Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Prince Charles, you have my sympathy.

So I met Carl Hiaasen last night. Yeah, that Carl Hiaasen. My favorite living author. The undisputed king of that tiniest of sub-genres: comic suspense. Turns out he's not ready to pack it in yet. And here I was, ready to step in with my two comic suspense manuscripts and assume the throne.

The guy's friends with Jimmy Buffett--isn't that enough of an achievement for one lifetime? Does he really need to keep writing these...books? The tireless and exceedingly nice guy has just brought out a third YA (young adult) book ("Scat," which my son and I started last night and is very promising) and is working on another adult one as we speak. Which of course means less shelf space for me.

I had a nice, if brief, conversation with him. I do regret not pushing a business card on him with a link to this blog, or at least cramming my query letter in his jacket pocket. Still, I thanked him for all the years of entertainment and the inspiration.

Back to work.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Query, as it stands.

So I'm getting some traffic with this.

After forty years, Dorsey Duquesne believes he’s finally found his mother. Too bad she keeps trying to kill him. BATTLE AXE, my 100K-word suspense novel, will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen, Janet Evanovich and Bill Fitzhugh.

When his father dies, the last thing Dorsey needs is a mid-life crisis. But when the funeral lures long-buried family skeletons out of the closet, his childhood is reduced to a carefully constructed set piece. His sense of identity dented, Dorsey hires a strip-mall P.I. to track down his birth mother—and finds a feisty German woman who not only blames him for the death of her lover, but whose only interest in a mother/son relationship involves picking out his headstone.

Under the spell of her rehearsed charm, he’s soon guzzling sedative-spiked beer and being pulled from her burning cottage by an oddly paternal village night watchman. Before his new “mom” can pen the final chapter of his revised life story, Dorsey must break her manipulative grip on his heart and realize that a family isn’t defined by birth certificates and blood types. Sometimes it's simply a matter of who's willing to take a harpoon for you.

Given your success with the genre, I thought you would be an ideal agent for BATTLE AXE. I’m an advertising copywriter and a writing professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I earned my journalism degree. I am also a well-adjusted adoptee and have recently met my birth mother. She does not, to my knowledge, own a harpoon.

Just heard back from an agent today that she liked the book, describing it as possessing "a great grittiness, humor and humanity, along with a nice tense plot." She also said she didn't have the right editorial connections to place it.

Going to a Carl Hiaasen book signing tonight. I plan to thank him for the inspiration and demand an apology for creating such a difficult genre to break into.