Juliet Mushens founded Caskie Mushens Ltd in 2017 with Robert Caskie, after stints at PFD, The Agency Group (where she headed the UK literary division), and UTA. She has been shortlisted for literary agent of the year for the last three years running. Here, Norah Myers interviews her about her new venture.
1) Why was it important for you to start your own agency?
I’ve always wanted to start my own agency – it’s very exciting to have the freedom to make decisions as to how to shape a company. I’m thrilled to do this with Robert Caskie, who has always been a mentor of mine.
2) What do you look forward to most in your new position?
Starting a new agency gives me a renewed opportunity to consider my career so far: where have I had success, but also, where is there room for improvement. It means I can really be strategic about the projects I’m taking on, but I’m also hoping to add to my list proactively this year.
3) What do you look for in a client when signing them?
The book is the most important thing, of course. But I also want someone who is willing to put editorial work into the manuscript, and someone who is pleasant to work with. It’s a long-lasting relationship so you want to get on well!
4) What makes you most passionate about being an agent?
Nothing beats the excitement of finding a new manuscript and realising it has a lot of potential. I find editorial work really satisfying as well (like doing a puzzle!) and the buzz of running a big auction is great fun.
5) Where would you like the agency to be in five years’ time?
I’d love us to have a reputation for finding and nurturing new talent. We’ve kicked 2017 off with three Sunday Times bestsellers within a month, which bodes well!