the writers of thrillers worry about laying clues and red herrings. All novels need storylines which tease the reader to keep reading, to turn the page, to read one chapter more before turning the light out. Laying clues about characters, their past, their secrets, their betrayals, hopes and dreams, can be as complicated as plotting a thriller. Perhaps the clues are not as dramatic as in a thriller, but still there needs to be a trail of breadcrumbs for the reader to follow.

Read my review of The Girl on the Train. For more about the film of the book, and Paula Hawkins’ second thriller, click here.

Paula Hawkins

See how these other novelists write:-
Hanya Yanagihara
Anne Tyler
Kevin Maher

‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins [UK: Doubleday]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why @PaulaHWrites thinks all #novelists should lay clues & red herrings via @SandraDanby #amwriting