Thursday, May 17, 2012

Team Krista #11: THE COIN DIVER

Title: THE COIN DIVER
Genre: YA historical
Word Count: 90,000

Query:

Prohibition has turned Eve Medina’s rural hometown into a center of black-market wine trade and police corruption. So when Eve kills a wealthy man, she knows it won’t matter that she’s sixteen, or that she acted in self-defense. What will matter is that she’s poor, the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, and that she makes a living pretending to be a fortuneteller. If she gets caught, she’ll hang.

Jakob Gellert, a young Hungarian immigrant who works as a magician, knows about the murder, and keeping him quiet will cost Eve. His younger sister Lilika has disappeared, along with all state record that she ever existed, and Jakob wants to use Eve’s knowledge of the town’s politics, prejudices, and secrets to find her. Jakob’s reputation as an illusionist, equal parts skilled and dangerous, tells Eve he won’t hesitate to use what he knows against her if she doesn’t help him. If she does, however, his reputation as a fledgling criminal could draw police attention she needs to avoid.

When Eve discovers she and Jakob have similar tattoos, she decides they’re better as allies than enemies. But if they think they know the truth about the crocus on Jakob’s arm and the lily on Eve’s neck, they’re wrong. The history behind their shared tattoos could be the only way to find Lilika. It could also get them killed.

First page:

Eve knows the rumors. Some swear that the boy makes rosebushes vanish at night and reappear in the morning. Others say his talent is turning himself into a cat with eyes black as its fur. But Eve didn’t come for his tricks. She came to find out why he never leaves coins in the fountains.

She chooses an empty seat at the back of the great room. A few women look over their shoulders to shame her for being late. They don’t guess the truth, that Eve is not one of them, that she wears no earrings not because she forgot them but because she doesn’t own any.

Her dress, blue as a gas flame and weighted with beading, trails on the hardwood floor. The too-long hem might give her away, but with her hair swept off her shoulders, her lips painted to make them appear smaller, no one looks closely enough to notice. Too many girls visit the Banagher estate to keep track of each new one.

Even the guests whose fortunes she’s told in town don’t recognize her. Earlier, in Gloria’s bronze-framed mirror, Eve barely recognized herself, the evening gown and chignon a country apart from her everyday floral dresses and loose hair.

Banagher’s men stand the boy with his back to the fireplace. She guesses it is because they prefer not to see his face, the color of Darjeeling tea steeped a minute too long. They dim the sconces, and the boy is nothing but a body and hands.

29 comments:

Dahlia said...

CHILLS from your query. I would read this book in a hot minute. Eve and Jakob sounds like such an awesome team!

Michelle Mason said...

Love this opening and the atmosphere it evokes. So glad we're teammates! Go #TeamKrista!

Noelle Henry said...

I love the time period of this book. Very unusual. And you hooked me with the line, "Some swear that the boy makes rosebushes vanish at night." Great writing. I'd definitely read this book!

Ann Bedichek said...

I love this.

The setting, the characters, the mystery....I so want to read more!

Sarah said...

I adore your opening. The images are perfect, especially "his face, the color of Darjeeling tea steeped a minute too long." Go Team Krista!

Melanie Stanford said...

OOh, I love this! Intrigued on the spot!

Becky Mahoney said...

Such a wonderful, original concept about a fascinating time period, and your writing draws me in right away.

AllieS said...

Although I'm on Team Monica, I do really love your first 250 and have since TWV started!

loritayseastep said...

Love this opening! Great work and go Team Krista!

Ryan said...

I love what you've done with the first 250! You've landed us in a situation of high tension right from the beginning.
Awesome!

Lisa K. said...

Beautifully written and utterly compelling. I was captured at the image of a boy who makes rosebushes vanish at night and reappear in the morning. Go Team Krista!

erinpetti said...

I think the word "lush" is just right, here. Beautiful stuff!

Carla Luna Cullen said...

Love the first page! Especially the closing line "the boy is nothing but a body and hands." It makes me want to read more.

T.L. Bodine said...

Love it! I would eat this right up.

Ben Spendlove said...

Intriguing story and fascinating setting. Good job!

Jennie Bailey said...

I am not a big reader of historical, but if I picked this up at the bookstore, I wouldn't walk out without it. I LOVE this. What a powerful query for an wonderful story. I can't wait to read the entire book!

TYHatch said...

I would love to see more of this - to see how you delve into the historical aspects, and to find out more about your MC.

Good luck!

Becca C. said...

Ooo! That query really ratchets things up, and the opening paragraph of the excerpt has a great hook!

Leigh Ann said...

SHARED TATTOOS? Holy cow. Great concept.

Some beautiful writing in that sample, too. Good luck!!!

April Wall said...

Great melding of a historical and fantastical elements! Good luck!

erica m. chapman said...

Wow you set up some excellent conflict. Totally haunting ;o)

Valerie said...

I love the idea of the shared tattoos and a fortune teller (albeit a pretend one) MC! Great job! Good luck :)

Kimberly Gabriel said...

I love the layers presented in your query. And then ending with them sharing a tatoo? Intriguing. I also love the line about her dress being the color of a blue flame - brilliant. Good luck ;)

Andrea Somberg said...

I vote for you!

Susan Hawk said...

I vote for you!

Taylor Martindale said...

I vote for you! Looking forward to your pages.

Roseanne Wells said...

I vote for you! You had me at Prohibition and police corruption.

Louise Fury said...

I vote for you!

Tara Dairman said...

#11 The Coin Diver

Query:

Overall, this query is nicely written. The part about the tattoos threw me for a loop a little bit, but I assume that you’ve included it because it’s very important to the story. (If it’s not all that important, I’d say you don’t need it—you’ve already set the two MCs up as well entangled here!)

Nitpicks: 2nd paragraph—should “state record” be “state records”? Also, you may want to consider putting “self-defense” before “sixteen,” in the 1st paragraph, since it’s a much better reason to get away with killing someone. =) (Better yet, tell us what the rich guy was trying to do to her that forced her to kill him.)

First page:

Your descriptions are beautiful—I love the comparisons to a gas flame and Darjeeling tea, which really help set the scene and the era. Lovely writing.

But to me, this excerpt feels like it wants to be in first person. Maybe it’s the present tense, or the way the MC’s surroundings are described, but I felt weirdly removed every time she was referred to as “she” or “Eve.” It almost feels like this used to be first person and her name was just subbed in for “I.” One page isn’t enough to really tell, of course, but that was the one thing I repeatedly noticed as I read it. Otherwise, I think it’s very intriguing and beautifully rendered.