Recently I read Pretty Baby and was utterly engrossed in the story telling of Mary Kubica, I was then able to ask her about her career and her writing habits in this interview.
Hi Mary and welcome to Beauty and Lace, thanks for talking to us.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here!
What made you want to be a writer?
When I was a young girl my cousin shared with me a story she had written, and immediately my interest was piqued. Though I’d always loved to read, until that time I didn’t put much thought into the authors behind the books I’d grown to love. But suddenly I had an awareness of and an appreciation for both the authors and their books, and I knew that this was something I wanted to do. I started writing when I was about eight or nine years old, though for me it was always a hobby and not something I pursued professionally until much later, after working as a teacher and beginning to raise a family.
Can you tell us about your inspiration for Pretty Baby?
When I started Pretty Baby, all I had was a vision of a young, homeless girl with a baby in her arms, waiting beside the train in the cold Chicago rain. I didn’t know who she was or what her story would be, but I knew she was an integral part of my second novel.
The new novel is Pretty Baby, can you tell us a little about it?
Pretty Baby is the story of a Chicago mother, Heidi Wood, who encounters a homeless girl with a baby in tow while traveling to work. She is quite taken with the girl and her baby and wants to help them with their plight. Against her husband’s wishes, Heidi ends up bringing this girl into her home, where the reader starts to uncover who she is and how she came to be living homeless on the streets of Chicago, and what effect she will have on the Wood family’s lives.
Everybody has a different journey to publication story, can you tell us about yours?
Before writing The Good Girl, I was a high school history teacher with a writing hobby. In 2005, I left my teaching career to stay home and raise my family, and it was then that I began working on my debut novel. It took about five years to write, and when it was finished I sent it off to literary agents, all of whom eventually passed on the novel. I was quite certain the book would never be published, until two years later when one of the agents reached back out to me, wondering whether or not I was represented and if I had sold my book. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Within a few months I had a publishing contract, and a year or so later, The Good Girl was released.
Do you have a favourite time of day or place to write?
My favorite time to write is early in the morning, and generally any comfortable spot in my house will do. I’m the only one up at that time of day and so the house is quiet. I can enjoy a cup of coffee and spend my morning with my characters and books.
What can you share with us about your writing process?
I don’t outline my novels, but prefer to dive right in, develop my characters, and get to know their stories. Because of this, I’m often as surprised by the twists and turns the novel takes as a reader may be. I edit as I go, and so often by the time I reach the end of the novel I have a decent draft ready to share with my editor and agent.
Can you tell us about your reading habits, what are your top five reads for 2015?
Not surprisingly, I am a fan of thrillers, but that’s not the only genre I love. I also enjoy women’s fiction and historical fiction, to name a few. My top five reads of 2015 include Pam Jenoff’s The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach; Colleen Oakley’s Before I Go; Jillian Cantor’s The Hours Count; Sabine Durrant’s Remember Me This Way; and Carla Buckley’s upcoming The Good Goodbye.
Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?
I’ve just finished my third novel, Don’t You Cry, about the simultaneous disappearance of a young Chicago woman, and the appearance of a mysterious woman in a small harbor town on Lake Michigan’s eastern shores. Look for it in the summer of 2016!
Note: In Australia Don’t You Cry is scheduled for release in June 2016
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given as a writer?
Never give up! The Good Girl certainly received a good deal of rejection before I found an agent and sold the novel. You never know what opportunities await you down the road.