This query letter resulted in eight full requests, nine rejections (this includes 2 partials that did not lead to fulls), and three offers of representation. Virginia signed with Kathleen Ortiz from New Leaf Literary, who sold her book at auction and inked a three-book deal with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Virginia’s debut novel–THE WITCH HUNTER–will be released June 2, 2015.
Dear Ms Ortiz,
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn’t look dangerous. A tiny, blond, wisp of a girl who doesn’t look a day over twelve, she shouldn’t know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb.
But sometimes, things are not always as they appear.
Elizabeth is the best witch hunter in Anglia. She and her best friend Caleb are members of the king’s most elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.
When Elizabeth is caught with a bundle of deadly magical herbs, she’s arrested and thrown in prison. After Caleb turns his back on her and the king declares her a traitor, her life is all but forfeit. With just hours to go until she’s to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor – but not one she wants. It’s Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison if Elizabeth will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him – and find out why.
It’s a fair price – or so it seems. But with witch hunters and the king’s guard bearing down on her at every turn, Elizabeth soon realizes she may have gotten more than she bargained for. As she uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas’s curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she struggles to maintain old beliefs in the face of new truths and is forced to redefine the difference between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate…and life and death.
Complete at 93,000 words, THE WITCH HUNTER (YA/Fantasy) is set in alternative 16th century England, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Tudors. It will appeal to readers who favor a strong female protagonist: Katsa from GRACELING, Elisa from THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, and Alina from SHADOW AND BONE. It is a standalone novel, but has series potential.
I have a degree in English Literature from The University of Texas at Austin, and I’m a former dot-commer and now a full-time writer. I recently spent four years in London obsessing over English medieval history, which formed the basis of this story. THE WITCH HUNTER is my first novel.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.