I first knew Paula as a panelist – a wise and funny woman who would show up at conferences and always had something useful to say. I’d see her name on a schedule and I’d know that wherever she was, that was going to be good. I then started to hear about her agenting – she represents several friends, authors I admire. And when I’d see her at events, I’d hear about her love for dogs and music and New Orleans. No surprise, then, when her first book A Borrowing of Bones came out, it was as much fun as you’d expect (with a dog, of course). I’m thrilled to host her here today following the release of her second thriller, Blind Search.

How does a book start for you?

I usually start with an image or an idea. In A BORROWING OF BONES, I started with the image of a soldier and a sniffer dog home from the war in Afghanistan, walking off their sorrow in the Vermont woods. I knew they’d have to find something in those woods that would give them a new mission. 

In the new book BLIND SEARCH, I started with a story I’d read in the newspaper about a boy with autism who’d wandered off into the Vermont woods and gotten lost. He was rescued safe and sound, but the writer in me thought: What if a boy with autism got lost in the woods and witnessed a murder? Mercy and Elvis would have to save him…and I was off and running

Who in your latest book has surprised you most – and why? 

The dogs always surprise me. With each book, I learn more about the amazing things dogs can do for us. Every time I think I’ve researched every possible way they help us lead better lives, I find something else. In BLIND SEARCH, I get to write about the service dogs working with people with autism. 

When and/or where is your latest book set and is there a story behind that setting?

The series is set in the Green Mountains of Vermont. In the first book, it’s summer—but in this book, it’s autumn. Hunting season, perhaps the very best season for murder.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on book three of the Mercy Carr series, working title THE HIDING PLACE. Here’s the elevator pitch: When the man who killed her grandfather escapes from prison, Mercy and Elvis must keep her grandmother safe from his vengeance—and unravel the bizarre mystery behind her grandfather’s untimely death.

Which question didn’t I ask you that I should have?

Are there any bears in BLIND SEARCH? 

Now that you mention it…. We moved to the middle of Nowhere New England (as my son complains) while I was writing this book—and we have a lot of bears in this neck of the woods. Low and behold there’s a big black bear in the story who becomes very important to Mercy. I didn’t know that was going to happen—but now I love that bear. And by extension, all bears.

Paula Munier is a literary agent and the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Mercy Carr mysteries. A Borrowing of Bones, the first in the series, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. The second, Blind Search, pubs in November. She’s written three popular books on writing: Plot Perfect, The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings, and Writing with Quiet Hands, as well as Fixing Freddie and Happier Every Day. For more: https://paulamunier.com/(