Exclusive: Bestselling author Mary Kubica dishes on new mystery She's Not Sorry

New York, New York - Mystery author Mary Kubica has returned with another exciting page-turner, and she sat down with TAG24 to dish on her new book, She's Not Sorry, and the enduring popularity of domestic thrillers.

Mary Kubica returns with She's Not Sorry on April 2, and she sat down with TAG24 to dish on the twisty new thriller.
Mary Kubica returns with She's Not Sorry on April 2, and she sat down with TAG24 to dish on the twisty new thriller.  © Courtesy of Mary Kubica

The New York Times bestselling author launched her writing career with 2014's The Good Girl and has since penned several acclaimed mysteries, including The Other Mrs. and Local Woman Missing.

This April, Kubica returns with She's Not Sorry, a brand-new thriller that follows a nurse named Megan Michaels, who winds up caught in a chilling mystery surrounding her newest patient.

"[Megan] gets a patient in the ICU, who it's believed has jumped from a bridge," Kubica told TAG24.

Taylor Swift reveals surprise openers for The Eras Tour London!
Taylor Swift Taylor Swift reveals surprise openers for The Eras Tour London!

As Megan handles the woman's care, she soon grows close to family and friends who come to visit – a careful line Megan typically vows not to cross.

"As she becomes closer to this patient's family, it starts to become evident that the woman was actually pushed from the bridge, that she didn't jump," Kubica said.

"Now Megan wonders, has she let herself get close to the wrong people and, in doing so, put herself and her teenage daughter in danger?"

Storytelling as mystery solving

The inspiration for the novel struck in a new way for Kubica, who came up with its jaw-dropping twist in the early stages of writing.

"I'm not a plotter at all. I don't really think a whole lot through my books before I start writing them," Kubica said. "I almost never have the ending planned when I start, but I did with She's Not Sorry."

"I get that initial mystery, and I just dive in and start writing, and, right along with the characters, I try to solve this mystery."

Coming up with the perfect twist is crucial to a good mystery novel, but it's Kubica's keen ability to craft a satisfying path to get there that has made her a true master of the genre.

Mary Kubica spills her secrets for crafting the perfect twist

Mary Kubica launched her writing career with the 2014 bestseller The Good Girl.
Mary Kubica launched her writing career with the 2014 bestseller The Good Girl.  © Courtesy of Mary Kubica

Sparks for that "initial mystery," be it a sudden disappearance or the discovery of a body, often emerge from the many real and fictional mysteries Kubica surrounds herself with.

"I watch the news; I listen to true crime podcasts," she said. "Everything [mystery] is sort of my thing, whether I'm watching TV or reading a book. It's always in the same genre, so I feel like I'm just constantly immersed in that inspiration when it comes to characters or the twist."

That all-important twist can make or break a good thriller. Too many hints and readers will see it coming, but pull too far from left field and the awaited payoff will fall flat.

Meghan Markle slammed by First Lady of Nigeria after visit with Prince Harry
Meghan Markle Meghan Markle slammed by First Lady of Nigeria after visit with Prince Harry

"The twist has to be earned," Kubica explained. "I always strive to surprise the reader. Of course, everything kind of hinges on that twist."

"I want them to have that 'Aha!' moment, but if they were to go back and read it, they would see the clues leading up to that twist," she added.

Building authentic characters

Kubica isn't drawn to crafting sinister supervillains. Instead, her novels explore the everyday evil evoked in seemingly well-intentioned people.

"One thing that I really try to keep in mind is keeping things just very, very plausible, keeping my characters very relatable," she said. "It doesn't mean that readers are always going to love them or agree with the choices that they're making, but I want my characters to be totally authentic, that they could be you or me or any of our friends... because I think in doing that, it pulls the reader in."

"They see that these characters are not that different from themselves, and they can kind of put themselves in similar situations that the characters are going through."

These types of mysteries that focus on crimes within outwardly perfect, often suburban settings have grown rapidly in popularity in the past decade, and while they have evolved into an increasingly well-defined subgenre, Kubica's entrance into it wasn't planned.

The domestic thriller subgenre has rapidly grown in popularity over the past decade.
The domestic thriller subgenre has rapidly grown in popularity over the past decade.  © TAG24 / Kelly Christ

"The Good Girl was my first book," Kubica said. "I had written a lot of unfinished manuscripts before that time, and I would say that those were more like general women's fiction. They didn't have the same elements of suspense to them."

This intersection between women's fiction and the twisted suspense of mystery has evolved into the "domestic thriller" genre – mystery novels that focus heavily on interpersonal relationships within one's most intimate circle, often involving spouses, parents, or close friends.

"It was sort of on accident that I started working in those suspenseful elements," she said. "I thought, you know, I was writing just kind of a love story that was a little darker, but then I built in this mystery, and it just totally went in a different direction. And I was hooked."

The addition of suspense gave Kubica the push she needed to see her book ideas through for the first time, affirming that this was the niche she belonged in.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film in 2014, has been credited with catapulting the domestic thriller into the mainstream, bringing further attention to novels like Kubica's as fans searched for similar narratives.

"In the last maybe 20 years, this domestic suspense, psychological suspense genre has just really taken off," Kubica said. "And it's definitely evolved over the time that I've been writing it."

"Early on, you saw a lot more psychopaths and just really the extremes happening, and I feel like now readers are really craving things that are very relatable, you know, and just things that could happen," she said. "They want antagonists that have a reason for why they do what they do and things like that."

The vicious serial killers of the past have been usurped by cheating husbands and deceitful friends, bringing the glorious labyrinth of the classic whodunit into our own backyards. The popularity of this subgenre hasn't daunted Kubica – on the contrary, it pushes her to find new ways to surprise readers.

"There have been so many incredible new authors that have come to the genre, and it's just amazing to see what different writers are bringing to it," she said. "I think that just this influx of new writers all the time raises the bar for everybody and just tries to make us work a little harder to come up with something new. And that's a good thing for everybody."

She's Not Sorry hits bookstores on April 2.

Cover photo: Collage: Courtesy of Mary Kubica

More on Entertainment: