That Was Then – New Novel Coming Soon

Back in November, I wrote a post on writing contemporary vs historical fiction and briefly introduced my latest novel That Was Then. The plan is to release this new novel – a contemporary thriller – in June. The excitement is brewing along with the realization of how much work needs to be done!

In 2018, I attended a writers retreat and was assigned to work with one of the literary agents involved. Following a few sessions on building pitches, I asked the agent which of three ideas I should write next. “That one,” she said without hesitation, when I gave a one-sentence description of That Was Then.

Of course, that left me with a lot of gaps to fill. Why would one twin want to disappear? Why would the other twin agree to such a request? What were their backstories? What happened after the disappearance?

Several scandals dominated the news at the time: Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States and Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of rape against Kavanaugh; investigations into accusations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein; Jeffrey Epstein’s trial for sex trafficking. In addition, the #MeToo movement had gained wide public notice.

These circumstances led me to create a story involving the consequences of rape

In addition to Internet sources on everything from springtime blossoms in New York City to the American election process, three books helped me understand how rape affects women and why men commit such crimes. They are Chanel Miller’s memoir Know My NameShe Said by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, and Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow. I highly recommend each of them.

With E. Jean Carroll’s 2019 accusation against Donald Trump, then the President of the United States, I decided to bring politics into the mix and created a fictional candidate running for governor.

After a hiatus of two years, during which Paris In Ruins and The Admiral’s Wife were published, I came back to the manuscript for That Was Then. In the meantime, the political climate in America had become much more divisive. I began reading articles to understand how and why things were changing and was shocked to learn of organizations and the people behind them who want to create a new and radicalized conservative movement to govern the United States.

With these elements woven into the story, That Was Then became my first thriller and first contemporary novel. 

Writing contemporary fiction is a different challenge from historical fiction. Instead of transporting readers to the past, the challenge is to immerse readers in the present and shed light through story on the dilemmas we face today whether they be personal, political, or societal. I hope That Was Then will accomplish this is some small way.


M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel is THE ADMIRAL’S WIFE, a dual timeline set in Hong Kong. Mary’s other novels, PARIS IN RUINS, TIME AND REGRET, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website

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Meet M.K.Tod

The historical fiction author behind A Writer of History...

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