Apr 15, 2010

Query- Four Thousand Miles (revised)

Click here to read the original query.  

Hopefully, this is the last version...

When Natalie Spencer loses her job, she returns home unexpectedly to find her husband in bed with his business partner… Jeremy. In shock, Natalie boards the first flight to the English-speaking destination on the United Airlines flight board – London, England. Armed with only her purse, Natalie is nearly mugged in a Tube station. Her attackers are scared off by an introverted songwriter Gavin Ashby. Recognizing Natalie’s fragile state, Gavin offers help and eventually invites her to recuperate from her trauma at his home in Pluckley, Kent.

Unaccustomed to the role of “damsel in distress,” Natalie gets her strength back by helping others. She encourages Gavin to reinvigorate his music career, provides mentorship to girls at the farm, and very reluctantly supports her husband via email while he deals with his new, publicly gay life. Gavin’s family and friends begin to accept Natalie into their lives, particularly his niece. Natalie finds healing in the Kent countryside, but continues to look at her time in England as a break from her “real life,” not a permanent option. When Gavin’s best friend, Avery, asks Natalie on a date, Gavin realizes his feelings for Natalie go beyond friendship and makes his move. Just when the pair seems to be heading in the right direction, a car accident involving the niece and a verbal attack on Natalie by Gavin’s sister bring the budding relationship to a halt. Natalie must choose whether to abandon her old life for Gavin or to flee once again.

Complete at 95,000 words, Four Thousand Miles is women's fiction. My short story “Death of a Woman” was published in the Detroit literary magazine, The Furnace. Attached you will find the first three chapters of my novel. Thank you for your time.

5 comments:

Dominique said...

I'd break the last body paragraph starting with "unaccustomed to" into two paragraphs, because it's long and covers two ideas.

Also, you might want to explain a bit more about the screaming match with Gavin's sister. What could she possibly be saying to drive a serious wedge between the happy couple?

Jordan said...

I like that you cut to the chase in this version. There are a couple mechanical glitches here: it should be "an English-speaking destination," and the "an" in front of "introverted" should go (unless you set off his name with a comma).

I don't think there's a problem with beginning with "When." Lots of successful queries begin that way. I think without the English-speaking qualifier, London would be a highly arbitrary choice. I don't think we need more specificity on the Tube encounter than we see here, but "Her attackers are scared off by Gavin" is passive. If this were where you were ending your query, yes, we'd need more specificity about this encounter, but it's essentially setting up the further conflict, and isn't nearly central enough to merit any more attention than you've given it.

The second paragraph, though, struggles a bit more, I think. I like that it's more specific than previous iterations, but it doesn't seem focused on conflict. I do think this should focus on the core conflict of the story, rather than trying to summarize everything that happens in the middle of the book.

I'm guessing the core conflict here is whether Natalie can overcome her heartbreak to redefine herself and accept another chance at love, not whether she can get over Gavin's sister's outburst.

I think the last paragraph is good as is. The stat sentence for your book should follow the pitch, and then your publishing credits.

Princess L said...

First of all, I would SO love to read this book! The query has a few slight gliches that could be easily reworded. Here are some possible suggestions you can consider:

"In shock, Natalie books the first open flight listed on the United Airline's board. Carrying only her purse, Natalie head for London, where she is subsequently mugged in a Tube station. Her attackers are scared off when an introverted songwriter named Gavin Ashby comes to her aid."

and

"Unaccustomed to the role of damsel in distress, Natalie finds healing in the Kent countryside by helping others. She encourages Gavin to pursue his music career, mentors girls at the farm, and even reluctantly supports her husband via email as he deals with his new, publicly gay life."

"Gavin’s family and friends begin to accept Natalie into their hearts, particularly his niece. When Gavin’s best friend, Avery, asks Natalie on a date, Gavin realizes his feelings for Natalie go beyond friendship and makes his move. Just when the pair seems to be heading in the right direction, a car accident involving the niece threatens their budding relationship. Will Natalie abandon her old life and fight for her relationship with Gavin or flee once again?"

Best of luck to you!

annerallen said...

I want to read this book. My kind of fun read. We need more of them. It's the adventure so many women want to take but are scared to. Good luck with it.

I like Princess L's suggestions. They'll give it just a bit more polish.

Chicagowriter said...

The suspense is killing me! Did you submit this version and have you received any results? Please don't leave us in the dark!