Wednesday, August 3, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #8

Dear Ms. Nelson,

Five months ago someone dragged seventeen-year-old Bek out of a collapsing building and changed her life. Now she can’t get rid of the guilt or the questions. Guilt that she walked away unscathed while her friend didn’t. Questions about the mysterious hero who saved her. If she could answer any of it, maybe she could fill in some of the blank pages in her sketchbook diary. Maybe the nightmares would stop.

Unraveling the pieces of what happened that night from her incomplete memories isn’t easy. Her best friend--and unrequited love of her life--Adam doesn’t understand her need to know the truth and the closer she gets to finding it the more she thinks the secrets between them aren’t just about her unspoken feelings. When she figures out that he’s the Fox, a local superhero, everything starts to come together--like why the Fox saved her first the night of the building collapse and why she and her brother are suddenly caught in the crosshairs of the Fox and his biggest foe, Dr. Blair.

And why Adam keeps kissing her and pushing her away.

To prove that she can hack it as a superhero girlfriend and save Adam from having to choose between her and saving Pride City, she has to stay away from Dr. Blair and his most indestructible weapons yet--genetically modified kids bent on destroying the Fox. And if she can’t? Dr. Blair will finish what he started five months ago--only this time, neither Bek nor the Fox will make it out alive.

KISSING A SUPERHERO is an 84,000 word young adult contemporary novel with a superhero twist that will appeal to fans of Kiersten White. 

I have two published contemporary romance novels, Playing for Keeps (2015) and Double Play (2016), both published by Covenant Communications. My third novel, Dear Jane is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2017. I serve on the board of directors as communications chair for LDStorymakers and also on the LDStorymakers 2017 Conference Committee. I also am a member of the American Night Writers Association, where I have served in the past as my chapter president, as well as a member of RWA. I have also served on the Whitney Awards committee.

As per the submission guidelines, I have copied the first 250 words below. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.



The thrum of old pop music drifted through the parking lot of Victory Lanes bowling alley as I hurried toward the front door, enjoying the soft-and-warm, late summer air. I swung the door open, feeling conspicuous for arriving alone. I gave my clothes a quick once over and spotted a streak of jelly on the back of my sleeve. Classy, so classy.


I saw Lilah and waved. She sat amid our normal crowd, who’d shoved together several tables, eating pizza in the restaurant. It was already well past eight o’clock, but no one was bowling. I swept my gaze over to the lanes. The Washington Academy snobs--which is what most kids who went to my high school, Whitson High, thought of the kids who went to the nearby private school--had taken over three lanes, right smack in the middle. That explained it.

My gaze fell on Adam Axley before I could help it. He and my brother Josh both went to Washington. They sat on a bench talking and laughing, and I sort of wanted to stare at Adam’s smile all night long.

Okay. I didn’t like Adam like that. Well, I shouldn’t. He was easily the best looking guy on the planet. But all those girls. Fawning over him. I did not want to be one of them. Tearing my gaze away, I marched toward the bathroom to see what I could do about the jelly streak.

“Be back in a minute,” I called to Lilah.


Unknown said...

The query reads more like a middle grade to me. Maybe it's the names (The Fox & Pride City.) And the query with all its arch enemies and taking over cities sounds much more Sci-fi than YA contemporary. Other than that, I love the concept and your pages really made me love your MC. The jelly stain was endearing as was her decision not to be a groupie. Id be interested to read more, but I worry agents wouldn't know how to classify your book. Brandon Sanderson does a great adult superhero series but it's very dark. I can't think of any YA superhero books off hand. If it really is a Contemporary I'd focus on the social drama and relationships rather than collapsing buildings and superheroes in disguise. If you decide to go MG lower the ages, and make the kissing more innocent. If you go with YA fantasy or Sci-Fi, rework the query to make it sound more dangerous than happy-go-lucky.
Good luck! This should do well!

Leslie S. Rose said...

Great title! The challenges of "hacking it as a superhero girlfriend" are definitely something I'd love to read about. What a crazy situation to find oneself in! I also love the quest of seeking puzzle pieces to put together the truth of an event.

Unknown said...

I love this concept. I'd take the bit about the unrequited love out of the second paragraph and MAYBE replace "someone" in the first paragraph with mentioning it was the Fox. But I agree that trying to put the pieces together and figure out what happened is intriguing.

Love the "streak of jelly" detail. Very endearing. But I'd cut everything between the dashes out of the middle paragraph and just leave it as "The Washington Academy snobs had taken over three lanes . . . ." And I'm not sure we need to know that Adam and Josh go to Washington--especially at this point.

Good luck!

K. said...

Great concept! I love that your story focuses on the hero's gf, not the hero himself. Solid query, though I agree with one of the other people who commented, it does have a MG feel to it.
The 250 pages were interesting, got a good feel for the MC's voice.
Great job!

Patricia Nelson said...

This is a lot of fun! The query does a great job of setting up inciting incident, character, and stakes, and there's some moments of nice voice in the sample page. I do have some concerns: superheroes can be tough in YA (as a couple of the above commenters point out, there's an over-the-top-ness and sense of fun in many superhero stories that tends to feel more middle grade), and parts of the sample lapse into telling voice ("He and my brother Josh both went to Washington.") or cliche ("He was easily the best looking guy on the planet."). But this one grabbed my attention - I would flag it for a second look and consider requesting more pages to see where it goes from here.

Ranee` said...

Thank you everyone!