CURRENT DRAFT IS IN POST #9
I'm hoping to query my historical novel later this year. I'm still polishing it up, but I thought I'd get some input on this part of the process. I've workshopped this draft in a weekend-long publishing bootcamp, but would appreciate other perspectives. Thanks!
Dear [Agent name],
In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. As a child, she's merely curious about her older cousin Will Herbert, the future Earl of Pembroke, with whom she shares a passion for writing. But soon curiosity turns to fascination and finally to infatuation.
After he seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. When she realizes he will never marry her, she tries to make a life without him, only to find that when a passion shapes one's identity it can be hard to abandon.
My novel Wilton House is based on the life of the real-life Lady Mary Sidney, the niece of the famed Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney and a respected poet in her own right. In her published literary works, Lady Mary sought to assert her rightful place within her family's literary legacy—a place denied by her society's proscription against women's writing. At 120,000 words, Wilton House is written as a fictional memoir that weaves Lady Mary's verses and epic prose romance with the story of her life.
I first learned about Mary Sidney while working toward my PhD in Renaissance English Literature at Northwestern University. I did substantial work on the development of this project through Rebecca Makkai's novel incubation program at Chicago's Story Studio.
[personalized note about comps and reason I am querying this agent]