The Writer's Voice Query and First 250 Words

11:47 PM

Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 65K words


Audra is only alive because Emily isn't. After the heart transplant, Audra vowed to make good use of her gift. Go to college. Declare a major. Give dating a try. (You know, live.) When Emily’s unfinished bucket list winds up in her hands, she sees it as a perfect way to repay her debt and adopts it as her own.

Completing the list leads to piano lessons from Emily’s brother, Jake, the unobtrusive, art major with a fondness for the color black. Despite the walls he tries to hide behind, he’s easy to like and all too easy to fall for. As their lessons continue, he offers to help with the rest of the list—even the weird ones like pie-smashing and rainbow-chasing. Then Jake admits why he won’t talk about his sister. He doesn't believe the bullshit story about how she died.

Unraveling the mystery behind Emily’s death means collecting secrets and pushing Jake’s trust, but she’s willing to—if it brings him the peace and closure he so desperately needs. But Audra may have overestimated her detective skills, and underestimated her knowledge of Jake and his haunted past. One wrong move could shatter his trust and end up breaking both their hearts.

First 250:

Everyone liked to call me a miracle. I guess they didn’t understand the concept. If I made it to my destination without suffering a major breakdown first, that would be a miracle.
Pete’s Coffee Shop was ten blocks from campus. I opted for walking, hoping it would clear my head. Big mistake. Halfway there and my lungs burned like I’d inhaled fire, every breath a conscious task. Damn, I needed to exercise more. By the time I reached the coffee shop, I’d be covered in sweat, huffing and puffing, ready to pass out on the floor for a nap.
            That wasn’t the kind of impression I wanted to give Jake.
I frantically ran through the words I would say when we met, like an actor before opening night. Needing a distraction from my racing thoughts, I tried singing in my head, reciting poetry—even sung through the alphabet.
A light breeze tickled my skin, blew the scent of freshly-cut grass past my nose, which reminded me of summer camp, watermelons, and watching my dad ride the lawn mower. The I love the sunshine, the birds, and the smells phase evaporated the moment I saw the baby-blue and yellow sign for Pete’s Coffee Shop. My quick pace became a measured shuffle, the soles of my shoes clinging to the pavement.
            Holy fucking shit. I couldn’t do this.
Calm down. Jake’s a person, the same as any other person, the same way you’re a person.
            But he wasn’t just a person—he was my heart donor’s brother.

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  1. Okay, I might need to read this like ASAP! Good Luck!

  2. Hi Lindsey,

    You gave me shivers with the query letter. Now opening. Good luck in the contest.

  3. I loved your query and your first 250! Very well done! Good luck.

  4. Ooh, this premise totally hooked me!

  5. loved your query and really enjoyed the last line of your 250. Good luck! :)

  6. Love this premise. Strong voice!!

  7. Such an interesting premise, and your voice just hooked me. I would buy this.

  8. I'm not in the contest, but love this entry! Best of luck!

  9. I love there is some mystery mixed in, and the opening is great! Good luck!

  10. Oh wow, I love your query, premise, and first 250! I'm hooked!! :) Best of luck to you!!

  11. Great opening! Good luck in the contest!

  12. Terrific premise, and a powerful beginning. Wonderful. Good luck!

  13. Hey, Lindsey!

    Aww, this is such a tender love story. This is just up my alley. It's he kind of story where the romance hooks you, and there’s also some deep conflict underneath (re: Jake had to lose Emily to have Audra). I can see how this whole story would make me sigh and cry and swoon. And then! It gets even better! There’s a mystery about Emily’s death. That’s when I thought this premise is really interesting. Congrats!

    Stephanie Garber, my lovely guest coach, really LOVED this entry, too. And we both think it’s really strong. There aren’t many agents who represent NA in this contest, but we want to grab them all with your entry, so we’ll be willing to work hard for that to make this stronger than it already is. So pretty please, come join our team!

    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:

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

  14. Hey Lindsey! Monica wasn't lying when she wrote that I really LOVED this entry, too! I think this sounds like a really intriguing romance. Your query grabbed me right away, and I just wanted to keep reading after your first 250 words!

    I love that this entry has both romance and mystery--I think that is such a strong combination, and I would be thrilled to have you on our team!


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