I’m thrilled to participate in the Writer’s Voice 2014. Thank you for reading my “audition” (query and first 250) below!
When Lucy Mason discovers a magnificent garden beyond her grandmother’s hedge, she thinks she has heatstroke. When she meets handsome, intelligent Isaac in the garden, she thinks she’s in love.
But Lucy doubts the garden’s existence when she returns to the real world, where her grandmother’s disappearance, her high school crush’s reappearance, and her imminent departure for college vie for her attention. Compared to these stark realities, the garden is improbable and Isaac impossible, but in her heart, Lucy believes.
Desperate to prove she’s not crazy, she studies her grandmother’s journals. Lucy quickly concludes the garden is real; her grandmother saw it, too. As the summer wanes, Lucy rushes to uncover her grandmother’s connection to the garden, and Isaac’s connections beyond it, before the start of college ends her time in Eden.
But reality proves too messy for paradise. When Lucy tries to tell Isaac how to find her in the real world, the garden disappears. With the garden gone, her grandmother’s house for sale, and school beginning, Lucy must find a new way to Isaac – or a way to let him go.
EDEN is a 57,000 word, young adult low fantasy novel set primarily in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Princeton, New Jersey. Like Lucy, I’m a native North Carolinian. Unlike Lucy, I’ve never had a green thumb.
My grandmother had been missing for two years. I sat on the steps of her old, white house and stared across the garden. A few deep pink roses still braved the tangled weeds, but it had given up before we had. The house wasn’t much better. I sneezed and wiped away tears. A thick layer of dust coated everything inside, billowing around the bags in the entryway and dancing in the filmy afternoon light.
Not that it fazed my mother. She’d marched through the house checking light switches and faucets, insisting the place would be back to normal in no time. I wasn’t so sure. The house was more than dusty; it was empty. My grandmother’s absence echoed through every room.
I sneezed again. Already I wore a thin layer of grime, and I had three weeks of cleaning to go. I hadn’t looked forward to school like this since kindergarten. My name echoed from depths of the house. Hands against knees, I drank in the humid air. Three weeks wasn’t long: three weeks, twenty-one days, five hundred – actually four hundred ninety-nine hours, we’d been here a while. I could do that. For her.
With one last glance at the garden, I hopped the crumbly stairs to the house. I had to help my mother. It was the reason I was here. At least it was the reason I talked about.