Mar 25, 2009


I have recieved permisson through an intermediary to post the following query by author Jamie Ford. This was posted on Anita Laydon-Miller's Blog, and both the author and agent have agreed to let me post it here. The author signed with the agent, and the agent sold the book, which is what we all yearn for. Presumably, they are all living happily ever after!
- Rick Daley

Dear Ms. Nelson:

I must admit I hate Asian stereotypes. You know the ones. Good at math. Hardworking. We all look alike. Come to think of it, that last one might hold water. After all, my father once wore a button that read “I am Chinese,” while growing up in Seattle’s Chinatown during WWII. It was the only thing that separated him from the Japanese, at least in the eyes of his Caucasian neighbors.

Sad, but true. Which is probably why my novel has a little to do with that particular piece of history.

Anyway, the working title is The Panama Hotel, and when people ask me what the heck it’s all about I usually tell them this: “It’s the story of the Japanese internment in Seattle, seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old Chinese boy, who is sent to an all-white private school, where he falls in love with a 12-year-old Japanese girl.”

But it’s more complicated than that. It’s a bittersweet tale about racism, commitment and enduring hope––a noble romantic journey set in 1942, and later in 1986 when the belongings of 37 Japanese families were discovered in the basement of a condemned hotel.

This historical fiction novel is based on my Glimmer Train story, I Am Chinese, which was a Top 25 Finalist in their Fall 2006 Short-Story Competition For New Writers. An excerpt was also published in the Picolata Review.

Think Amy Tan, but with a sweeter aftertaste. Thank you for your consideration and time, Jamie Ford


Anita said...

Yes...they're all living is now on New York Times List...and if you go to, you'll see a nifty Borders interview with the man himself.

ryan field said...

I read THE HOTEL AT THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET about a month ago. It was one of the best books I've read all year. I even liked it so much I left a review on amazon, and I never do that.

It's interesting to read the query that put everything into motion.

T. Anne said...

Thanks for posting. It seems wonderfully causal as far as query's go. I love that he begins a sentence with 'anyway'...

Deborah said...

Love seeing what a successful query looks like. Thanks.

Sarah Garrigues said...

Wow. Talk about voice! From the query, I feel as though I know EXACTLY how the book will read...I know that it will be strong and that I will like it. What a great example! Thanks Rick for obtaining this.

Anonymous said...

That is a fantastic query. Wow.