Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bouncer Post #72

Title: MAD AS A HATTER
Genre: YA thriller
Word Count: 50,000 

Query:

London, 1882. 

Seven years ago, Emil Aleric and his sister were kidnapped and taken to ‘Wonderland’ by a man claiming to come from the future. He called himself the Hatter. Emil survived the torture. His sister didn't.

When Emil hears of a serial killer ravaging London and leaving notes quoting Alice in Wonderland, Emil knows his former abductor has returned. And when his guardian, Inspector Corwin James, is put in charge of the case, he thinks it must be fate.



At first, Corwin's adamant that Emil have nothing to do with the case; after all, he’s only fourteen. However, as the two come closer to learning the truth of the murders, they find the most pivotal clues lie in Emil’s memories—suppressed for seven years, but now threatening to consume him. Emil must fight once again- but now, if Emil fails, and what the Hatter says is true, time itself will end.

First 250:

They say that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

Corwin James wasn’t totally unfamiliar with this expression. It seemed pathetically obvious, though, especially to a man of his profession. It was almost insulting to bring his hours of work down to a single sentence.

Corwin James was an intelligent man, and a reasonable one at that. He was a little taller than average, a little younger than he appeared, a little more cynical than he let on. At eighteen, he’d taken over his late father’s job at Scotland Yard and now, three years later, was content as an upper-middle class citizen. It was December of 1882, and Corwin was sitting in his study, looking at the snow outside without really seeing it and inhaling the scent of fillet mignon without really smelling it.

Corwin was not the kind of man to slouch and prop his feet up on the table. To any onlooker, his current position, with his legs crossed and two fingers massaging his temple, would look poised and professional. For Corwin, it was the height of bad posture.

The cause of his lapse in etiquette was simply stress. Corwin was not a superstitious man, but reports of young women disappearing for days on end and reappearing as the victims of violent murders were convincing the restless public that the devil was at work.

22 comments:

  1. Love this! I've seen a few Alice in Wonderland take-offs and this is by far my favorite.

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    1. Thank you! That's very encouraging!

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  2. I agree- I love this. It's one of the best uses of Alice in Wonderland I've seen, and it seems like they're popping up a lot lately. (Or else I just tend to gravitate to them since I love Alice.) I really hope this makes it- I'd love to read it. Good luck!

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  3. I thought the query was really attention grabbing. It sounds like a story that would be both a page turner and an intellegent rethinking or take off on Alice in Wonderland. The 1882 setting is so ripe with possibilities that the reader's imagination already helps the writer by filling in the detail. As for the first 250, I was a little jarred by the age of Corwin - I'm not sure how plausible it is that he would take over his father's job at Scotland Yard at eighteen. Perhaps you need to make it more of a unofficial capacity - as in he hangs around and is a junior but takes it upon himself to be an investigator by night? Just a thought. ALso, your query is so good that I am wondering if tht first 250 migh tbe better served if it began in some foggy, dark Victorian alleyway a la Jack the Ripper rather than a rather languid description of Corwin. But, whatever choices you make going forward, I would definitely be a reader of this work. The intelligence of the writer shines through in the sample so I think it would be an interesting journey.

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    1. Thank you for your comments! I'll definitely think about those points you brought up.

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  4. Oohh, the first real dark one that I've seen so far. I wish I could read some more!
    Good luck!

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  5. Love this! One of my faves. 1882 and a take-off of Alice in Wonderland, I hope you get in. Good luck :)

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  6. I really like your query and was immediately hooked. I think, however, that starting with Corwin might not be the best way to grab teen readers. I want to know about Emil right away :) Good luck!

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    1. Thank you! I've thought a lot about that. I appreciate your input :-)

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  7. Hmmm, I think you may hear your protagonist is a tad on the young side for YA lit, but your first 250 tell me a lot about your character and I found myself intensely interested in him. You're in!

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    1. Thank you! I'm so excited!

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  8. I remember reading part of this (and maybe the query) at AW. Good luck!

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  9. Anything set in 1882 gets my interest. I love that setting so I would definitely sign up to read more. I am left curious by what is the relationship between Corwin and Emil - a pseudo big brother? He seems too young to be a guardian. An eighteen year old being responsible for a fourteen year old? That's like giving a monkey a machine gun. But, I am hooked and left wanting more so maybe your task is accomplished.

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    1. Oops, my reply didn't attach itself to your comment.

      Again, thank you very much!

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  10. This is the author.

    Thank you all so much for the comments! This is really exciting. Anyhow, I'm just posting to clarify, Happy Dolphin: "At eighteen, he’d taken over his late father’s job at Scotland Yard and now, three years later..." When the novel begins, Corwin is actually twenty-one. Sorry for the confusion!

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  11. Bouncer IheartbooksFebruary 13, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Very promising premise! You're in (again)! Good luck!

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  12. Love the premise! You're in (again)!

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