Mary Kubica discusses the thriller writing process in this interview. Discover the Mary Kubica books in order & how the author crafted “The Good Girl.”
If there is one thing I love, it is a summer thriller.
Nothing is better to tuck in a beach bag than a book that you can rapidly flip through and sit in suspenseful moments as the story unfolds.
Those kinds of books that your eyes can’t read fast enough because you just HAVE to know what will happen.
If you have been waiting for the next big thing since Gone Girl, I have just the book for you!
The Good Girl Summary
Editor’s Note: The Good Girl has been published since 2014!
Today I am excited to feature author, Mary Kubica, and her first book, The Good Girl.
The book opens with the following words:
“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”
Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia is unlike her parents in every way, content with her life as an inner-city school teacher.
She meets a guy when she finds herself alone at a bar one night after being stood up by her boyfriend.
Her plans for a one-night stand turn into her life’s worst mistake.
The Best Mary Kubica Books (Exclusive Author Interview)
The Good Girl surprised me with its plot twists, which is hard to achieve as an avid reader.
But as the writer of these twists, did you always see them coming, or were they equally surprising to you?
The plot twists are often as surprising to me as they are to the reader.
In the case of The Good Girl, I had written a significant chunk of the novel before the ending came to me.
This is one of the most exciting parts of writing for me – when I get that clear picture of how the story will end.
I don’t typically outline or do much note-taking before starting a new manuscript, so I only have a starting point; the rest of the details remain obscure.
I make it a point not to overthink my plot too much and to have faith that the details, plot twists, etc., will come in due time.
One of my favorite parts of writing this genre is after the entire story comes together in my mind.
Then I can go back through the manuscript and insert clues to help the reader along or, in some cases, throw them off course!
I relate to Mia’s mother the most in your story because she constantly questions if she did enough to be a good mother.
Is this something you resonated with too?
Mia’s mother, Eve Dennett, is the character I relate to the most.
She’s a woman, but more importantly, a mother.
I could put myself in Eve’s shoes and ask myself how I would respond to the situation as a mother: how would I feel, and what would I do or say if my own child was missing?
I felt for Eve; even the best mother makes choices they may second guess.
Not only is Eve longing for her missing child, but she’s also desperate for a chance to rekindle her relationship with Mia and amend the poor decisions she made throughout Mia’s childhood.
I think that as mothers, no matter how hard we try, there’s always the fear that we’ll fall short and not fulfill everything we can for our children.
That’s why I believe many mothers out there will relate to Eve on some level.
Initially, I viewed Colin Thatcher as an antagonist, but as the story progressed, I sympathized with him.
Did you also sympathize with him?
Without giving anything away, The Good Girl is a novel that makes you rethink much of what you know and teaches the reader not to take things at face value.
What you see is not always what you get, which holds true with many of the characters in the book.
I sympathize with nearly every character in The Good Girl for various reasons.
They are imperfect and flawed, as most of us are, something that will hopefully make them relatable to the reader.
Your journey to becoming a debut novelist is truly inspiring, highlighting the importance of never giving up on one’s writing dreams.
How long did you have to wait before seeing your book on bookshelves?
And even now, does the experience still feel surreal to you?
Yes, it absolutely feels surreal.
It was 2006 when I first began working on The Good Girl, and 2014 when it was published.
That’s eight years of hard work, hopes, dreams, and fears – all of it.
After finishing the novel, I submitted it to many literary agencies, and, as you may know by now, it was rejected by everyone.
I thought that was it; any hope of a writing career was through.
Two years later, I received an out-of-the-blue email from one of the agencies that had previously declined to represent my novel.
The Good Girl had stuck with them all that time, and they wanted to represent it – proof that writers, or anyone for that matter, should never give up on their dreams.
Seeing my name on a book at the bookstore still shocks me. I wonder if this will ever feel real and no longer surreal.
Your book is being compared to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
What do you think of the comparison?
Did this comparison help in the selling of your novel?
The comparisons to Gone Girl did nothing but help The Good Girl.
So many Gillian Flynn fans (including me!) are out there, so I’m thrilled with the comparison.
That said, trying to live up to such a masterpiece can be a bit unnerving, but early feedback for The Good Girl has been phenomenal.
I couldn’t be more pleased.
We featured Heather Gudenkauf and her book Little Mercies this past month on the site.
How did you end up partnering with her for your book promotion?
First, let me say that Heather Gudenkauf is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with, and her latest novel Little Mercies, is by far one of my favorites of 2014.
Heather and I share not only the same publisher – Harlequin MIRA – but the same editor, and seeing as our novels came out just a month apart and we write in the same genre, it’s a perfect match.
We’ve been able to travel together many times to promote our books and have connected at many conferences throughout the year.
Heather has been an incredible mentor, and I feel so fortunate for our time together.
It’s so great to be able to connect with other authors.
Writing can be an isolated profession, so the more people – authors, readers, etc. – we can connect with, the better!
Can you give us a sneak peek at what you have in store for us next?
*Editor’s Note: Pretty Baby is released!
Yes, I’d love to! I just finished up my second novel Pretty Baby, which will be released by Harlequin MIRA in 2015.
This is another psychological suspense set in the Midwest, about a Chicago mother who encounters a young homeless girl with a baby.
She becomes quite taken with the two of them, and as she does, we learn more about these women and what effect this chance encounter will have on both of their lives.
If you could recommend one book to anyone, what would it be?
My favorite book of all time is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
This is one that I tell everyone to read.
It’s a Vietnam War memoir, but is much more than that.
You don’t need to be a history guru to love this book.
When it comes to my own genre of psychological suspense, though, Before I Go To Sleep is one I often recommend.
I just loved this S.J. Watson novel.
Frequently Asked Questions about Mary Kubica
Do I need to read Mary Kubica’s books in a particular order?
No, all of Mary Kubica’s books are stand-alone.
What are Mary Kubica’s best books?
It is so hard for me to choose because Mary Kubica has become a wonderful friend, and I’m so proud of all she does.
My favorites are Local Woman Missing, The Other Mrs., and The Good Girl.
Her seventh book, Local Woman Missing, is her highest-rated novel on GoodReads.
What are Mary Kubica’s books in the order published?
- The Good Girl (2014)
- Pretty Baby (2015)
- Don’t You Cry (2016)
- Every Last Lie (2017)
- When the Lights Go Out (2018)
- The Other Mrs. (2020)
- Local Woman Missing (2021)
- Just the Nicest Couple (2023)
- She’s Not Sorry (April 2024)
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