Feb 23 2008
Welcome to Query Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a query to be read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. Published authors may do so under their own name or anonymously.
Readers, though, the way that I look at it is this: Would the hook itself interest you in reading the book. If yes, what interests you and if not, what would you change to make it more appealing?
For the most part, what is it about Christmas that forces us to forget the weight of our daily stresses and ignore the complex quandaries of our lives, if even for just one day, to celebrate a traditional holiday with our families?
For the Most Part is a fictional story of the White Family Christmas. Lorraine White, recently widowed, is looking forward to spending a traditional holiday with her five children. Yet, each of her kids is wrestling with skeletons in their closet. Martin, the eldest and a school teacher, has had a short affair with a student who is now missing. Ellen, the oldest daughter, strives to save her marriage after having her name dragged through the newspapers for being sexually harassed by her boss, a county judge, and for the trial that followed. Travis, the middle child and the central character, is gay and mourning the loss of his longtime companion, Justin, who has died of brain cancer. Sebastian, the younger son, is a recovering drug addict haunted by a girlfriend who overdosed in his bed. And Clare, the youngest, is raising her biracial son, a product of rape. Despite the fragility of her children, Lorraine is not without conflict in her own life. Still clinging to fragments of the joy of yesterday, she begins dating a new man but has just discovered she has cancer. Doctors have given her eight months to live, but she refuses to tell her children now for fear of ruining what will be their last Christmas together.
As each character reveals their past while preparing for the upcoming holiday at home, they find themselves clinging to their family members for support and grasping for memories of the happier days that now seem so far away. Travis stresses over going to visit his dead lover’s parents, who in turn pray he will come visit because he is the last living memory of their son. Martin obsesses about the disappearance of his student being blamed on him, even though he had nothing to do with it. When her lewd boss dies in prison, Ellen can’t stop going to visit his grave, despite her husband’s wishes for them to get on with their lives. Clare discovers she’s adopted and wonders why the family is keeping it from her. Lorraine hopes they can all forget their past for just one night and have a meaningful Christmas, but when her new beau comes to spend the holidays with them, her peaceful evening quickly spins out of control and could tear her family apart forever.
Although my book takes place at Christmas, I do not consider it to be a holiday novel. I have written it to be more like a family saga or fictional character study, as each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view. For The Most Part is my first book and complete at around 83,000 words. Several of my short stories have been published in anthologies by Alyson Publications, and two of my short stories are featured in the Amazon.com Shorts program. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.
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