Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Writer's Voice 2015: Query + First 250 Words

by Taylor Rouanzion

Sixteen-year-old Kittilyn Kite never expected the girl on her front doorstep to be an interplanetary fugitive. As the heiress of a large—but crumbling—estate on the planet of Salome, Kittilyn was happy to oblige when a friend of a friend needed a place to stay. But once that friend arrives, Kittilyn discovers that she may have just invited someone very dangerous into her home. Kittilyn is torn between turning the girl in or hiding her from the government that has so often wronged Kittilyn's own family. What Kittilyn doesn't know is that this stranger may hold answers to questions about her family's past and the key to finally saving her estate from financial ruin.

A cross between Downton Abbey and Firefly, A HALF-RISEN SUN is a 71,000-word young adult science fiction novel. It will appeal to readers who enjoyed These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and Linked by Imogen Howson.

I have a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University, and I have worked for five years as a technical writer and editor. A HALF-RISEN SUN is my first novel.

Chapter One

I had sixteen empty rooms but nowhere to put the rain-soaked girl who stood at my front door.

Over the past year, I had been forced to gradually sell off most of the furnishings and d├ęcor within Cherishbough Hall, leaving only a few pieces that included a small wrought-iron bed for myself, one piece of a sheersilk sofa set in the parlor, and a rickety wooden table in the kitchen that I had dragged up from the basement after getting only a pittance from Mr. Burdge, who lived down the road, for my great-great-grandmother's grand mahogany dining set.

But despite my predicament, my genteel breeding did not fail me.

“Hello. You must be Lennox,” I said cheerily to the girl, whose sun-browned face had yet to change to any expression other than a scowl. Her hair—a yellow that I guessed was bright and sunny when it was dry but was a dour mustard color wet—clung to her face. There was a black stripe about two fingers thick on the right side of her hair that ran from root to tip, like an outer reflection of her inner dark streak.

So far all I was seeing was the dark streak and no sunny brightness. I was already regretting having agreed to house this sullen off-planet person.

“I'm Kittilyn Kite. Please, come in out of that downpour and we'll get you dry in no time.”

Lennox's shin-high boots squeaked gratingly as she entered the foyer, her hair and clothes dripping puddles of rainwater onto the priceless, centuries-old marboleum floor.