Here’s the query letter I sent (following-up after an in-person pitch) to my agent:
It was a pleasure to meet you at the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. Not only did I learn a lot, but left steadfast and inspired. Thank you for sitting down with me to hear the pitch for my historical novel ASPEN’S WAY. I’ve attached the first thirty-five pages as you requested and included the query below. I look forward to hearing from you.
It’s 1906 and Askuwheteu, an Ojibwe Indian, stands trial for the murder of a white man. The shadows of Little Big Horn, Pine Ridge, and subsequent policy of forced assimilation loom over the courtroom. Alma Mitchell, a friend and former classmate of the defendant, travels hundreds of miles from her home to prove him innocent. Her fledgling investigation brings her face-to-face with the destructive legacy of the “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father that she once called home. To discover the truth behind her friend’s arrest, Alma must first reckon with the past; with love, racism, and betrayal; and with the seemingly impassable divide between their cultures.
Told in an interwoven narrative, ASPEN’S WAY is a work of upmarket historical fiction complete at 99,000 words. The story was a finalist in the 2014 Pitch Wars competition.
My short fiction appears in Writer’s Bloc IV (2012) and VI (2015) under the pen name A. R. Shenandoah. I am an officer in the Henderson Writers’ Group. My mother-in-law, a Lac Courte Oreille Ojibwe, sparked my interest in Native American history. Her struggles at an Indian boarding school in the 1950s and campaign to recognize the inherited trauma still haunting the Native American community are the genesis of my story.
Thank you for your consideration.