New York Family’s Parent’s Book Club Pick for April is The Other Mrs., by Mary Kubica. The novel is about a family that moves from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine. But when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home, the murder rocks their tiny coastal island. All eyes turn to the newcomers in town, Sadie and Will Foust, and Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that night. Yet, the more Sadie discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.
Mary Kubica a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter. Her most recent novel The Other Mrs. was published on February 18, 2020 and Netflix is adapting it as a feature film, which Kubica is executive producing. You can learn more at marykubica.com
Are you caught up with our book club reads? Check out last month’s pick: Megan Angelo’s Followers!
What was your inspiration for writing The Other Mrs. and what do you hope readers take away from the novel?
The twist at the end of the book was the first idea that came to mind, though it’s difficult to speak about without venturing into spoiler territory. That said, it gets deeply into the psychology of my characters, which is one of the things that fascinates me most about writing in this genre. I hope readers will enjoy the thrill of the novel, be scared as well as moved. It’s a thriller, but it also gets at the core of how we can never fully know one another, and how we can never know what inner struggles others are facing.
What draws you to the thriller and suspense genre?
As a reader, it’s always been my go-to genre. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by crime dramas and newsmagazine shows on TV, and I’m a bit of a true crime junkie. Before publishing my first novel, I wrote more in the women’s fiction genre, but always lost interest partway through my manuscripts. Something was missing. It was unplanned when I began to insert some of these twisty, mysterious elements into my first book, The Good Girl, but as I did, I found myself bewitched by them. It was the first novel in two decades of writing that I finished. I knew I’d found my niche.
As a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, and a mother of two children, how do you balance your writing career with your family life? How does the perspective of being a mother and having your own family shape your writing, if at all?
My routine has changed over the years, as my children have grown. When they were younger, I would write from about five in the morning until they woke up, and most days that was all the writing I could accomplish. Because it was so limited, I was uberfocused and learned to make the most of that time; most days, I could easily fit a thousand words into that two-hour timespan. Now my kids are older and in school much of the day, which provides me much more time to write.
Mothers and children inadvertently work their way into my novels because, as a mother, my children are everything. There’s no separating that part of my life from my career.
The setting of The Other Mrs. plays a key role in shaping the novel and its characters. Why did you decide to set the story in small-town Maine and how do you see the setting working throughout the novel?
I once thought I’d set all my novels in my hometown of Chicago, but The Other Mrs. needed a setting that was far more remote, and a sparsely populated island off the coast of Maine fit the bill. Maine is one place I’ve been enamored with for as long as I can remember. When the Foust family inherits a home on this island, little do they know how very isolated it will be. The mainland is only accessible by ferry, and ferry traffic is sometimes restricted by winter weather, leaving the island residents literally stranded. It adds to the claustrophobic feel of the novel, especially as the mystery begins to unfold and residents realize there may be a murderer among them.
I absolutely love the title of the novel. Can you elaborate more on the title’s significance and take us through your thought process when choosing a title?
Choosing a title involves more than just an author, but an editor and sales, marketing and publicity teams. It needs to be punchy, thought-provoking, memorable and unique. Once my editor and I have finished working on the novel, we brainstorm titles, putting together a list that gets sent around for a vote. This title, The Other Mrs., won because it begs an immediate question – Who is the other Mrs.? – and is full of intrigue. It’s also the type of title that can have many meanings, which appealed to me.
The chapters alternate perspectives — Sadie, Camille and Mouse. Why did you decide on this structure of three different perspectives for the novel?
All my novels are told from multiple perspectives, almost always in the first person. I love giving the reader the same story, or similar stories depending on how reliable the narrator, from different vantage points.
Rumor has it The Other Mrs. is coming to Netflix. When can we expect to catch this amazing read on Netflix?
Netflix optioned The Other Mrs. in the spring of 2019 for a feature film. Jack Thorne is just finishing up the screenplay and, if all goes as planned, we should see it on TV sometime next year. I’m ecstatic and completely over the moon to see what they do with it!
We hope you enjoyed reading about The Other Mrs., and stay tuned for our May Book Club!