Aug 13, 2009

Query: Silver Spangles

Dear Agent,

In one world, a girl covets independence from her family. In another, a young man struggles to honor noblesse oblige while pretending to live a carefree teenaged life. Love—and an elite private school—smashes these two worlds together.

Eva, an American high school senior stuck in a new British school, chafes against her mother's constant surveillance and her classmates' unnaturally good behavior. Their blond good looks and bizarre obedience to authority, not to mention her paid stalker, lead her to suspect that the school is harboring a white supremacist group. Eva falls for the school's moody golden boy, Marcus, who reveals the truth: the students are Vikings who can travel in time until their nineteenth birthdays.

Marcus's royal angst means he doesn't tell Eva he rules as a minor king in the past. Planning on a short, romantic idyll, Marcus and Eva visit the eleventh century. The outing becomes dangerous when Marcus is attacked and drugged by a jealous Viking girl, Eva lands in prison and escapes by marrying a former classmate, and the Queen of Denmark attacks the Viking settlement. The couple barely escape to the present after Eva's mother, secretly a time-traveler herself, tips the battle in their favor and Marcus temporarily relinquishes his crown.

The completed young adult manuscript is approximately 93,000 words long.

Thanks for looking over this query. I've included the first five pages. Would you be interested in reading the full manuscript?


Query: Killing Time on the Highway (final)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read a revision.

I just wanted to say thank you for your valuable comments. I sent queries to five literary agents on Aug. 4 and have had two requests for sample chapters so far! This is what I sent:

I came across your site and was immediately intrigued with your background as an editor. With your experience on both sides of the publishing industry, I feel my novel, Killing Time on the Highway, would be in good hands.

Minnesota State Patrol investigator Cade Dawkins takes on the case of a lifetime when a bloody highway shootout leaves behind eight dead bodies—and $300 million in cash. After his last assignment, a disaster that left his partners dead and his career on life support, Cade jumps at the opportunity for redemption, recognizing this will either be his biggest case—or his final case.

As Cade gets close to uncovering the money’s owner, there’s a problem: the owner wants his money back and is willing to do whatever it takes. To slow down Cade’s investigation, a catastrophic attack using automatic weapons and a stolen Hummer is launched on the Twin Cities’ busiest highway by four of the cruelest men to ever crawl out into daylight. With Cade and the entire city reeling, audacious thief Martin Clements is planning to break into Patrol headquarters to steal the money back.

Killing Time on the Highway, my 76,000 word thriller, will appeal to fans of the Prey series by John Sandford. His novels have taught me that strong characters, tight plotting and page turning action are important ingredients to a successful thriller.

Having written professionally for the last ten years in advertising and marketing, I’ve learned the value of powerful ideas and concise execution.

Thank you for your consideration,
Allan Evans


Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the second revision.

Thank you to everyone who has been posting comments. Your responses have been specific, which has been quite helpful. I’ve really struggled to balance the serious elements (a parent’s passing) with the fun side (goofy camp games and quirky songs) of the story when writing this query. I don’t want the whole novel to come across as a total downer. I’m eager to hear your response to this (final?) draft.

Dear Agent,

The other sunny idiots at YMCA Camp Powell can hold hands and Kum Ba Yah all they want. Kyle Matusik lashed back at his evil Junior Counselor and a tyrant camper. Unleashing his rage was the only way Kyle knew how to deal with the lasting torment of his father’s death. It stunk that he might get booted out, though. He was so close to talking with that gorgeous girl in his field sports class. She seemed lonely too, just like him.

A SCORPION’S NATURE follows an anguished thirteen year old who copes with death by walling himself off from the living. My 55,000 word middle grade novel, set in a quirky summer camp, grew out of twenty years as a YMCA camper, counselor, and director.

The complete manuscript is available upon your request. Thank you for considering my work.