Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #2

Dear Mr. Cusick,

After a good friend and colleague exhorted me to query you due to your solid record representing children's literature, I thought you might be interested in taking a look at KYLE CONSTANINI FINDS A WAY, my contemporary MG novel complete at approximately 42,000 words.

On her first day at Georgia O'Keefe Middle, eleven-year-old Kyle socks a bully in the gut. Next thing she knows, she's serving a sentence that lasts almost two months: she must join the Odyssey of the Mind team, a group tasked with using its special talents in a city-wide competition to navigate a labyrinth that makes everyone feel like ants in a crazy straw.

Kyle knows she's no whiz kid, but once she takes inventory of her skills--her crusading spirit, the whole ESP thing--maybe she has more to offer than she thinks. But then a monster misunderstanding with mom puts a swift end to the party and that's when Kyle discovers the real punishment is not being allowed to help the team. Now it might not matter that she was paired up to push hands in T'ai chi with Reed, the new know-it-all English boy who keeps calling her Fedora. He's annoying but he also happens to be one of the cleverest kids in OM--and he seems to think they can't possibly do as well without her.

Kyle doesn't want to go behind her mother's back but she also wants to finish what she started. She didn't mean to ignore the rules on the very first day but she had to defend the girl who just transferred from a special school for the deaf. Why is it that what seems so right to Kyle ends up being wrong in the eyes of everyone else? Will she ever make it through the maze that includes new interesting friends, unexpected challenges and rules she feels she has to break? 

Per Krista's Agent Inbox guidelines, I have pasted the first 250 words in the body of this entry. Thank you in advance for your time.  



The halls are different. Wider. And the little circley things in the tile on the ground look like Fruity Pebbles. Georgia O’Keefe Middle has been around for two whole years but they have it looking pretty sparkly for my first day.

The biggest change between this school and my old one where Meowsie still goes are all the windows. Hardly anyone knows we’re twins anymore because he’s been a year behind me since first. It feels weird knowing my brother’s in a whole different building. It’s one thing being in separate grades but it’s a billion times weirder being too far away to use twin ESP--which is way stronger than regular.

Instead, I stand at the bottom of the stairs packed with people I don’t know, crunching the paper with my locker number in my sweaty hand. I don’t look at it. I’ve memorized my combination since I’ve looked at it like four hundred times already.

Wish I had galactic vision so I could send it to the ceiling and find my best friends, Sheroo and Bridget.

Or Chris Dixey.

I kind of had a tiny crush on him last year but not really. Well, I mean kind of. It’s just that he had this freckle on his neck, right at the collar, and it would peek out when he stretched across the table in art to get a paper or something. Like it was saying hi to me.

Hellooooo, Kyle! I’m Chris Dixey’s freckle and I loooooooooooove you.


Anonymous said...

This looks like a fun book (the writing style is great), but maybe you should drop something in there relatively early to clarify that Kyle is a girl.

It's clear in the query she's a girl, and you do get that general impression by the end of the excerpt, but we live in a brave new world and you can't take anything for granted any more.

And her brother is named Meowsie! I hope that's just her nickname for him.

Suze said...

Hey, thanks, T. I think I read yesterday that you're post 19? Just popped over. Reading and commenting on other people's entries has taken some of the butterflies and settled them a bit. Great sense of camaraderie.

And, yes, Meowsie is a nick for Michael. It has to do with their cat but all that explanation would have soaked up too much of the 250-word allowance! :D

Good luck! And thanks for your kind words.

John C. said...

Hi S.G.,

This sounds like an interesting read! I like the combination of fantastical elements (the maze, the esp) and what sounds like some intense family and friend drama. Funnily enough, this does feel a bit like a young adult to me, rather than a middle-grade (which I assume it is, if Kyle is in middle-school?).

In any event, I'd be interested to read more. Would you like to send me the first fifty pages?

Nicki Elson said...

I love the voice in this. It seems like the kind of story you'd read all the way through without even feeling like you're reading.

Suze said...

Thank you for the request. The material has been sent!

Thank you, Krista, for your gracious hosting. And for my girl Nick, as Bartles and Jaymes would say ...

J.P. said...

I can imagine reading the jacket flap and then opening the book to read more! The premise is relatable and Kyle's personality and humor are engaging.

Author Amok said...

Congrats on earning a request, Suze! The voice of your MC on this first page is really engaging. I loved the line you ended on -- I can imagine a middle schooler thinking this way.

Suze said...

Thanks so much, you guys. :)

Christy Baker Knight said...

What a fun read this looks like, and great you got a request for pages! Yeah! I just have one teensy mention...As a life-long obsessed Georgia O'Keeffe fan, I noticed you spelled the name of the middle school with one f. Maybe this was intentional? Anyway, best wishes on your intriguing MG novel!

Suze said...

OMG! Thank you soo much! I'm gobsmacked. If you could have just seen my eyebrows as I read your comment. Magnificent catch. It was not intentional, just an ignorant error. I so appreciate you pointing it out, Christy.

And thank you for your well wishing!

Suze said...

Hi, Krista.

Just wanted to let you know that John has offered KYLE representation and I've accepted. Thank you so much for hosting this and all of your contests! I wish you all the best.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Suze! I'm so thrilled! Thanks for letting me know, and huge congrats!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

(Also, if you'd like to do a success story interview, either now or at some point down the road, I'd love to have you back.)

Suze said...

Girl, sign me up! I'm very grateful to you for hosting this and would be honored to do an interview.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Fantastic, Suze! Shoot me an e-mail at kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com, and I'll get those questions to you shortly.