Author Topic: Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace  (Read 490 times)

Offline Minerva

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Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace
« on: January 16, 2019, 06:13:01 PM »
Hi Everyone! I have a query I'd like to get feedback on...


Dear Susan,

I am seeking representation for my book, Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace, literary fiction set in the early 1950s, complete at 70,000 words. It is the story of Mrs. Minerva Place, who strives to remain insulated from real people by populating her life with “friends” buried in the local cemetery. Minerva is a more vulnerable Olive Kitteridge, but with the same hint of edgy humor and prickly personality.

Known by most simply as an excellent (if somewhat odd) piano teacher and the Baptist church’s brusque organist, Minerva’s true passion revolves around her research and writing about characters from her small town’s history. Her ordered, quiet world is disrupted when a single father and his young son move to town and, through piano lessons, neighborhood encounters, and church gatherings, make it impossible for Minerva to ignore them. And, oh, would she love to ignore them. For one thing, they’re males—messy, befuddling, irksome males—the gender her life has proven she should never trust.

The situation careens from annoying to tragic when Minerva gets word that her beloved library is on fire. In her haste to see this for herself, she runs over the young boy with her car. Now, with the help of the living and the dead, Minerva questions her sanity, faces issues she’s been denying, and finally frees herself with forgiveness.

I have been a writer and editor for 30 years, primarily for newspapers and magazines. I was the recipient of the Kentucky Press Association’s Best Feature Writer and Best Column awards. My middle-grade biography, TKTKTK, was published as part of the Kentucky Hero series by Motes Books. I also received a national award for dramatizations I wrote for the City of P-town.

When I researched the historic figures for the P-town dramatizations, I found story after story begging to be told. Many of these people, who lived in my city’s past, are the basis of the characters Minerva befriends. Though they are fictionalized, they are rooted in facts.

I’ve included the first chapter, per the instructions on your website, below. Of course, I will happily send along the entire manuscript at your request. Thank you for taking the time to consider my submission. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
me

Offline newtothis22

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Re: Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2019, 06:23:05 PM »
I have a couple of comments. One, I would take out the last sentence in the first paragraph. Two, I completely lost interest in anything else you had to say after you said she ran the boy over. That is a parents worst nightmare and not something I would want to read about in a book. I guess it is sort of like how some agents won't even consider books with rape in it. That one is a big no go for me.

Offline Minerva

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Re: Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2019, 09:03:40 AM »
Thank you so much for your comments! I originally had her in"an accident involving the boy" (by the way, the boy doesn't die). Also, the book has a lot of humor, but I don't think that comes across in this query, do you?

Offline vivaviolet

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Re: Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2019, 12:26:19 PM »
I quite like the idea of a brusque organist.

What's the emotional journey here? I assume from the "Mrs." that "Mr." was one of the irksome males. Does Minerva have a solid reason for her distrust/a real issue to overcome? Are we going to feel sorry for her? Despise her? I think if you could hint at some of the answers to those questions, your query would be stronger.

Offline newtothis22

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Re: Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2019, 06:02:20 PM »
phew, what a relief. Maybe you should clarify that he is only injured. That would make a huge difference.