It’s such a pleasure to welcome author Mary Kubica back for another interview here on The Suspense Is Thrilling Me! For those new to my site, I consider Mary one of the “founding fathers” here, meaning that she was crucial in the developing and launching of my brand new blog just over a year ago. Without her support, and that of many others, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today, so it truly is a pleasure anytime she’s featured here! With the publication of her fourth novel just around the corner, I thought it might be fun to have her answer a few of the questions that myself and other readers may have surrounding her books, her writing style, and what she’s working on next. I think you’ll be interested to hear what she had to say. In case you missed it, I posted my spoiler free review of Mary’s upcoming novel Every Last Lie last week and you can find it HERE.
1) How does it feel to be publishing a fourth novel of suspense? How have you managed to keep each story fresh and unique?
It’s so exciting to be publishing my fourth novel, and a bit surreal, too. It still feels to me that my debut, The Good Girl, just came out, and I find it hard to believe that three years and three more novels have transpired in that time. There are a few overarching themes in each of my novels – motherhood being one of them – but I make sure that the characters and the story line are wholly unique. It takes a conscious effort when I sit down to begin a new project or to create new characters. I need to be sure the novel stays within that realm of psychological suspense, while introducing elements I’ve never done before.
2) Your books have always included full-bodied characters as well as a thrilling plot. Many readers feel this is what keeps your stories in such high demand. What initially caused this to be the focus of your stories? Do you find writing the character details or the furthering of plot more challenging?
Thank you so much for this, Chelsea. My characters are very important to me and, while not every reader is going to love every character, it’s vital to me that they have some sort of redeeming characteristics and that they’re true-to-life because, as a reader, this is what matters to me. Whenever I begin a new novel, there’s a getting-to-know-you period that happens with my characters. The first few chapters feel a bit more awkward to write, as that character’s voice isn’t yet instilled within me and I need to fully flesh the character out before the writing turns fluid. Once this happens, the plot then becomes the greater challenge – being sure to move the pace of the story along at a good clip, while laying that bread crumb trail and throwing all those red herrings into the storyline.
3) EVERY LAST LIE is a suspenseful plot that focuses on one family’s secrets and how a single tragedy changes their lives forever. Your books tend to follow a dual narrative changing back and forth to reveal one complete story. Can you explain to us the process of how you write these separate voices and bring them together in the end? What methods do you use to outline your plot before beginning the writing process for each book?
I’m not an outliner, but rather the type who dives right into the storyline and figures it out as I go. I enjoy using a dual narrative because it gives readers a more comprehensive view of the story, as it’s coming at them from different angles. With Every Last Lie, the story unfolds from Clara’s perspective beginning the day she learns her husband, Nick, has been killed in a car accident, as well as Nick’s perspective, beginning months prior to the crash and leading up to his death. With this novel, I wrote all of Nick’s chapters first before going back and writing Clara’s. This helped me to organize the plot points internally as well as give each character a unique voice – so that Nick and Clara’s voices weren’t both muddled together in my mind, coming out the same on the page.
4) Who was your favorite character to write in ELL? Who was the most difficult? Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
All the characters in Every Last Lie are fictional, though I fell in love with Nick and Clara for the fact that they are such ordinary, every day people. They might as well be my next door neighbors. I resonated with Clara more for the fact that she is a woman and a mother, and I remember all too well the delirium that accompanies the days after childbirth and the lack of sleep thanks to the round-the-clock care an infant needs. I could relate to her on so many levels. That said, Nick was quite enjoyable to write because he is essentially a good guy who finds himself deep in a hole, and instead of climbing his way out, he only winds up digging deeper. As awful as it sounds, I enjoy the process of writing a character’s life spiraling a bit out of control and for this reason, I had great fun with Nick.
5) As a full time writer, wife, and mother, how do you manage to keep your life balanced? Do you have any tips for aspiring writers on how to keep a manuscript moving forward in today’s busy world?
During the school year, I attempt to do all my writing in the early morning before my kids are awake, or when they’re at school. That way I can devote my time to them when they’re home. Summer, of course, complicates matters but for me, my family is always top priority. For aspiring writers, I think it’s so important to remember that a few words add up to sentences, a few sentences add up to paragraphs and so on. Even if you don’t have four or five hours a day to devote to your writing, write a little every day – even fifteen or twenty minutes. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they add up. I do my most productive writing between the hours of 5 and 7am every day, so if you can get up a bit earlier or stay awake a bit later than you ordinarily would to squeeze some words in, it helps!
6) Most readers are already looking forward to your work in progress; could you give us any insider tips on what you are currently writing?
Yes! I’m just now working on revisions on my fifth novel, called 11 DAYS, which will arrive in the summer of 2018. 11 DAYS is another dual narrative. In one storyline, we meet Eden, a young woman, desperate to start a family, but struggling with infertility. In the other, Jessie – a fatherless, young woman whose mother has just died of cancer – is forced to question her own identity when she’s informed that her social security number belongs to a child who died many years prior. I’m so excited to share this one with you!
*Thank you so much for joining us today Mary! If you’d like to know more about the author and her previous novels, feel free to check out her website HERE! If you’d like to pre-order EVERY LAST LIE, you can do so HERE!