Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mary Kubica Author Interview

Photo Credit: Sarah Jastre

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of four novels, including THE GOOD GIRL, PRETTY BABY, DON’T YOU CRY and EVERY LAST LIE. A former high school history teacher, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children, where she enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter. Her first novel THE GOOD GIRL was an Indie Next pick in August of 2014, received a Strand Critics Nomination for Best First Novel and was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards in Debut Goodreads Author and in Mystery & Thriller for 2014. Mary’s novels have been translated into over twenty languages and have sold over a million copies worldwide. She’s been described as “a writer of vice-like control,” (Chicago Tribune) and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “thrilling and illuminating” (Los Angeles Times).

She is currently working on her next novel.


Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?
Since I was a girl, writing was a hobby for me, something I was very passionate about. But I never thought I would make a career doing it. I worked instead as a high school history teacher before starting my family. In the years that followed, I continued to write and it was only after I finished my novel, THE GOOD GIRL, that I had any desire to try and publish it.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Tim O’Brien’s THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. I read this for a college American Studies course and shortly after switched majors from English education to history. I fell in love with the stories and experiences of those who lived before us, and wanted to know more about their lives. It’s not often that I re-read books, but this is one I go back to every couple of years.

In your new book; THE GOOD GIRL, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
THE GOOD GIRL is my first published novel. It tells the story of a young woman, Mia Dennett, who is abducted and whisked into the remote woods of northern Minnesota. The story is told from three perspectives – Mia’s mother, her abductor and a detective – and goes back and forth in time from the day of her disappearance to many months later when she’s home safe but suffering from amnesia. She has no memory of her time in captivity.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
I can’t give too much away without spoiling the novel for others, but what I learned from all of them was that they – like the humans in our lives – are much more than what meets the eye. They’re quite multidimensional and will change throughout the pages of the book.

Are there certain qualities that make a novel better for you?

As a reader, I prefer a novel with character who resonate with me. I don’t have to like them, but I have to find them relatable or empathetic on some level. As a writer, I enjoy all characters, and have fun exploring those who are the least like me.

What part of Mia did you enjoy writing the most?
Mia is a character we see mostly from others’ eyes. What I like about her is that she’s emotionally damaged by past events in her life, and yet she’s a fighter. She doesn’t give up.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would love for Eve Dennett in THE GOOD GIRL and Heidi Wood in PRETTY BABY to meet. They’re both women struggling with motherhood, and are quite lonely in their own worlds. They would have much in common and could hopefully lean on one another for support.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I have four novels out now, and a fifth on the way. WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT will be available on September 4th, 2018, and tells the story of a young woman making a life of her own in the wake of her mother’s death, only to discover she may not be the person she believes she is. Her search for self-discovery, however, is hampered by a disabling insomnia that makes her hallucinate to the point that she no longer knows what’s real and what’s not.

Any new and exciting books that you would like to share?
A few of my favorites from 2017 are Wendy Walker’s EMMA IN THE NIGHT, BA Paris’s THE BREAKDOWN, and Krysten Ritter’s BONFIRE.

What inspires You?
Nature. Taking a long walk outdoors often clears my head and is great at working out snags in my plot.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Don’t rush through the books you read. Slow down and enjoy them. Remember that the author spent many months and years thinking and overthinking every word in that book; losing sleep over the characters; neglecting housework and family to get it done.

Favorite things to do alone?
I’m an introvert. I love to be alone. I love when things are quiet. Typically I read and write when I’m alone.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
When my oldest was born I was so worried about doing something wrong as a mother that I didn’t just enjoy every precious minute with her. Now she’s twelve and I wish more than anything that I could hold my sleeping infant in my arms one more time.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
Everything! I turn 40 this year and am missing my childhood more than ever. But mostly I think it’s the ability to be carefree and not stress about the everyday worries that weight adults down.

Have you ever written a love letter?
Yes. But whether I sent it is a different matter.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I think it would have been fascinating to live during the 1960s.


  • I wrote the novel in secrecy
  • It took 5 years to write THE GOOD GIRL
  • I didn’t tell anybody about it until I had a literary agent and had sold the novel – 7 years after I first sat down to start working on it
  • Though I began many manuscripts in the years before THE GOOD GIRL, it was the first novel I ever completed
  • The working title for it was MIGRATION.
  • My editor and I renamed the book WE WERE HERE. That didn’t stick either, and eventually it became THE GOOD GIRL.
  • Mia Dennett’s original name was Ella, until someone suggested it was too close to her mother, Eve, and should be switched
  • THE GOOD GIRL has been optioned for film two times
  • I had never visited the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota (setting of the novel) until 1 month before the novel’s publication. I relied on research alone to write the book.
  • THE GOOD GIRL has been translated into over 25 languages.

I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she works. I don't know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she's scared. But I will.

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

Praise for THE GOOD GIRL

Psychologically rich and pulse pounding, THE GOOD GIRL had me hooked from the very first sentence and didn’t let go until the final word. I can’t wait to see what Mary Kubica comes up with next. Heather Gudenkauf, bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Little Mercies

A twisty, roller coaster ride of a debut. Fans of Gone Girl will embrace this equally evocative tale of a missing woman, shattered family and the lies we tell not just to each other, but especially to ourselves. Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Fear Nothing

Kubica’s powerful debut…will encourage comparisons to Gone Girl. Unlike that dazzling duel…this Girl has heart – which makes it all the more devastating when the author breaks it. Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Kubica’s debut thriller builds suspense steadily and will have readers guessing what’s really going on until the final pages. Booklist Review

[Kubica’s] masterful handling of plot makes The Good Girl hard to put down. The Columbus Dispatch

The Good Girl has everything going for it. A fresh new style…the denouement will stun. I look forward to Kubica’s next novel. Florida Times-Union

A cleverly constructed suspense thriller. Chicago Tribune, Printer’s Row

…this excellent debut is compulsively readable and highly recommended for anyone who loves a mystery, a suspense tale, or a psychological puzzle. Library Journal Review

You can purchase The Good Girl at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MARY KUBICA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Good Girl by Mary Kubica.


  1. My favorite restaurant in town is Aijishin because they have the most delicious sushi and noodles.

  2. My favorite restaurant in my town is Dorsey's Dairy Bar. It has been there since I was a little girl and they have the best footlong hot dogs :)

  3. "What is your favorite restaurant in town and why?" The good restaurants here are too phony to "favorite" any of them!

  4. The local asian restaurant Dragons Den is our favorite but then again, there is only a subway here and the bar to eat at. Our town is about 1000 people all told

  5. I don't have a favorite restaurant. I like eating at home.

  6. imos pizza because we are famous for it.

  7. A local Bakery/Deli called The Muffin Top. They have good food and the owners are super nice.

  8. My favorite resturaunt is rykes bakery. I love the chicken salad

  9. My favorite restaurant in town is Anatoli Cafe which is a Turkish restaurant. I always get the Mediterranean platter of appetizers to share along with red pepper soup. The baklava is a perfect ending to a filling, colorful meal.

  10. There's a small Italian place I love. It has great food & service.