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Mary Kubica on Not Giving Up & Her Latest Novel
Written by
She Writes
September 2018
Written by
She Writes
September 2018

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Mary Kubica, widely known for her thriller debut novel, The Good Girl, will be releasing her latest novel, When the Lights Go Out, this month – and we’re waiting on the edge of our seats!  

On Perseverance

Writing is hard. The process is hard. Then often comes the even harder part: landing a book deal. Here Kubica shares about how persistence paid off and what she learned along the way.

“Though I didn’t keep track, I could have easily pitched The Good Girl a hundred times or more to agents, and all but one offered to represent it. The rest were rejections. Even the one offer of representation came two years after I began the querying process, in a time when I’d completely given up hope. It can be a slow and demoralizing process, and the clearest memories I have of it are hurrying to get the mail before my husband did so I could recycle those rejection letters before he had a chance to see them, and deleting them from my email so there was no record of their existence. It’s not for the faint of heart, but don’t give up. When you find an agent who is as passionate about your work as you are, it’s well worth the effort!” 

Kubica was offered a two-book deal with HarperCollins. At the time, she had only written one book.

“I was completely stressed out, something which was further exasperated when my first proposal for my second novel was – with good reason – turned down by my editor. I worried I wouldn’t be able to write a second novel, especially not one as compelling as The Good Girl had been. I struggled to come up with a storyline, and feared I would never make my deadline in time.

But it was also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch a career as an author, and so, for as terrified as I was, I was also ecstatic. I had the best time writing Pretty Baby, and for me it truly affirmed that I could write books.”

They say the journey is more important than the destination, and for Kubica, her “write of passage” (see what we did there?) helped her discover her writerly identity.

“Every novel provides its own unique challenges and opportunities to develop ourselves as authors,” says Kubica. “Now that I have the chance to work with a brilliant editor, she’s been able to help me see my strengths and weaknesses as a writer and she pushes me to dig deeper than I ever think I can go. But this certainly doesn’t mean novel writing gets easier in time; it just means that I’m more aware of my Achilles’ heels and can hopefully stop the problems before they come. As for publishing, a few years ago my knowledge into that world was nonexistent; I’ve learned so much in the last couple of years.”

These excerpts were originally published on Shayla Raquel. Read the full interview here.

On Writing & Finding Your People

“[Writing] was a part of my life that I kept hidden from the rest of the world because I didn’t know if my work was any good, and I was too scared to find out,” confesses Kubica. “I pursued other passions of mine – becoming a high school teacher, starting my family – while writing privately on the side.”

Like you read above, Kubica's first walk through the process demanded a lot of patience, persistence, and perseverance – something that most likely resonates with all authors and aspiring writers. And it was that process that led her to the community of authors who she now relies on for support, accountability and ideas.

“I don’t come from a publishing background. Before I sold The Good Girl to Mira Books, I didn’t know a single person in the publishing industry. I went into this blind and have learned an infinite amount during the last handful of years. I had no idea how extensive the editorial process would be, or the great lag time that happens from the time I finish a manuscript until it publishes, or how absolutely vital good marketing and publicity is to the success of a book. That said, the part of publishing that surprised me most was how welcoming and supportive other authors can be. I had envisioned a much more competitive, self-seeking environment, but what I’ve found instead is a bounty of wonderful new friends who will bend over backwards to support me and my books. Writing can be a lonely task at times, but by connecting with authors both in the real world and in the world of social media, I’ve gained a network of people I can rely on for brainstorming, for emotional support, for accountability, for celebrating successes and lamenting the woes of book publishing. It’s been one of the highlights of my career!”

These excerpts were originally published on Lisa Unger. Read the full interview here.

On When the Lights Go Out

“I can’t talk too much about the inspiration for the novel, because the inspiration comes in the big twist itself. That was my original spark of an idea – which is a first for me!” says Kubica. “I’m usually halfway into my books before I figure out how the story will end.

It’s the story of a young woman who, in the wake of her mother’s death, comes to believe she may not be the person she thinks she is. Her quest for self-discovery, however, is overshadowed by a debilitating insomnia that makes it impossible to think clearly. I’m eager to hear what readers think of it!”

What does she hope readers will take away from her latest novel?

“There is an epigraph in the book, a quote from Paradise Lost: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” Without giving anything away, I think this sums things up quite well.”

This excerpt was originally published on Christina McDonald. Read the full interview here.

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