Blogger: Michelle Ule
Location: Late night, romantic, safe, Santa Rosa, Calif.
I’ve just finished a stint during which I read several queries in succession. It can be grueling work, having to page through so many hopeful letters introducing tales writers pray we’ll love. Some of the stories were utterly charming, others remarkably grim. Probably a quarter of them were fantasy stories and half of those were tales about vampires. Reading queries always leaves me wondering about the American psyche—could these topics possibly be what most people are interested in?
For example, do people still want to read Mafia stories? One of my relatives was the police chief of Palermo, Sicily, but I can’t think of any Mafia story I’d want to hear. The Godfather books and movies pretty much exhausted that topic for me.
I thought the pirate concept was starting to wane now that we’re a couple of years out from Pirates of the Caribbean, but I guess Johnny Depp lovers never tire of a swashbuckling concept.
While the Brazilian foreign exchange student living in our home loves the Twilight series and has watched the movie “probably at least 40 times” in her words, how many vampire stories do we need? (Okay, I know, the bookstores are crawling with them; I guess the living dead are a growth industry.)
Just because I’m not a fan of the genre, however, doesn’t mean I can’t recognize good writing. We’ve looked at manuscripts whose storylines are of little interest to us because the writing is strong or compelling. It all goes back to the writing, but it starts with the story and, also, the author’s renown.
So, would we want to see a proposal about a Mafioso pirate who wakes up one night in Lancaster, Penn., to discover himself a vampire?
Do you have to ask?