Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Writer's Voice 2015: Query + First 250 Words

A HALF-RISEN SUN
by Taylor Rouanzion

Sixteen-year-old Kittilyn Kite never expected the girl on her front doorstep to be an interplanetary fugitive. As the heiress of a large—but crumbling—estate on the planet of Salome, Kittilyn was happy to oblige when a friend of a friend needed a place to stay. But once that friend arrives, Kittilyn discovers that she may have just invited someone very dangerous into her home. Kittilyn is torn between turning the girl in or hiding her from the government that has so often wronged Kittilyn's own family. What Kittilyn doesn't know is that this stranger may hold answers to questions about her family's past and the key to finally saving her estate from financial ruin.

A cross between Downton Abbey and Firefly, A HALF-RISEN SUN is a 71,000-word young adult science fiction novel. It will appeal to readers who enjoyed These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and Linked by Imogen Howson.

I have a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University, and I have worked for five years as a technical writer and editor. A HALF-RISEN SUN is my first novel.


Chapter One

I had sixteen empty rooms but nowhere to put the rain-soaked girl who stood at my front door.

Over the past year, I had been forced to gradually sell off most of the furnishings and décor within Cherishbough Hall, leaving only a few pieces that included a small wrought-iron bed for myself, one piece of a sheersilk sofa set in the parlor, and a rickety wooden table in the kitchen that I had dragged up from the basement after getting only a pittance from Mr. Burdge, who lived down the road, for my great-great-grandmother's grand mahogany dining set.

But despite my predicament, my genteel breeding did not fail me.

“Hello. You must be Lennox,” I said cheerily to the girl, whose sun-browned face had yet to change to any expression other than a scowl. Her hair—a yellow that I guessed was bright and sunny when it was dry but was a dour mustard color wet—clung to her face. There was a black stripe about two fingers thick on the right side of her hair that ran from root to tip, like an outer reflection of her inner dark streak.

So far all I was seeing was the dark streak and no sunny brightness. I was already regretting having agreed to house this sullen off-planet person.

“I'm Kittilyn Kite. Please, come in out of that downpour and we'll get you dry in no time.”

Lennox's shin-high boots squeaked gratingly as she entered the foyer, her hair and clothes dripping puddles of rainwater onto the priceless, centuries-old marboleum floor.

24 comments:

  1. I love your first 250! Would love to see how Downton Abbey plays out in a sci-fi, too.

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  2. The first 250 have me wanting so much more! Great start! Good Luck!

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  3. You had me at Firefly. I LOVE this! Good luck!

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  4. Good luck in the competition! (Are you on Twitter, btw?)

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I am on Twitter: @TaylorRouanzion

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  5. The pitch DOWNTOWN ABBEY meets FIREFLY is so great!

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  6. Well done query letter! Good Luck!

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  7. I love the Downton Abbey/Firefly mash-up. Sounds like a fun book. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks, Laura! Good luck to you, too!

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  8. Nice tight query. Good luck with your work :)

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    1. Thank you so much! Good luck to you, too!

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  9. I love the idea of a huge place with no furniture. It gets my mind running. LOL. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you! It gets my mind running too, obviously :)

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  10. Loved the first 250! Good luck!

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  11. Good luck in the competitions. Please retweet all the good pitches you see during #PitMad.

    When an interplanetary-fugitive asks for help, 16yo Kittilyn has a choice: hide her or turn her in and never know her secrets #PitMad #YA

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    1. Ooh, this is a good pitch! Thank you so much for doing it for me!

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  12. Hey, Taylor! Oh, I LOVED your entry. That “Downtown Abbey meets Firefly” comp? It’s genius! And I really like the premise—re: the human harboring an interplanetary fugitive. I thought your page was strong, and I loved all the details you put in there, making us visualize what was happening well. :)

    Also, Stephanie Garber, my amazing guest coach, loved your entry. It was such an easy “yes” for both of us. And by the way, Stephanie loves Sci-fi, and reads and writes it, too. If you go with us, we would have some comments for you, but nothing major. We already think this is a strong entry!
    Pretty please, pick US! We would love to have you and Kittilyn on #TeamFTW!

    Feel free to poke around my blog, read success stories, and there are a lot of testimonials about the kind of edits I do here: http://monibw.blogspot.com/p/editorial-services.html

    Let me know if you have any question. :)
    We really want you on our team! Pick us!!

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  13. Taylor! It sounds as if you have an awesome book! When Monica sent me a list of her favorite entries I was SO excited to see this one there! I adore sic-fi, especially books set in space, and I feel as if this story sounds so original and SO FUN! I have not read LINKED, but I loved THESE BROKEN STARS, and Firefly, and Downton Abby!

    I already think that what you have is strong, but I would absolutely love to work with you on this to make it even stronger! Please pick us! I promise you will have so much fun on our time!

    And if you have any questions for either me or Monica, please let us know!

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