In my novel, TOASTING FEAR, Abby Jenkins, champagne supplier to North Carolina's Outer Banks, suspects a demon from her past is causing today's murders and must call upon an angel to convince the police detective that she's not behind the killings.
One such situation is querying agents, inciting my feelings of fear, anxiety and dread. The last manuscript I completed took a little over a year of my life to write. My manuscript, a warm, funny, romantic mystery, enticed only four of the thirty agents I queried to ask for partials. This experience taught me that in horror, the heroine’s expectations and a quick reversal of those expectations must be felt by the reader.
Waiting for responses from agents made my bones feel hollow with trepidation similar to what I wanted my readers to feel as they watched Abby walk into trouble. When I previously queried, I set my PC to announce incoming email via sound. That sound was like hearing “for whom the bell tolled.” Every time I heard the bonging, like Pavlov’s dog, I raced to my computer, my heart pounding in suspense only to find myself disappointed by agents’ responses. In writing Abby’s horror scenes, I recalled my own feelings of powerlessness while reading those rejections.
When Abby is caught in an ocean whirlpool, like me, her mind races to determine how she can change the outcome. I evaluated my script trying to determine what to change to lure agents. For me self-publishing is a compromise that at this time I’m not willing to make. When Abby becomes trapped in a hole on the beach, sinking into a possible quicksand death, I called upon my own feelings of being trapped in a process that allows me to show only what is surface material rather than the depth on my novel. Do the first five pages catch their attention? If not, I’m doomed.
Like revising my novel, Abby uses a clam shell dug into the hole’s sides to heave herself out. But in the end, she must rely on an angel’s intervention to save her. I’ve tried praying that some agent will like my query. In the past, prayer hasn’t worked. So, I’m sucked into a hole of despair, much like my heroine, but unlike Abby, I won’t get a hand up from an angel.
Sincerely,E. B. Davis