Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #7

Dear Mr. Cusick,

Mankind achieved the pinnacle of scientific success; giving souls to robots.

It was also their greatest mistake.

Ariel Jordan and her family are the last of the survivors, the ones who escaped the Wars, the Purges, and the Collections. In the year 2082, Earth is now controlled by the machines once called friends. The remaining humans thought they were safe, that the Souled no longer sought to destroy them. But they were wrong; and death is now the least of their worries. As humans once sought to perfect robots, the Souled now seek to perfect humans. And once they are done, the humans will be like them, immortal machines, destined to watch the last of humankind disappear forever, eternally trapped within their indestructible bodies.

When her family is taken, Ariel must journey into the city of the Souled to save her sister and grandfather, enlisting the help of Connor, a boy who was once captured and mysteriously escaped from the Souled, something unheard of. Ariel will discover the desolated world she thought she knew has changed and the lines between friend and foe have become blurred. But to save those she loves, she will have to sacrifice more than her life when the price of their freedom is her soul.

My young adult novel SOULED is complete at 73,000 words and is the first in a series. I am prepared to send the completed manuscript upon request.

My professional background is in painting and teaching middle school art. SOULED is my second young adult novel, and my current WIP is an adventure series for middle grade boys entitled The Troll Diaries.

I appreciate your time and interest and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
J.P.


SOULED

I was ten years old the first time the Souled ones came for us.

At the time, death was still an abstract form to me. I knew it happened, but I had never seen it firsthand. It would happen in the shadows of night, leaving in its wake soft cries echoing quietly through the camp. I could hear the whispers, hushed tones speaking of death and loss, but it hadn’t yet touched my life in any tangible way. When it did, my innocence was suddenly lost in a flash of metal and blood, and trying to recall any memories of before was like trying to remember the warmth of sunlight in the harshest of winter storms.

The Purges had been going on for nearly twenty years; it was all I knew of life, having been born in the middle of them. We were always hiding and moving, never staying anywhere too long. Once we almost got comfortable in one place, my grandfather would decide that it was time to move again. By the time I was eight, I knew what that look on his face meant. It was the only time he wouldn’t look me in the eyes.

He hated to do it, but we would hear stories of families who stayed in one place for long periods of time, and went so far as to build houses. That’s usually when the Souled would find them; at the very moment they thought they were truly safe. I’ve never seen a real, intact house, just the remains of them, relics of another era and lifetimes long before my own.

5 comments:

Creel Family said...

I think that this is a fantastic idea! You did a great job taking a complex idea and describing it in a simple way in your query. Your writing in your excerpt is beautiful. Good job and good luck!

Alexa said...

I got sucked right into your query! I'm a sucker for robots :)

Just a few quibbles/notes: "I am prepared to send the completed manuscript upon request." - this is assumed and most agents say do not include this in a query. Also, it's recommended you state that your book can standalone, but has series potential. I would 'buff up' this paragraph with some comps, as well... your query made me think of I Robot, but I'm sure there are some recent YA books that would work.

Generally agents say don't mention WIPs/other things you are working on, so for most agents I would remove that line.

My only thought in your 250 is that my eyes started to glaze over in the first paragraph, after a few sentences. The writing is beautiful, but I think when you get to "When it did, my innocence was suddenly lost..." it is too vague for me to care (yet). However, paragraphs 2 & 3 hooked me.

I would totally read this! Good luck.

John C. said...

Okay, I love robot stories. And I'm a huge sci-fi fan. This sounds like a fun read, but typically I'd have stopped reading as early as "Purges." Whether you'd consider this title post-apocalyptic, editors and their sales teams likely would, which makes it a very difficult sell. As such, I'd have to pass.

-J

Author Amok said...

Your query and first page made me think of the classic Tripods series.

susanbishopcrispell said...

Great job with the query. You had me sucked in immediately. I would read this book. The only real question I have is in your 250 words. You say she was born in the middle of the Purges (which are nearly 20 years old), which makes me thinks she's only 10 or so. I'm asuming since it's YA that she is older. maybe I read it wrong, but wanted to point it out just in case others had confusion as well.