Thriller Author Mary Kubica on Shifting Perspectives

Posted by Cybil on February 1, 2020
Mary Kubica knows how to write a page-turner. The author of such psychological thrillers as The Good Girl, Pretty Baby, and Don’t You Cry is back with The Other Mrs., another twisted tale of deceit and mystery.

Sadie and Will, a married couple with two kids, move into a creepy mansion in an isolated town in Maine, taking custody of their moody and newly orphaned niece. Sadie, a doctor, tries to balance long hours of work with motherhood, while Will, her handsome and sympathetic college professor husband, tries to maintain stability for the family. Soon after they move to their small coastal island, a neighbor’s murder sends a shock wave through the town.

Sadie tries to get to the bottom of the crime, but what she uncovers puts her own life, livelihood, and family at risk. As she races urgently toward the truth, she discovers the lengths that some people will go to protect the status quo.

Kubica spoke to Goodreads contributor Heather Scott Partington about thrillers, inspiration, and her favorite recent read.

Goodreads: How was writing The Other Mrs. different from writing some of your other books, such as The Good Girl, or your most recent novel, When the Lights Go Out?

Mary Kubica: The writing process has been mostly the same for all of my books. My novels are often told from multiple first-person perspectives, and I have a tendency to write each of these voices from beginning to end before picking up with another voice and writing that character’s point of view.

With The Other Mrs. and When the Lights Go Out, I knew the ending before I began.

With The Good Girl, I did not. The main difference to me between these novels is setting and the atmosphere and emotion it evokes.

The Other Mrs. is the first novel I’ve set entirely outside of the Chicagoland area. It was both a challenge as well as extremely satisfying to create a sparsely populated island off the coast of Maine for this story. In place of the urban feel of many of my novels, the reader is left with something far more isolated, ominous, and suffocating.

GR: How did the idea for The Other Mrs. come to you? How did it evolve as you were writing?

MK: Without giving any spoilers away, the ending was the initial spark of an idea for me because it was psychological and abstract and something I wanted to learn about and explore more deeply. The specific characters and story lines came secondary to that. I’m not the type of author who outlines in advance; much of what happens on the page, especially in terms of characters’ backstories and the events that have led them to this current situation and this current point in time, came to me as I was writing.

GR: The Other Mrs. uses alternating chapters in several different points of view to reveal the truth about a twisted character. Do you tend to envision the story from one perspective first, or do all of these perspectives come to you along the way?

MK: There are three main perspectives in The Other Mrs.: two women named Sadie and Camille, and a little girl nicknamed Mouse. In order to keep each voice unique and to be able to hone in on one of their story lines at a time, I write only one perspective in its entirety before going back and picking up with another.

This isn’t to say that while I’m writing I’m not thinking through the other perspectives in my mind. Writing this way often requires many drafts and much revision to make sure the stories come together just as I need and that certain elements of the novel are revealed at the right time.

GR: In your opinion, what makes a great thriller? What are some of your favorites?

MK: For me, the best thrillers are a combination of plot and characterization. There is nothing better than a thriller I absolutely can’t put down. That said, it isn’t everything; I also want to feel something for the characters in the books I read. If I don’t, then ultimately I won’t care what happens to them in the end. They also need to feel authentic. Some of my favorite thrillers include Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson, What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan, and The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.

GR: You have said that you’re an early bird, often getting up at 5 a.m. to write. What does a typical writing day look like for you?

MK: My writing day has evolved over the last few years due to the constantly changing schedule of my kids. I am indeed an early bird, and there is no better writing time for me than those very early morning hours. I can accomplish far more and far better quality writing between 5 and 7 a.m. than at any other time of the day.

These days I tend to write for a couple hours in the very early morning, then come back to it after I’ve gotten my kids on the school bus. I’ll write for a few hours during the day, but by afternoon, my ideas feel stale and trite. That’s when I know it’s time to quit.

I have a loose goal of a thousand words per day, but I rarely hold myself to it. Some days it happens, many days it doesn’t.

GR: What books or authors have been your greatest influence?

MK: There are so many. I read widely and am always learning from the novels I read. S.J. Watson, Megan Abbott, Caroline Kepnes, Clare Mackintosh, Megan Miranda, and B.A. Paris are some of my idols. S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep sets the standard for me and is the type of writing I hope to one day achieve. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is another thriller I revere. It’s influenced me greatly.

GR: What’s the best thing you’ve read recently?

MK: Jennifer Hillier’s Little Secrets. It’s a thrill ride! It starts as a child abduction but quickly turns into something far darker and totally unexpected. I read it in a day. Jennifer is a master of plotting and creates true-to-life, morally ambiguous characters that readers will both love and hate. Look for it this spring!

Mary Kubica's The Other Mrs. will be available in the U.S. on February 18. Don't forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf. Be sure to also read more of our exclusive author interviews and get more great book recommendations.

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by Rewa (new)

Rewa Burrell Keep me posted

message 2: by Judy (new)

Judy Collins GREAT INTERVIEW👍 Loved The Other Mrs❤️

message 3: by JulieK (new)

JulieK Interesting

message 4: by L (new)

L Looking forward to reading The Other Mrs. This was good, I liked reading about who has influenced Mary

DianeLikesToRead Can’t wait to read her new book!

message 6: by Robert (new)

Robert Gleitz I write myself so I was amazed that she writes one character’s POV through to the end before starting the next. That seems like it would be hard to do. Nonetheless, I have read all of her work and she is amazing.

message 7: by Debbie (new)

Debbie I LOVE all her books! One of my favourite thriller writer's. Can't wait!!

message 8: by Dusti Bontempo (new)

Dusti Bontempo My favorite author! Thanks for sharing this interview. 😊

lectorainsaciable_ It’s an amazing Author! Can’t wait to see the new book!!💛

message 10: by Lin (new)

Lin I can’t wait to read “The Other Mrs” . I’ve read all of Mary Kubica’s novels and I’ve loved them all! She’s a favorite author of mine!

message 11: by Angie (new)

Angie Garcia P. I can't wait to read "The Other Mrs" 💜

message 12: by Ana (new)

Ana Marchildon I can't wait to read "The Other Mrs". Mary Kubica is one of my favourite authors!

message 13: by Leigh (new)

Leigh Ann I attended a signing by Mary Kubica in Southern Pines, NC the day “The Other Mrs.” was released. She was so interesting to listen to and I had previously read all of her books and lived them!!! I quickly began reading “The Other Mrs.” snd couldn’t put it down. She can’t write books quickly enough for me.

message 14: by Ju-Young (last edited Dec 22, 2020 09:00PM) (new)

Ju-Young Kim I liked the "Pretty Baby" a lot because of its vivid description on a typical rainy day in Chicago. Her other books had a similar vibes to this, mostly the charming aspects of small-small accidents happening in Chicago."The Other Mrs." had a slight shift. It sounded way melancholic and gloomy throughout the entire novel. It was so different that I couldn't figure out the clues to find out who's the evil one. So many confusions, which kind of exhausted me out at some point. Overall, the final plot twist was slightly predictable, but her characterization of Camille was so tasty.

message 15: by TinyLittleFoxes (new)

TinyLittleFoxes I'll read all her books without even bothering to read the description - solid!

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