Dear Miss Snark,
Eleven-year-old Grady Johnson is doing his best to understand the world. His father has died, and he, along with his younger sister Luanne, can’t do a thing to help their mother as she struggles to hold on to the family farm.
Times are tough, but when Gil, a stranded extraterrestrial, comes into their lives, the family’s fortunes begin to change. Trying to help, Gil takes a twig from an oak tree and a borrowed twenty dollar bill, and using his technology he creates a money tree. This, he is sure, will solve the family’s problems. But with a suspicious banker and a klutzy deputy lurking around, the family finds that money is the least of their troubles. Will the money change their lives for the better? Can Grady help Gil when it matters the most?
THE MONEY TREE is a 52,000 word middle grade novel. I admire authors like Louis Sachar and Richard Peck, who write novels with humor and adventure that pack an emotional punch. It’s my hope that this story will appeal to that same audience.
My first novel, XYZ, a thriller, was published by Berkley Books and won a Reader’s Choice Award at the ABC mystery festival.
I look forward to sending you sample chapters or the completed manuscript. I’ve enclosed a SASE for your reply. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Very truly yours,
oh yea, this is good.
I'm all over this one.
THE MONEY TREE
I turned eleven the summer after my father died, the year we lost the farm. I didn’t know it at the time, but small farms all across the country were being sold off and closed down at a record rate. I didn’t know anything about that, but I did know that my Ma looked scared like I’d never seen her before, and without Dad there to help, we, my sister Luanne and me, knew
something bad was going to happen.
That summer was hot, and there were nights where the air was so still that lying in bed with just a sheet, I felt like I was covered with a thick blanket. Our house was an old wood frame three-story that had been in the family for generations. My room was up on the top floor in a space that had once been the attic. Even though there was space on the lower floors, I moved
up there because I had room to spread out, and up there, I was far enough away so that Luanne didn’t bother me with her whining. She was eight then, and sometimes she was funny, but most of the time she was a tattle tale and a brat.
That night, it was hotter than usual and even with the fan on high, I couldn’t get to sleep. The June bugs thumped against the screen on my window, and the crickets chirped so loud it sounded like they were right there in my room. Downstairs I could hear the TV, so I knew my Ma was still awake. Ever since Dad died, she hadn’t talked much about it, but she stayed up late most every night. One time I went downstairs and saw that she’d been crying. She didn’t see me, and I snuck back upstairs and never let on that I’d seen her like that, but it bothered me for the longest time. After that I stayed in my room after bed time. But that night it was so hot, and I couldn’t get to sleep, so I just stared out the window and looked at the
Where we were, out in the country, there’s not a lot of light around, so the stars stand out more than they do in the city. I guess I looked up and tried to find the constellations my Dad had taught me, and just let my mind wander.
At some point I started to get sleepy. But before I fell asleep, I saw a shooting star. Actually, I didn’t remember seeing it until sometime later, but that was after Gil came around and our lives all changed. As I recall it now, I was nearly asleep when I saw the shooting star. And when I saw it, I made a wish. At least I think I did.
great query letter, then splat.
an 11 year old who sounds like my Uncle Actuary the driest and most tedious man in three zip codes (and on the Upper East Side that's saying somthing).
You get me all excited about aliens and Snidely Whiplash bankers and (fanning self) money growing on trees...and what do I get? Some sweaty morose kid in the attic.
Start with action. Start in the middle of the story. Start when the kid sees money growing on trees.