Querying is hard, I know. It feels like you're knocking on a door that never opens. There's no one home, or maybe they can't hear you, or maybe you're being ignored. Our minds make up so many scenarios as to why we are not seen by those who matter: literary agents.
During Pitch Wars last year, when I was a mentee, I took a rolling pin to my query and I beat the crap out of it. I flattened it and took my revisions with my mentors' guidance and I shaped something new. Here is the query I sent to my, now, literary agent - Lauren MacLeod at The Strothman Agency.
Dear Ms. MacLeod,
Being forced to intern at an HIV and addictions clinic is seventeen-year old Orwell Walker’s worst nightmare. The work increases his anxiety over being gay, which is already exacerbated by a rare form of OCD that brings with it intrusive thoughts of a violent and sexual nature, that reinforce his fear that he’s too hopelessly broken for anyone to love.
Lonely, but spurred on by a strong support system which includes his parents, counselors, and friends, Orwell pushes himself to the breaking point by taking a chance on internet dating. But it is 18-year-old Dexter, an HIV+ art therapy participant at the clinic, whose gentle view of the world begins to teach Orwell about love and self-acceptance.
As the two grow closer, Orwell is convinced he can – and must - save Dexter. But there’s a shadowy figure, a manifestation of Orwell’s insecurities and crumbling mental state, that won’t leave him alone and a boy from his past who knows too many of Orwell’s secrets. Unsure of where his reality stops and his fears begin, Orwell must learn to face what he dreads most or risk losing both himself and Dexter, forever.
The Heart that Followed Me Home, is an #OwnVoices YA contemporary, complete at 66,766 words, and was chosen for Pitch Wars 2017. Through a lens of friendship and sensitivity reminiscent of ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE, Heart combines the unflinching psychological realities of CHARM and STRANGE with a narrator as unknowingly unreliable as Cadence Sinclair in WE WERE LIARS.
I hold a degree with honors in Television Production from the University of Salford in Manchester, England and, in 2014 I was one of fifteen writers chosen to study on Curtis Brown Creative’s inaugural creative writing course in London. I later moved to Vancouver, British Columbia to obtain a certificate in Art Therapy for children and adolescents who have experienced trauma. It was that work, as well as my own experiences, which inspired this story.
I hope you enjoy reading this manuscript as much as I did writing it.