Rebecca Petruck

Rebecca Petruck

April 8, 2015


This query letter resulted in a contract with Kate Testerman from KT Literary for her debut novel, STEERING TOWARD NORMAL and a publishing contract with Abrams/Amulet Books.


Ms. Testerman,

I’ve been “attending” WriteOnCon the last few days and appreciated your frank and funny advice about query letters. I hope you will be interested in my middle grade novel, STEERING TOWARD NORMAL.

STEERING TOWARD NORMAL is a 56,000-word coming-of-age story set in the world of 4-H steer competitions. (I’m from Minnesota–we know cows.) It begins when eighth-graders Diggy Lawson and Wayne Schley discover they have the same father. STEERING TOWARD NORMAL is the tale of how the boys go from being related to being brothers.

Diggy’s life may not be typical, but he’s content. He hangs out with Pop and the county’s farmers, raises steers to compete, and daydreams about July Johnston, high school senior and girl of his dreams. Hardly anyone teases him anymore about how his mom abandoned him on Pop’s doorstep and skipped town on a tractor.

Then Wayne gets dumped at Pop’s, too. Suddenly, Diggy has a half brother messing things up. Wayne rattles Diggy’s easy relationship with Pop, threatens his chances at the state fair, and horns in on his girl. Diggy believes family is everything, but he’s pretty sure Wayne doesn’t count.

The first ten pages of STEERING TOWARD NORMAL won first place in the SCBWI Carolinas Writing Contest, judged by Sarah Shumway, Senior Editor at Katherine Tegan Books.

I am a graduate of the Creative Writing MFA program at UNC Wilmington, editor of the SCBWI Carolinas quarterly newsletter, and member of the NC Writer’s Network. My work has appeared in Our State magazine.

My professional background is in PR and marketing, having promoted new fiction and nonfiction authors with [redacted] and marketed magazines online for [redacted]. Additionally, I was president of my 4-H chapter in fifth grade. This is a multiple submission.

I look forward to hearing from you about BLUE MOO.

Rebecca Petruck


Booklist: “In Petruck’s capable hands, raising a steer—caring for it, loving it, and eventually letting it go—becomes a keen metaphor for the loss of a loved one. Diggy is a perceptive narrator, but not unusually so for his age, and it’s reassuring to see him sort out his tangled feelings.”

NC FFA Girl McKayla Robinette: “Diggy, Crystal, and Jason are the 4-H version of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.”

Wilmington Star News: “Petruck makes the minutiae of raising livestock almost as enthralling as surviving the Hunger Games.”

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