Paula Hawkins on midlife success and the importance of financial independence

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Manage episode 299532613 series 2783875
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My guest today is a woman who I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of, but you may not think you have. Her name is Paula Hawkins, but you probably know her as the author of the global bestseller The Girl On The Train. A book she wrote in her early 40s after - I’m sure she won’t mind me saying - an awful lot of also-rans. The girl on the train went on to sell 23 million copies, be published in 50 countries and is one of the top 5 selling hardbacks since records began. It was also turned into a film starring Emily Blunt.

But does that level of success - and let’s face it, cash - bring with it massively liberating freedom… or the fear of never being able to live up to your own legend? Paula talks about the shock and salvation of sudden mid-life success when you’re totally broke, the importance of being able to “leave if you need to”, the likability curse that plagues women, why she always knew she didn’t want children and her hopes for her third novel, the taut, tense A Slow Fire Burning, which has some of the best older female characters I’ve read in a long time.

You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at, including A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins and the book that accompanies this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too by me!

The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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