Mary Kubica 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, and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter. The well-received and critically-acclaimed THE GOOD GIRL is her first novel.
Welcome to our blog, Mary, and congratulations on the success of THE GOOD GIRL, your debut novel for Harlequin MIRA. I enjoyed it very much, and the reviews have been exceptional, with reviews such as:
“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.”
“…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
It's a great pleasure to have you as a guest on our blog. How does it feel to have your first book in print, and for it to be getting such very positive response?
THE GOOD GIRL has been on sale for a few months now and it still feels very surreal to me. It catches me off guard every time I walk into a bookstore and see it on the shelf. This has been such an amazing experience, and the fact that reader response has been overwhelmingly positive makes it all that much better. I love hearing from readers, and seeing the impact my novel has had on them and on their lives. This is just a dream come true!
How long have you been writing?
A: I’ve been writing since I was a young girl, around 11 years old. Until recently, however, writing was a hobby for me, and not something I pursued professionally. After college I became a high school history teacher and taught in both the Chicago suburbs as well as the Omaha Public School system. It wasn’t until 2005, when my daughter was born and I decided to stay home with her, that I was able to focus my efforts on writing. When my daughter was napping or the house was otherwise quiet, I’d pull out the laptop and get to work. I wasn’t sure if I would ever finish the novel and highly doubted that anything would become of it, but somehow or other a few paragraphs or a few pages a day added up to THE GOOD GIRL.
Can you share with us your path to becoming published and how long it took?
A: It took quite awhile to see THE GOOD GIRL’s publication day. I finished the novel in 2010 and submitted to agents. Initially, it was met with rejection from every agent; it wasn’t until 2012 that one of the agents reached out to me and said my novel had stuck with her all those years and she wanted to represent it. Of course I was thrilled! She and I worked together for a few months to make some edits on the manuscript, and by the end of 2012 I had a contract with Harlequin MIRA. It was another 18 months until the novel was published. It’s a very long time of course, but in retrospect, it was well worth the wait. I wouldn’t change a thing if I could.
Based on the reaction to THE GOOD GIRL, I expect readers are eagerly awaiting your next release. When can we expect it, and can you tell us a little about it?
A: My second novel PRETTY BABY will also be released from Harlequin MIRA. Like THE GOOD GIRL, it’s another suspense tale set in the Chicago area. PRETTY BABY is the story of a mother who encounters a young homeless girl with a baby, and decides to help them with their plight. As she does, she uncovers more about the girl’s past, and comes to discover what effect this chance encounter will have on both their lives. Look for PRETTY BABY in the summer of 2015!
Is there a particular person who has been most influential in your career? If so, in what way?
A: My lovely agent, Rachael Dillon Fried. If it wasn’t for her I would not have a published book. She sought out THE GOOD GIRL when all other agents said no, and took on the novel with faith and determination. So many people have been involved in my career and I appreciate each and every one of them, but Rachael is truly my rock, the one I can count on for anything and everything. She helps me brainstorm ideas, eases my many concerns, explains over and over again the publishing process, and is always ready to go to battle for anything I need. Without her, none of this would have happened and I think my life would be quite different right now if it wasn’t for Rachael.
Many would say you are living every aspiring author's dream! Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
A: At a recent book signing, I had the privilege of meeting an 11-year-old aspiring author named Maya. She reminded me much of myself at that age, when I first discovered my love of writing. For all aspiring authors it is important to read, all the time, anything and everything you find to be of interest. Pay attention to the world around you (you never know where inspiration will appear!), and write, write, write. Writing, for me at least, is a practiced skill. I wrote quite differently ten or twenty years ago than I do now, but struggling through manuscripts that didn’t work helped me discover what did. And lastly, never give up. I had quite a bit of rejection before I found an agent who loved my book as much as I did.
What do you enjoy reading in your spare time and who are your favorite authors?
A: I love to read a little bit of everything, from historical fiction, to mystery and suspense, to women’s fiction. Some of my favorite authors include S.J. Watson, Ann Hood, Anita Shreve, Heather Gudenkauf and many, many more. I’m currently reading THE WINTER GUEST by Pam Jenoff and absolutely loving it. Pam has created such a touching story of two sisters in World War II Poland. I can’t read as fast as I wish I could, however, so my to-be-read pile is stacking up quickly!
You also care for animals at a local shelter. Can you tell us a little about this and how people could help?
A: Yes, I would love to! As many people know, I’ve been working in a local shelter for many years now, and have a houseful of my own animals, most of who have followed me home from the shelter. My main role is photographing all new arrivals to help them find a new home, but I’ve filled many positions in my time there, from fostering kittens to leading a story time for children to cleaning cages and kennels. For anyone interested in getting involved, I would highly encourage contacting your local humane society or animal shelter. Most shelters are desperate for volunteers and/or foster families, and are in need of financial assistance or donated supplies such as pet food, blankets, old newspapers, etc. – check online at your local shelter for a wish list. Being a responsible pet owner is tremendously important as well. Before adopting a pet, be certain you understand the financial and time commitment pet ownership entails. And, perhaps most importantly, be sure to spay or neuter your animals to help cut down on animal overpopulation, and whenever at all possible, adopt your family pets rather than purchasing from pet stores.
|Bonnie has found her forever home.|
|Roger just found his forever home, too!|
In closing, is there a special message you would like to deliver to your readers?
A: Getting feedback from readers has been the highlight of this entire experience. I am so fortunate to receive the kindest emails and Facebook messages about THE GOOD GIRL from those who have read the novel. I would like to send a huge thank you to all of these wonderful readers who have read the book, invited me to join their book clubs or have reached out to me online. Word of mouth is so important in this industry, and to those readers who graciously left reviews or encouraged family and friends to read: thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thank you for taking the time to be a guest on our blog, Mary! Please accept my best wishes for much success with your books.
Thank you so much for having me, Kate! Best of luck to you, too. I am eagerly awaiting A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS!