By: Bowen Gillings
Writing from the Peak is pleased to present a special interview between Bowen Gillings and Agent Maureen Moretti .
Maureen Moretti began her publishing career as an intern with several prestigious New York City literary agencies before joining P.S. Literary as an associate agent. She holds a B.A. from Saint Mary’s College of California, and attended the Columbia Publishing Course. Maureen is looking for narrative driven non-fiction with a gripping voice and a unique hook, such as unusual or untold biographies, commentary on culture, both mainstream and subversive, and new interpretations of history. She is also actively searching for fiction, romance, upmarket and commercial women’s fiction, select science fiction, thrillers, mysteries, and literary fiction. She loves new perspectives on old stories, characters that resonate and stay with you, novels about the zeitgeist, non-fiction that teaches you by accident and loves a happily ever after.
Bowen Gillings: Have you always wanted to be an agent? Allow me to reword that as, “What motivated you to become an agent?”
Maureen Moretti: I wanted to advocate for authors. Agenting is a mix of skills that range from editorial to advocacy. I wanted to do work I love and ensure that the artists were fairly treated and paid. It allows me to be both creative and technical. I love contracts and I love art. It’s a mix of the two.
BG: What are you reading right now? I would add to that, reading for pleasure or for work or both.
MM: I recently finished THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB by Lyssa Kay Adams which I adored. It subverted so many tropes of the genre. I’m also finally getting around to ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE, I’m definitely late to that train!
BG: What books and authors have most influenced your career?
MM: First and foremost, Nora Roberts. I inhaled her books, I must have read at least 100 of them.
Rosemary Graham, STALKER GIRL
Tom Rachman, THE IMPERFECTIONISTS
Cherrie Moraga & Gloria Anzaldúa edited THIS BRIDGE CALLED MY BACK
BG: Walk us through your process of taking on a writer as a client. How do you determine that you want to represent that writer?
MM: Do I think I could I sell their book? Do we have similar ideas and working styles? Do we have a similar vision for their work and their career? It’s important to me that I’m not forcing a vision of a work and having revisions done that don’t feel right to the writer. Ultimately, I want the book that’s on the shelves to be the best version of the book they imagine.
BG: What are the top three things a writer should do to make you want to be their agent.
1. Write a book they love
2. Have a community of writers (e.g. a platform, a critique group, supportive friends etc.)
3. Have a positive attitude and a willingness to put in the work
BG: What story are you longing to read? Describe the type of novel you long for, but have yet to see cross your desk. If that doesn’t exist, describe which novel you have read that is as near perfection as could be, and why.
MM: RED WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston is on my top 10 of the last decade. The absolute joyful abandon, the incorporation of marginalized characters, the real and intense emotions made that book a joy to read.
BG: Describe your perfect reading scenario fantasy. Are you a beach reader? Secluded in a mountain cabin? On a retreat with a book club? What is it?
MM: I live in New York and it’s one of my favorite places in the world, but there’s nothing like a cabin in the woods to read. When everything in the city gets too loud, I like to get a cabin for the weekend and relax with a stack of books. I never travel with fewer than five.
Bowen Gilling’s writing has appeared in Allegory e-zine, was selected for “Ghosts of Downtown,” “Writing is Art,” the “Writing from the Peak” blog, and has placed in the Zebulon Writing Contest. He is a member of Pikes Peak Writers and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and participates in Colorado Tesla Writers and Colorado Writers and Publishers groups.