Thursday, September 30, 2010

1 Query Letter #41

Query Letter #41
Your Name: Shelliep
Title: The Last Stationmaster
Genre: Contemporary/Historical

Punished with a summer stay on a remote family farm, a delinquent fifteen-year-old finds ties to the Underground Railroad that stops a national disaster.

Nate Daniels lands in trouble one too many times for his parents' comfort and ends up in North Carolina with his grandparents for the summer. Soon after he arrives, he discovers a long kept family secret.

Nate learns that his grandparents' estate dates back through the family since the antebellum era. He questions how his African-American forefathers ran the farm during the South's heydays of slavery. Why hidden rooms are built into the house? And why his family won't talk about it.

With laptop and cell phone privileges revoked, Nate's efforts to research the farm's history stalls until he meets Hannah and her brother. The snooping trio uncovers a link between the farm and the Underground Railroad. Good, right? But more research suggests that Nate's very distant and very black grandfather owned slaves. Nate's convinced an explanation for his ancestor's actions lay hidden in a series of ghostly clues.

But not all the mysterious happenings on the farm can be blamed on the ghost. Nate finds a falsely accused terrorist who's using the rambling property to escape a manhunt. Hajji claims to be a government spy with crucial information that a mole at the Pentagon wants to keep him from delivering. Nate isn't convinced until Hajji saves his life. Now, to get the Intelligence to safety and stop an ambush of U.S. military troops, Nate must use everything he's learned about the farm, the UGRR, and follow in the footsteps of his forefather as he becomes THE LAST STATIONMASTER.

Greetings Sarah! I love writing stories with a bit of history. My writing won Honorable Mention in the RPLA and was a quarterfinalist in ABNA's 2010 competition.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work, Shellie! This is definitely shaping up from your original. There is a bit of a repeat on the 1st and 2nd paragraphs though; you might consider combining them. Also, it'd be nice to have Nate's name in the first sentence, to intro him sooner. You wouldn't need the word "delinquent" because the other sentence says it well: he "lands in trouble one too many times." Like, in the first sentence you could just say "...fifteen-year-old Nate Daniels finds ties..." rather than a delinquent 15-yr-old.

    On the line "Why hidden rooms are built into the house?" I think you meant to put the "are" after the Why, for a question. The next sentence might do well to be a question, too. ("And why won't his family talk about them?")--say THEM if you mean the rooms, since it follows the previous sentence about the hidden rooms. Or if it's not the rooms, you might have to say what it is they won't talk about, rather than an "it" or "them" pronoun.

    I really like your last paragraph of the book summary--more details than you'd had before, with Hajii's name. Also the details of Hannah and her brother. Nicely done/added. I'm missing the word count though, and the fact that this is (most likely) a young adult/YA novel. That is frankly more important than a (belated) greeting or the fact that you love writing stories with history. Good luck!


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