The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU alumna self-publishes debut novel, NYC crime novel, with heart, depth

Thanks to self-publishing outlets like Amazon and the support of local bookstores, authors like Caroline Pugh can provide stories to interested readers without restriction. 

Pugh’s debut novel, “Something Bigger,” contains excitement and mystery without sacrificing character depth. Pugh’s characters undergo defining, traumatic moments yet remain complex and real. The heroes are likable, and the setting enhances the story. 

Pugh self-published “Something Bigger” earlier this year. She said she struggled to find a literary agent to represent her, and because she felt strongly about her story, she looked into Amazon’s self-publishing industry.

“I designed my own book cover, edited my own copy — and edited and edited — and sent it off,” she said. “The process is called ‘print on demand.’ The book is not printed until someone places an order at However, I also have my own copies to sell from my car’s trunk like John Grisham, and I’m trying to get my book into local bookstores.”

Pugh graduated high school in West Point, Miss., and later graduate from Mississippi State University. She now lives with her family in Tupelo. 

Pugh said she has written all of her life, but she only got serious about writing recently. She said as she worked on “Something Bigger,” the story almost materialized before her eyes. 

“I thought of the idea of ‘Something Bigger’ gradually,” Pugh said. “Story pieces just came to me as I started writing. It suddenly turned into a novel-length manuscript. It was really strange — as I wrote, the characters literally took on a life of their own. I’ve heard other authors say this, and now I believe it.”

Pugh said she wanted to make New York City a major part of her story. She said New York City is her favorite place in the world, and she loves Broadway. 

The book’s heroine, Riley Michaels, flees a devastating experience to New York City to work as a Broadway publicity agent. Though she leaves the horrors of her past in D.C., her fears confront her again. The man who wrongs her is released from prison, and she and her new friends must prove him guilty. She discovers through this work that her new boyfriend, prominent actor Lane Brennan, has an ex-wife, Broadway actor Jill Remy, who played a part in the wrongs done to Riley. 

While she works to have the guilty party incarcerated, Riley learns to trust her new friends and allow Lane to protect her. In the thrilling novel, Pugh’s characters are scarred, and the humanity she displays in each of her characters makes the book an engaging, emotional read. “Something Bigger” turns the crime novel genre on its head and adds a dose of humanity that drives the reader to care about both the characters and the plot. 

Judy Sewell, an old friend of Pugh’s, said she bought the book to support Pugh but was very impressed with the novel, regardless of friendship ties. 

“I recommend it, not as a friend, but because it is a great read,” Sewell said. “Her characters are fully developed. The settings are described with such detail that you feel like you’ve been to NYC or D.C. The ending, which I won’t give away, is very intriguing and totally unexpected.”

Sewell said though it is her first novel, Pugh handles self-publishing successfully. 

“She has book signings all the time,” Sewell said. “She works for an advertising firm, so she has knowledge of how to market herself.”

Because the end of “Something Bigger” set ups for a sequel, Pugh said she mulls over the possibility of a second installment.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
MSU alumna self-publishes debut novel, NYC crime novel, with heart, depth