Mary Kubica
April 6, 2024

Mary Kubica is a New York Times bestselling author of suspense thrillers including The Good Girl, The Other Mrs., and Local Woman Missing. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide. She’s been described as “a helluva storyteller” (Kirkus) and “a writer of vice-like control” (Chicago Tribune), and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “thrilling and illuminating” (L.A. Times). She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and children.

Interview by Elise Cooper

Q: Did the plot’s twist or its conclusion come to you first when you were conceptualizing the book?

Mary: I started with the twist first, which is unusual for me. I have a starting point and no idea where I am going with it. With this one the twist came first and then I stepped backwards and created the characters to go with it, building up to it.

Q: How significant are comas in the storyline, and what kind of research did you do to portray this aspect accurately?

Mary: I did not know anyone who has been in a coma, but I did quite a bit of research. This book has a medical setting and there was a patient in a coma. I am also very fortunate to have several friends who are nurses, some ICU nurses. There is nothing like speaking to someone who knows the information and lives in that world. I asked them some very specific questions including the day-to-day experience of being a nurse. I wanted a couple of nurses to read the book after it was finished for accuracy.

Q: Can you share insights into Sienna’s character and her dynamics within the story?

Mary: A typical sixteen-year-old girl. My daughter would have been the same age at the time I started writing this book. She is a little sassy, defiant, and likes to push the boundaries. She and her mother Meghan have a great relationship. They are close. She is obviously not shy and speaks her mind.

Q: Meghan’s character seems complex and multifaceted. How would you describe her, particularly in her role as a mother and her personal challenges?

Mary: I think characters will find her relatable. As a mother she puts her daughter first: Sienna’s happiness and safety. She has recently gone through a divorce and is trying to find her footing. Being a nurse and having to work she is trying to find the right balance between being a solo parent and working mom. She is very empathetic. But will do anything to protect those she loves. She is compassionate, guarded, and tough.

Q: Nat’s presence in the story appears to be quite pivotal. What role does she play in the narrative?

Mary: Meghan remembers her as a high school friend. She thought she knew her more than she did. She felt safe with her because Nat was someone she grew up with. Because she went through this divorce, she feels isolated, desperate, and alone so she confides in her a deep secret.

Q: The prologue sets a dramatic tone for the book. What was your thought process in crafting this scene?

Mary: This was not the first thing I wrote. I knew I wanted to start something out with a bang that would grip the readers. As a parent the idea of someone taking their child is every parent’s worst nightmare.

Q: Virtual kidnapping is a rather unique concept in the story. Could you explain if it’s based on real incidents?

Mary: Sadly, this is prevalent these days. It is a way to get money even though there was never a kidnapping. They do not have that person.

Q: Facing a virtual kidnapping situation in your story, would you personally have reacted by paying the ransom immediately?

Mary: I do not know. This is one of the things I would bring up in my books. What would the reader do? Thankfully, most of us have never been in this situation. But if I thought someone had my child and had a short time to pay this ransom, I might have done it.

Q: Caitlin’s character seems to unravel as the story progresses. Can you delve into her significance in the story and how her perception changes?

Mary: She is the patient in the ICU and unconscious. Because she cannot speak the readers get information from her parents, the Becketts. They reveal more and more about her over time. The more we learn about her, the less we like her. In the beginning Meghan bonds with Mrs. Beckett because they are both mothers who care so much about their daughters.

Q: Looking ahead, can you share any details about your next book project?

Mary: I just started it so no title and no release date. It is another suspense novel. This has a new setting, the North Woods of Wisconsin. Two families go on vacation together and bad things start to happen

Review by Elise Cooper

She’s Not Sorry by Mary Kubica is a suspenseful thriller with a compelling twist.  The characters are gripping although unreliable.

The main character is Meghan Michaels who is like any single mom, trying to find balance between working full time as an ICU nurse and being a doting mother.  Now one of her patients, Caitlin Beckett, is in a coma with traumatic brain injury.  As the story goes on authorities begin to question if she suicidally jumped from a bridge or was pushed.

Then there is Natalie (Nat) Cohen who Meghan runs into on the street.  Nat was a high school classmate.  After noticing a huge bruise on Nat’s face and having experience with abuse Meghan is worried and invites Nat to stay with her and her daughter Sienna. 

Also wanting to make sure her teenage daughter is safe Meghan becomes a formidable character. Although thoughtful and caring she can become a “mama bear” if someone in her family is threatened.

As the story unveils readers see Meghan as strong but someone who has secrets that need to be kept.  This is what compels readers to not want to put the book down.

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