Gail Shepherd (gailshepherd on QT) has signed with agent Kristin Miller-Vincent of D4EO Literary Agency.
Dear Ms. Miller,
I'm querying because I know you're looking for middle-grade fiction; I'm hoping THE PARADOX CURE will pique your interest. PARADOX is a fast-paced, planet-hopping adventure set in the near future, starring a sharp-tongued twelve-year-old bioengineering genius. The novel ought to appeal to kids who love recent middle-grade releases like Wildwood and Down the Mysterly River. And to series-addicts hooked on Artemis Fowl and Philip Pullman's novels.
Amanda Shine has a trash-talking bat, an ape with personal-space issues, and a snow leopard on wheels--and she needs every wing and claw of their help. Her mother has gone missing during a crucial experiment. Earth’s animals are dying in droves—thanks to widespread amateur genetic engineering. Amanda suspects both her mom and the potential cure for extinction are nine billion miles across the solar system on a planet called Paradox. But to make the trans-universal hike, she’ll have to suck up to smarmy real estate mogul H.C. Chafey. And Chafey has plans of his own for Amanda’s stratospheric I.Q.
Earth’s dwindling species have taken refuge on Paradox thanks to a mysterious project code-named ARC. A radical terrorist group led by a demented Tasmanian devil is bent on revenge against humans. And Chafey wants to clear Paradox of animal life to make room for human housing—he just can't do it without Amanda's knowledge of genetics. The extinction clock is ticking: Amanda needs to foil the terrorists and find a way to disrupt Chafey’s plans. But when it comes to groping through the static between good and evil, off-the-charts intelligence may not be enough.
Amanda aches to keep her family safe in a universe where all bets on human superiority—and survival—are off. She struggles to make sense of vexing moral dilemmas, where family and duty, love and science, what’s right and what’s necessary, are turned pole against pole like magnets in a matchbox. Can she fight her way free of a paradox?
The novel is complete at 67,000 words. I've finished the first draft of a second middle-grade novel, multicultural/magic realism set just after the Vietnam War. I have an M.A. in creative writing (U of Florida); I’ve published short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction in magazines and anthologies (Poetry, Yale Review, Iowa Review, Best American Food Writing, and others); and I am a member of SCBWI. PARADOX is my first novel. Many thanks for your consideration; I've enclosed the opening ten pages below, per your guidelines.