Monday, October 19, 2009

GRACE NOTES Moves Forward

I am excited to report that I have reached a milestone of sorts with my first novel which I am entitling GRACE NOTES. After twelve drafts, I think it is decent enough to push it under the doors of some of my friends for critique. Meanwhile, I will work on my query letter to entice agents near and far to fight over representing it. This is what I have plan to send to them:

Dear Ms. Smith,

In reading your blog I see that you represent authors of works similar to my literary novel, Grace Notes. In it Billy Mann, despite a moonstruck mother and alcoholic father, is an attentive big brother, popular athlete and talented musician. He is also the heartthrob of his pretty next-door neighbor, Evvie.

When driving home in a snowstorm Billy’s car strikes and kills her little sister. His life goes into a skid that doesn’t stop until he’s lost everything--his promising band, his nurturing mother, his friends and Evvie, who’d become his bride.

Billy replaces them with drugs, crime and an eight-year prison term. Evvie’s decision to leave breaks her heart as much as his; but she is pregnant and fears that life with him mirrors the same abusive path that destroyed her childhood.

After thirty years, Billy discovers his daughter, a classical violinist, who teaches him what his mother could never convey. It isn’t drugs or a stage that will give him the strength to win back everyone he’d catapulted from his life--it is the huge heart he’s always had.

Grace Notes is set in Detroit where a dying auto heritage is shadowed by endless turbulence but also great music. It tells of heart-wrenching trials like those endured by Jodi Piccoult’s childhood sweethearts in The Pact. My theme of music as healing force takes its inspiration from Andre Dubus III’s Bluesman. And themes of undying love and forgiveness echo Kristin Hannah’s True Colors.

I have been an independent bookstore owner, reported for my university newspaper and edited a Detroit weekly. I have been published in Women’s Day and other national magazines.

At 106,000 words, Grace Notes is complete. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jacqueline Carney


jenny milchman said...

I think it's a great query--I'm definitely intrigued. A couple of things caught me up, however--

I think you need to write EDIE'S little sister...I wasn't sure whom the "her" referred to for a moment

The time line once Billy goes to jail felt a little confused to me. Were they married before the pregnancy, etc.? I just felt you packed a lot into a few sentences--which queries require, of course, but maybe a bit clearer would help? This could just be me, of course.

Best of luck with the reads!

Jacqueline Carney said...

Thanks so much for your comments Jenny. I received some good insights on Backspace--Think you're a member, right? Love how the writing community reaches out to help others!

jenny milchman said...

Yup, I'm there, Jacqui--that place inspires me to reach for all sorts of heights! I'll be eager to hear how your querying process goes--I'm rooting for you!