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FOR THE ATTENTION OF : Agent for a Day
‘Near Waredge’ by Author
Written for the TEEN (YA) FICTION MARKET- age 12 to 18
I am hoping to secure representation of my novel of 120,000 words that combines a paranormal romance and danger in a very realistic contemporary setting of an English secondary school
Jess Trainer is not exactly new to Woodford Academy she has just never been there before – her old school got a serious make-over while she’d had to live abroad; Caleb Ridgeway is an identical triplet and as if that isn’t problem enough he is not exactly human – insular and withdrawn is the way it has to be when you’re born Were. On her first day back Jess explains exactly how different The Brothers ‘Grim’ appear to her – if she can do that on day one what will she be able to see when she really studies them?
With the help of her friends (Ben, Alison, Anna and Ife) Jess begins to settle back into school but she finds herself drawn to Caleb – the oldest of a set of triplets that only she can tell apart. Caleb and his identical brothers (Alex and Raphael) think they don’t need anyone else and why should they when they came with the new Headteacher and he is the Alpha male. Jess senses that all is not what it seems with the brothers but never stops to question why she is drawn like a moth to the flame. She knows that Caleb has secrets and she can’t resist a challenge. She doesn’t know that Caleb is not the only one who has been keeping secrets.
Even after her friendship with Caleb makes her the victim of an attack by the dangerously insane ‘turned’ Were (the origin popular fiction’s ‘Werewolf ‘) she decides to enter more fully into Caleb’s, and his pack’s, very dangerous world that exists on the fringes of Woodford, in the Weald near Waredge.
The theme of ‘Near Waredge’ is that there is no obstacle to love that is too great that it cannot be overcome – tunnelled under, climbed over, whittled away or negotiated to a more manageable proportion!
I am proud to say that I am a new writer with no proven track record at all. College educated I went from classroom to classroom although my education qualification combines an English minor elective. I am a teacher with a passion for reading and writing. I have channelled the desire to write through inspiring children to impress in written format. I have always written short stories with my classes and more importantly been an avid teller of stories. My ambition is to write full-time and reach a wider audience. I have enrolled in the Open University’s Writing Fiction Course starting this summer.
To support my application I have included the first five pages of my novel.
Thank you for the time you are expending in taking me one step closer to achieving my ultimate goal. The manuscript, character descriptions and a brief synopsis of the chapters are ready to send out for your consideration. I have two on-line submissions in the US and I have sent out two paper submissions here in the UK. I am delighted to have found such an experienced and professional agent with an on-line application route.
BACK IN THE OLD ROUTINE … SORT OF
It was true I felt exhausted – but mostly I was relieved, happy and glad to be home. Dad held out his hand and I took it. He tugged me up from my case and then he heaved it up from the floor. Mum and I followed him until he paused to rest my case at the top of the stairs.
“You could get the door,” he suggested tetchily and I hurried up the last three steps and reached for the brass doorknob on the light oak door. I’d dreamed of this moment; turning the handle, walking in and really being home – now it finally happened. I closed my eyes and stood to the side to allow my father to enter – with case in hand – and my Mum behind him.
“Jess?” he said. “Welcome home!”
They both looked indulgently at me noting the closed eyes and knowing it wasn’t from tiredness. I knew they thought I was over doing it a bit but it was just such a relief. They walked to my side and, with a quick kiss on the top of my head they left me to it – they knew they were no longer needed.
“See you in the morning,” Dad said.
“Bed!” my Mum advised. “Soon!” she added with a smile as she pulled the door closed behind her.
I glanced from left to right to take in every detail: the rose pink walls, the light oak skirting, the leaded windows where the cream blinds were only half closed, the desk infront of the window and its seat. I turned to the right slightly to take in the door to the built in wardrobe and then on towards my bed. The troubled Little Miss on my old cover still grinned at me with just about as much mischievous trouble chasing over her face as I had on mine.
“Oh yes…!” I cried as I ran and leapt and, twisting in mid-flight, turned to splat my back down onto the bed, spread-eagled over as much surface area as I could manage to reach. I duvet-angelled myself on the cover then I twisted back to look at my case and thought about cracking it open and getting to work. I knew that the case was full of light weight fabrics and flip-flops so really those clothes could wait a while. Fair enough it was September and it could be pretty warm but this was England and the chances of a heat wave were not great. But then I knew that my alarm was in there and my wash things and … oh what the heck! I’d have to do it sometime anyway so I’d just make a start … no pressure to finish … I rolled over, thrust my feet down to carpet and made myself stand vertically again.
The case took very little persuading to fall flat onto the floor but the thing took a lot more effort to unzip fully. I tugged to get it going; I had to sit on the corners to persuade the zips to move around from the middle of the ends. Not wishing to say it was full or anything but I was pushed up when the pressure was released – so maybe there was slightly more in there than an odd sarong and some sandals inside.
I moved to sit beside the case and to sift under the surface for the essentials for tonight – long tee-shirt and shorts, bag of toiletries and my docking station and having successfully found those I tugged the mini player from my back pocket.
I scrambled to the other side of my bed, plugged it in and made sure that the time and alarm were set. I spent longer flicking through my tunes to see what I wanted to wake up to on my first day back and with school to look forward to for the first time in two years – I was going back to ‘my’ school.
I settled for one of my old favourite songs which began with more sound effects than music – after all even I couldn’t sleep through whistles, shrieks and the occasional firework explosion! Then I went for speed changing and throwing my clothes at the wicker basket by my cupboard as I headed for the bathroom.
I washed and brushed but as I finished that task – I stopped to look into the mirror at the face of the person I’d become. I know that people go on about ‘beauty is only skin deep’ and ‘people have to like you for who you are and not what you look like’ and all that stuff, but I hadn’t exactly found that to be true. Basically the problem was that I had changed. Not in a bad way – but in a major way.
