Oct 17, 2009

QUERY: HATSHEPSUT: FEMALE PHARAOH

Dear Agent,

The gods taunt those they love most. And they absolutely adore Hatshepsut.

When her father dies, Hatshepsut is forced to marry her hippo of a half-brother to secure his claim to the throne. She becomes the real power behind Egypt’s crown, but as a woman, remains relegated to the shadows of the Horus Throne. Thutmosis’s death can’t come soon enough.

Thutmosis dies three years into his reign and Hatshepsut becomes regent to her two-year-old stepson, launching Egypt into its golden age. Then she does the unthinkable. Amid foreign wars and a palace coup, Hatshepsut proclaims herself Pharaoh of Egypt. Tormented by her love of a commoner and cursed with personal tragedies, Hatshepsut will face a choice: family or eternal glory.

HATSHEPSUT: FEMALE PHARAOH is historical fiction complete at 90,000 words.

With the recent discovery of her mummy, Hatshepsut has been showcased in National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Discovery Channel over the past three years. A history teacher, I have traveled to Egypt twice to better tell Hatshepsut’s story and am currently at work on my second novel set in ancient Egypt.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


Best wishes,

11 comments:

Rick Daley said...

I think this sounds cool. My initial impression was not to re-read the query and critique it, but to wish for a few sample pages. The query is straight-forward and concise, and it has a nice hook at the beginning.

Bane of Anubis said...

I agree w/ Rick -- short, sweet, and to the point. My only small nit might be to replace Thutmosis w/ a generic term (husband, Pharaoah), but that might throw off the flow.

Also, the 'A history teacher' part kind of threw me out of the flow, but it could just be me.

Overall, nice job.

PS - Ancient Egypt rocks :)

L. T. Host said...

Stephanie, I'm gonna have to jump in with Rick and Bane and say, awesome!!

I really love your opening line. I might change, "Thutmosis dies" to Thutmosis does die. Add a colon after "she does the unthinkable" and link those two sentences.

Your sentence with the title did throw me a little, but only because I'm so used to seeing the "is a ____ novel complete at"

I also agree that you could use an "As" at the beginning of your sentence about travelling to Egypt (I am SO jealous you've been there twice, by the way.)

All in all, really tiny, nitpicky things--- GREAT first query!

MattDel said...

Stephanie (since L.T. outed you, I figure what the heck) --

Like Bane, I'd actually cut Thutmosis from the query, and replace mention of him with generic terms. The only reason I suggest this is, if I didn't know Thutmosis is her half-brother, then I wouldn't necessarily equate the final sentence of the second paragraph with the mention of the half-brother in the first sentence.

Also -- nitpick time -- you can say "secure his royal claim" and cut out the first use of the word "throne." Having the two words so close together kind of throws off the rhythm.

I'd keep the paragraph about being a history teacher, by the way. That adds an extra oomph to you writing historical fiction.

Stephanie Thornton said...

You guys rock! Those are all the little nitpicky details I knew were hiding in there, but after spending three months on this baby I couldn't see them.

And I promise I'll post sample pages, but right now the manuscript is curing. I'm not allowed to look at it for five and a half more weeks and I just knew if I included sample pages I wouldn't be able to help myself!

Donna Hole said...

I liked it from sentence one. I am a constant reader of novels involving "The Old Gods" (usually Norse), but have read several different versions of "Job's" story.

This is definitely intriguing. Wish I were an agent/editor so I could read the entire novel. But, my initial response was WOW! Excellent query. I really hope you land an agent soon.

Good luck!!!!!!

........dhole

B.E. Sanderson said...

Interesting query. I think you'll garner some good responses from it. My only stumble was the 'her hippo of a half-brother' line. I think it gives too light a tone to what seems to be a query for a serious novel. Unless it's written in a lighter tone, of course, then that needs to shine through more.

Stephanie Thornton said...

B.E. & Donna- Thanks for the feedback!

The novel has themes from Job, Hamlet, and Oedipus. I really ran Hatshepsut through the ringer! LOL

Iapetus999 said...

This is the first title on this blog that's caught my attention in a while.

You mention gods in the first paragraph, but there's no follow up. I'd like some reference to what that means at the end. Is she in charge of her story or are the gods meddling with her life?

The whole thing with Thutmosis seems unnecessary. What are the things she can control, and what does she do with those choices? I'd rather know more about the choices she faces, and this commoner that is mentioned.

I think overall it sounds like an interesting story, and I'd love to hear more about Ancient Egypt. This should definitely garner interest.

AM said...

Great Query.

My only suggestion is to include the half brother’s name when you first introduce him. I got a little lost when you mentioned him by name later.

(i.e. ... hippo of a half-brother, Thutmosis , to secure his claim to the throne...)

Personally, I like the hippo description and the inclusion of the names because they provide a sense of the Hatshepsut’s attitude and the voice of the novel.

I want to read more.

RCWriterGirl said...

I'll just chime in with all the others and say, nice query. Straightforward and to the point.

Agree you probably ought to name Thutmosis as her half-brother upfront if you're going to continue to use his name.

Otherwise, great job.