Query critique 5/23/24

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Nathan Bransford
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Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: Pasadena, CA

Query critique 5/23/24

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 20th, 2024, 8:29 pm

Want to see how your editing approach compares to mine?

Below is the query up for critique on the blog on Thursday. Feel free to chime in with comments, create your own redline (please note the "font colour" button above the posting box, which looks like a drop of ink), and otherwise offer feedback. When offering your feedback, please please remember to be polite and constructive. In order to leave a comment you will need to register an account in the Forums, which should be self-explanatory.

I'll be back with my own post on the blog and we'll literally be able to compare notes.

Dear [agent],

A man faking amnesia is snared in a crackbrained scheme to save a Yorkshire café, where he must learn to forgive himself or risk blowing his second shot at love and life.

Welcome to the Headingley Lane Coffee House, where things are about to get a little out of hand and bankruptcy forever looms on the horizon. Madison is faking amnesia to escape his dead-end life, but gets stuck serving cappuccinos after losing all his money in a pub brawl. After the owner drops dead in the back room, Madison is swept up in an uneasy conspiracy to keep the bank at bay. With an American chain threatening to put the coffee house out of business, a loan shark itching to break someone's tibia, and the spark of unexpected romance poised to upend his secrets, Madison must find the courage to take responsibility for his past so that he can commit to a better future.

HEADINGLEY LANE COFFEE HOUSE, my upmarket debut, bridges the ‘small is beautiful’ sentiment of Libby Page’s MORNINGS WITH ROSEMARY or Freya Sampson’s THE LAST CHANCE LIBRARY with the humor and redemption of Frederik Backman’s ANXIOUS PEOPLE. The 80,000-word novel’s uplifting narrative and satirical exposé of coffee culture may appeal to book clubs, while the setting in small town Yorkshire during the 2009 Great Recession provides an arm’s length mirror for today’s readers to laugh through uncertain times.

As a Canadian writer, my interest in Headingley began while studying at the University of Leeds, where I learned that the village once held an oak tree so large the Vikings named the entire district Skyrack in its honor. I have published short fiction and non-fiction in publications such as The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, and the North Shore Writers’ Association Anthology, which included my prize-winning short story, A QUOTA OF CONVERSATION.

I have attached a brief synopsis and an excerpt from HEADINGLEY LANE COFFEE HOUSE, which I have submitted to a select number of agents. A completed manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my novel.

Yours sincerely,

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