I’d left for Guyana with a few challenges to social acceptance. Firstly as people, rarely kindly, put it – there was the ‘puppy fat’; this, I thought, I had hidden effectively with the huge black tee-shirt look. Then there were the endless numbers of red lumps and yellow spots that colourfully decorated my face. I topped this look off with the long black hair, in curtains, complete with an out of control grease tap located somewhere useful. To complete my look, aged thirteen, I had that ‘I’m not going and you can’t make me’ attitude. All designed to win friends and influence people. Somehow there was no-one in my international school for lovely girls who was remotely like me.
Better still when I arrived in Guyana I found that I couldn’t cope with the heat as the dry air made me cough all the time and when it was humid it made me wheeze. My new ‘friends’, at my ‘new’ school, thought my look was a re-make of a classic cartoon movie. How did it go? Oh yes: frumpy, lumpy, spotty, greasy, grumpy, sniffy and wheezy – I was my own version of the seven dwarves – and my parents wondered why I found it hard to fit in!
I discovered indoor fitness training. Hours into my ‘I hate them all anyway’ exercise programme I’d noticed I was getting lean and pretty fit – and I liked it – at school this helped them pretend that they liked me better. I was stuck there so I let them pretend; and I pretended too. I’d done hours of work with personal trainers supplied by my Dad’s firm – the same firm that also provided the huge air conditioned swimming pool and the fully stocked gym – Go firm! Getting fit was great though – I’d done karate for years before but I’d never been really good at it – ask Sensei. I think he suggested I should take up ballet – what a super suggestion that was – then I could have been a pink fairy-elephant!
Now I was home and I was different. But I knew four people who wouldn’t be. I looked at the clock and worked out how many hours, minutes and seconds were going to have to pass until I was going to hunt them down and shock them. They didn’t know I was getting back early – how had it slipped my mind to let them know?! No-one else was even going to recognise me so I was going to have some fun with that at school too.
But only if I woke up in time to get there. I rinsed out, hurried up and rushed to fall into bed and sleep.
I didn’t so much sleep like a log as become one at some point during the night because my wake up call had done the firework, whistling, drums banging and the whole thing and I was too far gone to care. It took a cup of tea and some non-subtle messages that went: ‘if you’re not moving in five minutes I’ll be leaving you and you can start tomorrow’ type conversations to get me shifting. I stumbled to the bathroom and turned on the shower while I rested my head against the cubical door and drifted off – not entirely awake. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t pay enough attention to details because I nearly burned my foot off when I put it into the spray. Then I managed to freeze the rest of me when I overdid turning it down. That and the shampoo I rubbed into my eyes helped me to wake up properly! I grumbled into my towel and back to my room still combing my hair gel into my curls.
I did a speedy snatch and grab raid for food before I got dressed. I opted for the unhealthy cereal bar and large glass of juice option to balance it out. I collected my lunch while I was there as it had already been thrown together by Mum who looked possibly less awake than me. I hugged her but neither of us managed much in the way of joined-up speaking and then headed back upstairs.
Next, I had to decide what to wear for school and the old school uniform that I found hanging in the back of my wardrobe was no longer my size in any of its directions so I yelled from the top of the stairs, “Mum? Sixth Form is non-uniform isn’t it?”
“Yes, but office smart, and no bright colours,” replied my Dad, who was still leaning in an immaculate suit with brief case at his feet and what I could tell was the school prospectus in his hands.
“Thanks Mum!” I grinned and headed back to my room. I had a blue-grey pair of trousers and the matching cardigan that should have travelled well and if I dug further somewhere near the bottom of the case I’d packed the ‘wouldn’t want to be seen in too often’ blue blouse that I used for impressing at Dad’s office – on the rare occasions I’d had to call in. My clothes choices were limited and shopping would be needed soon.
There were impatient noises coming from downstairs so I hurried to the dresser to swipe on some mascara so I could make the most of my blue eyes and I decided I would have to do. I had brushed my hair earlier so I ruffled it to make the curls lie in less neat soft patterns. I shook my head and laughed again at the difference a hair cut could make.
I had considered growing my hair back to a longer length to see if it would straighten the curls back down. The hairdresser said she was sure it would. But I had decided that I didn’t really want to grow it out because the silky curls had quite grown on me! It was much easier for swimming and running any way.
“Jess! I am going out this door right now!” My father’s voice had that ‘had-enough-now tone’.
So, I grabbed up my shoulder bag containing my pencil case and hastily grabbed lunch and hurried; I leapt the last four steps down to Dad’s side to show him how prepared to hurry I really was.
Mum arrived to wish me luck with a paint brush already in her hand and she waved distractedly as I went to the car. I knew she was absorbed even before the door had closed.
“Is Mum working already?”
“Finishing the sunlight and sea stuff she’d already started,” Dad murmured while negotiating the right turn from the drive along Common Avenue. “You know this isn’t really your old school were going to?”
“What?” I was too stunned to be polite.
“Yes, the old school’s been re-vamped, re-organised and re-named – uniform, badge, college status – it’s all change at the school.”
“Oh – that kind of not my school,” I said in relief. For one horrible moment I thought he was going to make me start somewhere totally different.
We had paused at the lights ready for the turn right into the High Road so I could turn to him and he’d be able to look back too.
“Will I get a place there?” I asked, suddenly concerned.
His face was reassuring, “I phoned last week to make sure they would honour the promise the old Headteacher made when we went away. The Head Master’s secretary said everything should be in order but he would want to interview you today. So it is a good job we made it back in time.”
“Interview?” I asked and felt the first wave of panic start to grow – my last term at the old school would not make perfect reading if the Head had my old school records.
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