Author Spotlight: Paula Munier
I’m a literary agent by day and a USA TODAY bestselling author by night. Publishing has been my life. I started off as a reporter years ago, and eventually moved from writing and editing for newspapers and magazines to the book business. I was an acquisitions editor for many years, acquiring and developing content for such media companies as Disney, Quarto, and WGBH.
All along I kept on writing, and nine years ago when I left the 9-to-5 corporate world to become an agent with Talcott Notch Literary, I decided to try my hand at crime fiction again. The result: My Mercy Carr mystery series, featuring MP vet Mercy and her former bomb-sniffing dog Elvis, who team up with game warden Troy Warner and his search-and-rescue Susie Bear to solve crimes in the Vermont wilderness.
The Hiding Place, which debuted in March, is the third book in my Mercy Carr series. (The first, A Borrowing Of Bones, won the Dogwise Book of the Year Award and was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award; the second, Blind Search, also won a DWAA award.)
Here’s the elevator pitch for The Hiding Place:
When the man who killed her grandfather breaks out of prison and comes after her grandmother, Mercy must unearth the long-buried scandals that threaten to tear her family apart. And she may have to do it without her beloved canine partner Elvis, if his former handler has his way….
(And yes, as an agent I can tell you that every writer needs an elevator pitch for every story….)
The most important thing is to focus on the craft of writing (and rewriting), because the easiest way to get published is to write a wonderful story we haven’t seen before. How to do that, well, that’s a road every writer has to walk alone. It’s not an easy road, and I think many writers try to rush into print before they are ready.
As someone who’s sat at nearly every place at the publishing table—writer, editor, agent—I’ve lived and breathed the ups and downs of this business. I can’t be everyone’s agent, so I’ve written three books on writing and selling your work, published by Writers Digest Books/PenguinRandomHouse: Plot Perfect:How to Build Unforgettable Stories Scene by Scene, Writing With Quiet Hands: How to Shape Your Writing to Resonate With Readers, and The Writer’s Guide To Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings That Sell.
A final word of advice: Never give up.
I drink nonfat lattes in the morning, and tea in the afternoon. Earl Grey, mostly. With milk and sugar. I work from home now, but when I was working in an office, I put my electric kettle on every afternoon at 3pm, and my colleagues would drop by for “tea and biscuits.” I have teatime every day at home, and sometimes my fellow agents join me via Zoom.