Interview with Paula Scott, Author of River of Mercy

11 May 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write River of Mercy?

Years ago, as a young newspaper reporter, I did a story on boating safety in the Sacramento River. I rode along with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department for a week in their river patrol boat, hearing all kinds of stories. “There are bodies in the river that will never be found,” the sheriff told me. “Submerged cars conceal crimes that may never be solved.” This stuck with me because how can there be justice if someone gets away with murder? And what is mercy? Who deserves it? Small towns are big on justice and often short on mercy. Small-town kids have a hard time escaping what they’re born into, if your parents cause trouble, that follows you.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of River of Mercy, what would they be?

Maggie May from Rod Steward’s album Every Picture Tells a Story plays a crucial role in this novel. One of the main characters, Maggie, is named after this song so her biological father will be reminded that she is his.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I enjoy reading in different genres and write in different genres too.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

I’m currently reading The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is up next.

Someone Else’s Shoes, Mad Honey, Lessons in Chemistry, Virgin River, Go As A River, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Only the Beautiful by Susan Meissner are in my stack right now.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

It is a scene at the end of the story, but I don’t want to ruin it for someone so I won’t explain it…

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I binge write. If I am on a roll, I will write for 12 hours with few breaks. Then I can’t hardly move my arms and my hands go numb. Not a good thing! Haha!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

It doesn’t matter if I’m in the mood, I make myself sit down and write the story until it’s finished. Starting is fun, but finishing is hard. ‘Finish what you started’ is a motto I live by.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Mercy is a gift to be given and received without any strings.


Paula Scott is the author of the new book River of Mercy

Connect with Paula Scott

Author Site


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