Thursday, September 30, 2010

3 Query Letter #46

Query Letter #46
Traci Van Wagoner
Title: Searching
Genre: MG Historical Fantasy

Dear Ms. LaPolla,

Found in an old Indian granary, a magic stick drags twelve-year-old Chris into an ancient quest to save a Thunderbird spirit trapped within the coal mine; but the mine owner has other, greedier, ideas for the buried Thunderbird.

Crystal, called Chris, had no idea she’d be plopped into the middle of a living ghost town when Dad moved the family out west. Some fresh start—midnight ghostly figures pointing at her, mysterious drums, magical sticks and hidden secrets. She wants to go home. But home is gone, buried along with Mom.

When she finds a carved stick in an old Indian granary, she’s pulled into ancient quest from the first age of man when Thunderbirds flew the skies. The last of the Thunderbirds was buried beneath the mountain, and now the quest falls to her to free his spirit. Problem is, she’s not the only one searching for the burial chamber. So is Mr. Blackley, the boss, and he’s not about to let anyone stand in his way of making the biggest find of the century which will make him rich and powerful. Locked in a root cellar, Chris must find a way out to save the Thunderbird spirit and send him home. Everyone should get to go home when they want to.

SEARCHING is a 45,000 word MG historical fantasy set in 1932 in Rains, Utah. Spring canyon was once filled with many coal mines which are now all ghost towns. My dad lived in a couple of these coal camps when he was a kid.

I am a member of SCBWI. My short story, SASSY SLIME SLIDER was purchased by Highlights. I am the illustrator of the picture book DADDY DID I EVER SAY? By 10 to 2 Children’s Books, 2007.

Thank you for your consideration.


  1. This has a nice voice to it, and is definitely shaping up into a good query! Good job. The first sentence does seem a little lengthy to me. You might just leave off the mine owner bit, especially since you introduce that conflict later on in the query (and calling him the mine owner does read better than "boss").

    Nice, strong sentence as your last one in the 2nd paragraph. The first sentence of the third paragraph is a bit too close of a repeat of the opening sentence, to me; you're repeating the same info using the same words (pulled into an "ancient quest"). This line didn't hit me right, and struck me as unnecessary: "Everyone should get to go home when they want to." I'd omit that line, or, at the very least, correct the grammar--Everyone is singular and "they" is plural.

    Nice bio, impressive! Good luck with this.

  2. As a belated additional comment, I notice you've entitled this work, SEARCHING. This seems rather vague and even a bit bland. Can you make the title catchy on its own? Often a good title in itself can make a person want to read a book! Maybe incorporate Thunderbird as part of the title, for instance?

  3. Thanks so much for your comments Carol. You pointed out great ways for me to tighten this. I have to laugh about your suggestion for a better title. I am SO bad at titles. I have gone around and around with ideas and haven't hit on anything I like, so I've stuck with the bland. Guess it warrants another round of thinking.


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