Booksellers are excited about the potential for Paula Hawkins' new thriller, with Waterstones pre-orders already "on track", despite the title only being announced yesterday (29th November).
The Girl on the Train author Hawkins yesterday revealed her next psychological thriller would be called Into The Water, published by Doubleday and released in May next year.
While little has been divulged about the plot, it is set in a small riverside town in the UK and involves two sisters and “ghostly echoes of the past”. Doubleday added that the book was about “the slipperiness of the truth, and a family drowning in secrets”.
Booksellers are already anticipating the new novel will be one of the "big books of 2017" and will get their tills ringing after Hawkins' last novel The Girl on a Train sold almost 2.1 million print units in the UK for just over £13m through Nielsen BookScan since its release in January 2015, catapulting the author into the world’s ‘highest paid author’s’ list for the first time this summer.
The book has spent 12 weeks at the UK number one for the paperback edition this year and also hit number one for the hardback format.
Joseph Knobbs, Waterstones crime buyer, said: “I can probably speak for most booksellers when I say I’ve never seen a phenomenon quite like The Girl on the Train. As both a reading experience and a piece of publishing it confounded all expectations. The announcement of a new novel from the same writer, a publication from the same team, is incredibly exciting. We can’t wait to see what Paula does next and our pre-orders are already on track.”
Meanwhile Matt Bates, fiction buyer at W H Smith Travel, said the title was already likely to be “the book of the summer” for its customers.
“Our sales of The Girl on the Train both in its original format and then in paperback as part of the Richard and Judy Book Club were truly extraordinary so we are already making plans to deliver what will undoubtedly be the book of the summer to our customers,” he said.
Simon Heafield, head of marketing and brand at Foyles, said he expected the thriller to be one of the company’s “big books of 2017”.
“The Girl on the Train was a real break-out success, and a book that's proved particularly popular with commuters in our London and Birmingham branches,” he said. “Paula Hawkins has built a huge following very rapidly, and with the added boost of the film there'll be a lot of readers out there who are very excited at the news of her new novel. We expect it to be one of our big books of 2017."
Hawkins said her new psychological suspense novel had been “brewing for a good while”.
“For me there is something irresistible about the stories we tell ourselves, the way voices and truths can be hidden consciously or unconsciously, memories can be washed away and whole histories submerged,” she said. “Then two sisters appeared, and the novel began to form.”
Her editor Sarah Adams said that Into The Water “drips with suspicion and the ghostly echoes of the past”.
“It is a menacing, moving, deeply satisfying read which entranced me from first page to last,” she said. “We couldn’t be more excited to share it with her eagerly awaiting readers.”
Hawkins has previously written romantic fiction under the pen name Amy Silver, but The Girl on the Train was her first thriller written under her real name.
Hawkins’ literary agent, Lizzy Kremer of David Higham Associates, said Hawkins’ new novel was “incredibly dark and moving”.
“It is an unflinching and original book that is both a terrific thriller and a beautiful novel,” she said.
Publication of Into the Water will be supported by a “huge” multimedia PR and marketing campaign and major promotions across all retailers, Doubleday said. It will be published in hardcover, e-book and both CD and digital download audio on 2nd May 2017.
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