Where did the idea come from for Girl on a Train?
I didn’t have much of a plan for this book when I started out. Just the idea of a woman, Elly Swift, dashing off a train at the wrong station and then going under the same train at a level crossing. I had the idea that it would look like suicide, but that the person sitting next to her on the train would be certain it wasn’t…
What genre do your books fall under?
They are psychological thrillers. Girl on a Train starts with Anna Rothman, a journalist, finding a seat in a carriage beside a woman who is agitated and fidgety. Anna sees Elly’s ticket and knows she’s stuck with her all the way across country, but then unexpectedly Elly gets off. Nothing is as it seems in the book. Anna gets her investigative journalist hat on and ends up opening several cans of worms, including an shocking one that affects her personally in a very deep way.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love trains and I liked the idea of starting the book on one, from Portsmouth to Waterloo. As a child, I loved mysteries with clues and this is an adult version, where Anna has to first find and then work out the meaning of the hidden messages that Elly has left behind.
What else about your book might make readers interested? Everyone around Anna is saying that Elly committed suicide, unable to carry on after her nephew, a four-year-old boy was abducted, but Anna isn’t convinced. It’s a story about Anna’s courage and tenacity in her search for the truth when the odds, the police and all her supporters are telling her to drop it.
Can you give a one sentence synopsis of your book? When a woman leaves a locket in Anna’s bag before jumping under a train, Anna starts asking awkward questions, but loose ends surrounding an abducted four-year-old boy are only part of the picture and Anna finds herself thrust towards the centre of several chilling revelations.
It’s a psychological thriller with a backdrop of a family tragedies, so it brings to mind Lisa Gardner, The Neighbour.
What kind of story are you writing at the moment?
Another Psychological Thriller about Clinical Psychologist, Sam Willerby - my new series character - who is mystified when three patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder recount scenes from the same Tube disaster - an incident, she discovers, that they were never involved in. She is horrified when one by one, they start committing suicide.
What actors do you envisage playing the parts of your characters in a film version?
Anna is sparky and tenacious – Emily Blunt would be a great fit. Elly is a misfit with low self-esteem; I think a ‘younger’ Kathy Bates would work.