Aug 24, 2010


Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my contemporary YA novel 468 MILES TO NASHVILLE, complete at 65,000 words.

Kay Nelson is a pizza busgirl who knows she's meant for more than small-town Illinois. So when she runs into Naomi Pierce, a country singer who needs her help, she takes it as her chance to get away for good. Together, Kay and Naomi embark on a 468-mile road trip to escape Naomi's vicious, leather-jacketed kidnappers, and land safely at the country star's Nashville mansion. But to Kay, the distance between here and there feels a million times longer when the world thinks she's the one who kidnapped Naomi.

Naomi is a magnet for attention, which is exactly what Kay doesn't want. From twelve-year-olds looking for an autograph, to guys stalking them on the side of the road, no one can be trusted not to tell the police—or People Magazine—where they are. Kay takes responsibility upon herself to keep the country star from getting in trouble, but it's only a matter of time before Naomi does something really stupid. Like holding an impromptu concert on the sidewalk, sneaking into bars, getting drunk on camera, and inviting her famous ex to join the caravan southward.

Naomi seems bent on entering Nashville with a bang, and the night of the Music City Industry Awards, her wish comes true in a way Kay's been dreading all along. But when circumstances switch around and Kay's the one in trouble, will Kay and Naomi's new friendship survive? Will Kay ever make it home?

I look forward to hearing from you!

Gracie Bea Winterton


Janae said...

I think that this query is great. It's clear, it outlines the plot well, and makes me want to read it. I have no complaints.

Zee Lemke said...

It's exciting! Whee...

My only issue here is that I didn't connect the country singer needing help with being KIDNAPPED. I think "needs help" and I think "alternator stopped working outside of Tomah," not "vicious people in leather." There's other places where there's a kind of balance trouble--things that are of immediate relevance and deserve all-caps when texting showing up after boring everyday statements of feelings. (The first two sentences of P3 do that too.)

You almost lost me there. But then you pulled me back in with all the details of that third paragraph that gave me an idea of what the book would actually be like to read. It doesn't sound like high art, but it does sound like a great time, and that's the kind of book I read (and sell a lot of. I work in a bookstore).

Slick is the word for this query. Very slick. I wouldn't trust you if you were trying to sell me a car, but it's solid salesmanship, here.

Dominique said...

It's a good query. I feel like I've got a sense of your MC and her basic conflict, the plot of your story, and your voice.

The only hinky part here is the kidnapping thing. Personally, if I were being chased by leather-clad kidnappers, I'd be asking the police for help, not a busgirl. Maybe you could make it clearer why a country star wants our MC to keep her safe.

Mesmerix said...

First off, this is one of the best queries I've seen posted here. It's solid. You don't have much to fix.

My 2 big criticisms are:

1) I had assumed Kay was 16-ish, being that you called this YA. Where the heck are her parents and why aren't the police searching for a runaway? Is Kay 18? If so, maybe you should make it clear that Kay has recently joined the ranks of adulthood, but has no idea how to be an adult... or something.

2) Same thing others have said with the kidnapping. I hear "needs help from busgirl" and I don't think "running for my life." Why not go to the police? What can a busgirl possibly help me with? And if I'm a rich/famous country star, why don't I hire a bodyguard to take care of the biker-skum? Surely my manager would get me a police escort...

I think if you add some clarity to paragraph 1 and cover these things, you'll be awesome. You've got the rest of this down. I would totally read this book. It sounds like a really fun adventure!

randine said...

No critique.
I just want to say that I really like this- it sound like something I would read.
Good job.

Terri Nixon said...

Yep, exciting and interesting stuff, and the query races along with just the right amount of momentum.

Small niggle: not sure it's necessary to add "leather-jacketed" in there -- being an ex-biker myself I felt my hackles going up a bit, as it just sounds as if you've added that to make them seem more vicious. Leather is not vicious, honest, it's a necessity to avoid road rash!

Apart from that, ace stuff, good luck with it!