Jul 5, 2009

QUERY - Zombie Love

Samantha Ridgeway loves her job as a tabloid reporter, but following the wrong story makes her a dead reporter. Dead until she’s the guinea pig in a bizarre experiment intended to save the life of spoiled heiress, Sierra Mallory. The only drawback to becoming the walking, talking undead, besides Sam’s never-ending appetite, is Sierra wants them to be BZFs (Best Zombies Forever) in her plot to take over the world.

Vampire Chief Enforcer Duncan St. James has his hands full investigating the disappearance of several of L.A.’s supernatural denizens. When a very nosy, very cute, and soon very dead reporter interferes, he has no choice but to keep her in arm’s reach – a situation he finds a little too tempting. Now if he can just keep Samantha from eating the brains of the very people he’s trying to save from the psycho zombie heiress who’s holding them prisoner…

ZOMBIE LOVE is a 90,000 word urban fantasy novel. I have attached the first five pages for your review.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,
Suzan Harden


I deliberately left out the bio paragraph. Y'all have seen it before and nothing's changed. Thanks!


Paul said...

Wow, this is really good. It's concise, it's well-written, and it has voice. The only minor quibble I can find is that the last sentence of the first paragraph should maybe read "..besides Sam's never ending appetite, is that Sierra..."
Other than that, all I can say is "well done."

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ooooo, great hook and voice.
I had to reread the last sentence in the first graph to understand it. Maybe a tweaking would help--perhaps just removing "Sam's never-ending appetite"?
In graph two, I wondered why the vamp detective is tempted by a zombie? Do they have blood? Or is it a sexual thing? I can't help thinking of zombies as rotting, so maybe a line saying how that is myth and she is hotter than ever?
I love this story concept and think the query rocks.

Suzan Harden said...

Thanks for the help y'all! This is one I know I've been staring at too long.

hope101 said...

This sounds like a lot of fun, but I have a few nits besides the clarity issues and squick-factor that were already raised:

1. You have three characters with an "S" as a prominent part of their name. Consider renaming one--particularly wrt Samantha and Sierra.

2. It's 90,000-word urban fantasy. You can also omit "novel" as that's redundant.

3. Consider a rewrite of the last sentence of the second paragraph. I find it very dense.

Laura Martone said...

For the most part, I agree with everyone else here... the story sounds like a lot of fun, and your voice shines through the query. I also like the brevity of your query - your MC's conflict is clear - and you've given just enough to entice an agent (which is the point, right?).

As with the other commenters here, I do stumble a bit over the last sentence of the first paragraph. Perhaps it can be rewritten as: "The only drawback to becoming the walking, talking undead - besides Sam's never-ending appetite - is Sierra's desire for them to be BZFs (Best Zombies Forever) in her plot to conquer the world." Or you could just add "that" as Paul suggested.

I also agree with Tricia's comment about the second paragraph. Just one extra sentence or phrase is needed - to justify Duncan's attraction to a zombie. Also, I might be missing something, but is Duncan a vampire or a vampire enforcer? The wording confuses me a little.

I second Hope's tweaking of "90,000-word urban fantasy" - though I don't have as much issue with the frequent "S" names or the last sentence of the second paragraph. But that's just me. :-)


Laura Martone said...

Oh, and Suzan, I actually do have one question.

For many of the queries posted on this site (including my own), the commenters usually encourage writers to focus on one MC in the query. Although I assume that Samantha is, in fact, the MC (at least in the query), the fact that Duncan is the focus of the second paragraph gives me pause.

It doesn't really bother me - but I wonder how agents feel about it. For the purposes of the query, who would you say is your MC?

Regardless, I think it sounds like a cool story - and I wish you lots of luck with it!

hope101 (Jan) said...

Laura, a lot of romance queries follow this sort of he said/she said format, which is why I didn't bat an eyelash at the POV change.

But you raise an excellent point: If this is UF rather than PN romance, it probably would be better to keep this in Samantha's POV. (Which also has the happy advantage of removing the squick factor.)

Laura Martone said...

Squick, Jan? What, ahem, is "a squick factor"? Like zombie ooze, or is that getting too graphic?

But seriously, thanks for the tip about paranormal romance... it makes sense that you would have two obvious MCs for that genre. Oh, the things I learn on this site! :-)

Suzan Harden said...

LOL - Thanks for the additional feedback, folks.

Laura, as hope101 said, there is a very strong romance subplot, which is why I did the she said/he said version. I've got another query version that focuses on the protagonist/antagonist viewpoints and one with the protagonist only, but the concensus among my c.p.'s and beta readers was the query y'all saw more accurately described the ms.

hope101, I used 'urban fantasy novel' because almost all of the next round of agents I plan on querying also represent graphic novels and screenplays.

The 'squick' factor - A fellow RWA chapter member, who's published in humorous erotic romance, already gave me a great quote (assuming this darn thing ever sees print): "No body parts were lost in the making of this book. At least none of the important ones."