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Dear Agent for a Day:
When Grandpa Irv dies—only a few months after Gram’s unexpected death—and Aunt Ninian tries to keep Mom from attending the funeral, thirteen-year-old Emily Novak is far from prepared for the aftermath. Emotionally abandoned by her mother and thus reliant on the stability of her father, Emily spends her adolescence hiding behind a camera, unable to stand her ground and take the risks that will enable her to mature. Meanwhile her younger brother Zack, always a curious and independent kid, starts down a reckless path that turns him into a stranger in his family’s eyes.
Struggling before, during, and after college to find the courage to make her own choices rather than those of her parents, Emily observes that her brother’s adventures are bring him a confidence that she envies. Yet Emily is also continually aware of the rising cost of Zack’s decisions… as well as her own. My novel BECOMING EMILY NOVAK is the story of how we sift through our inheritance to disentangle our own truth from what our parents have told us is true, and what that sifting means for the shape of our adulthood.
I think of this novel as an example of the accessible literary fiction you so aptly named on your blog “book club fiction.” It has a sensibility similar to Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep or Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, and I would expect a similar audience as well, with some extra niche marketing avenues in the Jewish and queer communities.
I received my MFA in Creative Writing from XXX and have been teaching adult education courses in novel development and memoir at YYY for the past four years. The short story that spawned BECOMING EMILY NOVAK won second place in ZZZ national short story contest, and I have been published in AAA, BBB, and CCC, among others. A complete list of my publications can be found on my website at DDD.com.
You have often repeated, “when in doubt, query me,” and so I have, and I hope you’ll be interested in representing me and this novel. Thank you for your time. Please feel free to contact me by phone, mail, or email. I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.
STATS: 7% request rate