Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #17

Dear Ms. Testerman,

Sixteen-year-old Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Elite and they need Avery as a pawn--or want her dead.

To decipher the ancient mystery that’s putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the crypts of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with the two boys the family sent to kidnap her. But when the trail of clues exposes a secret that might plunge the world into World War 3, she won’t only have to betray her new family to stop it. She’ll have to choose between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with.

Though it can stand alone, my 93,000 word YA Thriller THE ELITE is meant as the first in a trilogy. I am currently a freelance writer and recently spent time as a bookstore events and marketing coordinator, where I learned everything from the importance of co-op to the futility of wearing heels for three days straight at BEA.

Thank you for your consideration.



“It’s not flattering, it’s stalking. Jack Basil is totally stalking you.” My best friend Lara ripped open a handful of sugar packets and dumped them in her coffee.

“Could you say it a little louder?” I felt my face flush and looked around. It was pouring outside, so half the school was crowded into the cafe where I worked instead of lounging on the patio at Burt’s like usual. “And it is not. He--”

“He knew your name. And he asked me how long you’ve lived here, and where your dad is, and why you’re homeschooled.” Lara took a sip of her coffee and made a face. “It’s not like he asked me if you have a date to prom or something. That would be normal. This was not normal.”

It wasn’t normal, but Lara was wrong--Jack Basil asking about me was definitely flattering. EmmaBeth Porter, the leader of the self-proclaimed Sexy Seven, had dumped her boyfriend to ask Jack to prom, only a few days after Jack had moved here. He’d turned her down. No one turned down EmmaBeth.

And now, he was asking Lara about me.

Just then, the door jingled, a gust of cool, rain-scented breeze blew inside, and Jack Basil himself walked into the cafe. A shiver ran down my spine that I tried to tell myself was just from the cold.

Jack shook the rain out of his hair, which was the color of espresso and slightly too long, and made wavy by the storm.


Mint Juleps 'n Muddin' said...

Makes we want to read more.

Cassie Mae said...

Your query sounds really intriguing and I like that it gets to the point right away. A short intro, and then bam, this is what happens! Although it is a little vague at the end (not your bio, but the story).

I like your first page too. But the last paragraph/sentence feels a little awkward to me. I know you're trying to describe his hair, but it sounds a little weird. Maybe try rewording?

I'd like to keep reading on, which is good because you hooked me. :)

Unknown said...

Your query rocks. Fun bio.

Your first page hooked me. I'd definitely keep reading. By the last paragraph, I'm expecting the infamous Jack Basil to shoot diamonds out his butt or something, so you might consider toning down that last descriptive paragraph just a tiny bit.

Great job, though!

Vicki Tremper said...

From the query, this is definitely a story I'd want to read!

In the excerpt, I had a small issue in the 2nd paragraph when she says "And it is not. He-" What does "it" refer to? Her dialogue didn't make sense to me based on what Lara said. It's a tiny, picky thing, but also easily fixed.

And I agree with the others about the description of Jack's hair. It really changed the tone.

Good luck!

Rachel Searles said...

Both your query and your page are very strong. One super nitpicky thing that I got hung up on: "they need Avery as a pawn--or want her dead." I can't figure out if you mean if they can't have her as their pawn, then they want her dead so no one can have her, or if you mean either they want her as their pawn or they want her dead, and she can't figure out which one they want.

I actually liked the hair description, particularly "made wavy by the storm." Guess you could tighten it up a bit but it didn't bother me.

PAT said...

Sounds interesting, I see some potential.

Melodie Wright said...

Ooh, this sounds like a fun read. And I agree with the other posters on your excerpt. The wavy hair kinda threw me, but I think it's more bc this is a 250-word excerpt rather than you need to change it.
Good luck!

Maggie Hall said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone!
So... Jack's hair seems to be taking over the first page. Since the book is not actually about Jack's hair, that sentence might need to change. :) Thanks!

Cassie Mae--Thanks, I will work on vagueness at the end of the query.

Karen--He can totally do that! How did you know? (No, not really. :) But it is hilarious!)

Vicki--Thanks. I will try to clarify the "it."

Rachel--Thanks, I'll see if I can make that sentence more clear!

Ginger, PAT, Melodie--Thanks for the comments!

Lindsey R. Loucks said...

The query sounds super intriguing, but there were a few parts that threw me. What exactly does the ancient mystery refer to? The two boys that were sent to kidnap her - why didn't they? What stopped them? Why is there two of them?

I liked the opening page and had no problems with Jack's hair. When you're crushing, you tend to notice everything about that person. I do, anyway! :) The only thing that made me pause was 'a shiver ran down my spine.' In my opinion, that's teetering on the edge of the Cliffs of Cliche.

Those were all nit-picky things, but I really do like this! Best of luck to you!

Leigh Ann said...

Go go go! Go Maggie Go!

(Trusty CP, just here to cheerlead...this book is INCREDIBLE!)

Unknown said...

I think I may have created the next paranormal sensation...a boy who can shoot diamonds out his butt. lol

Seriously, though, the hook and writing are both really strong.

Seabrooke said...

I'm with Leigh Ann! This book rocked, it totally deserves a request. Good luck, Maggie!

Kate Schafer Testerman said...

I love the idea of a globe-trotting YA thriller, but I don't know if this is it, at least for me. What's up with Avery's "newfound family"? What happened to her old one? Are they actually related to her, or just using her? How does the secret society that wants to use her as a pawn relate to the ancient mystery threatening her life?

And then there's a love triangle -- or at least two boys that the MC has to "choose between." Since you haven't told me anything about them, except that they were sent to kidnap her, I have to wonder if she's not feeling a little Stockholm Syndrome.

I just don't know.

Reading on to the sample to see if it tells me more about the thriller aspects I'm interested in, it feels like another generic contemporary YA. I'm not saying it needs to start off with anyone dangling from the roof of the Louvre, but two girls talking about a crush at a coffee shop? It's been done to death.