As a military brat, agent Paula Munier grew up everywhere: Georgia, Germany, Oklahoma, Ohio. Her childhood was a blur of Army bases, foreign countries, and Mayflower moving vans.
But she wasn't unhappy. She had an adoring mother—and books.
“My mom turned to reading for solace and solitude, for entertainment and enlightenment—and I learned to do the same.”
She read everything: Nancy Drew, the encyclopedia, Desmond Morris’s The Naked Ape. And she wrote hundreds of letters to the families and friends she was forever leaving. Her father wanted her to be a helicopter pilot, but a nun in a New Orleans high school said she should write.
Munier heeded her teacher's advice. She sold her first magazine article to Cosmo for $50; worked as a reporter for various newspapers; wrote a YA novel for HarperCollins; edited a business magazine; worked for Prima Publishing, later acquired by Random House; and wrote a second book—On Being Blonde—in a month.
In 2012, she joined Talcott Notch Literary Services as a senior agent and content strategist.
“Being an agent calls upon all of my experience and expertise in writing, editing and publishing,” she says. “Most important, it allows me to do what I love best, helping writers realize their dreams of being published and building their careers.”
A popular conference speaker and writing teacher, Munier has authored and co-authored more than a dozen books, including the bestselling Plot Perfect, The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings That Sell, Writing With Quiet Hands: How to Shape Your Writing to Resonate with Readers, Plot Perfect: How to Build Unforgettable Stories Scene by Scene, and the acclaimed memoir Fixing Freddie: A TRUE story about a Boy, a Single Mom, and the Very Bad Beagle Who Saved Them. Her first mystery, A Borrowing of Bones, debuts in September.
This November, Munier will talk about creating the perfect plot at the Historical Writers of America's annual writing conference in Providence. She'll also teach a one-hour class on great first chapters and hear pitches from writers.
“I'm always looking for good crime fiction, women’s fiction, mainstream fiction, high-concept YA and SF/Fantasy fiction, as well as nonfiction,” she says. “In terms of historical fiction, I'd love to find work in the same spirit as Alice Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers, Lily King’s Euphoria, George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin, Amy Tan’s anything and everything. I am also always looking for nonfiction,” especially stories about artists, writers, and scientists, she says.
“I also love historical mysteries, from William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace to Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series and James R. Benn’s Billy Boyle WWII mysteries. Right now I'm rereading Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and have Christina Klein Baker’s A Piece of the World, Susan Fraser King’s Queen Hereafter, Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, and Nicola Upson’s London Rain in my to-be-read queue.”
Her advice for new writers? Focus on craft and community. “The bar is high for debut fiction, so mastering your craft is critical. It's also important to be part of the writing community, which will not only help you in your journey from beginning writer to published author, but will also help you as you build your career.”
To learn more about Munier visit paulamunier.com.