This doesn't actually say anything, and the word count is just about the last thing you want to put first in a query letter.
A tempestuous, thrill seeker of French Creole descent, Nora Broussard Greenwood finds herself unfilled as a country club wife and follows her dream of learning how to fly. While soaring the skies, she falls in love with her sexy flight instructor. Trapped in a psychologically and physically abusive marriage, she begins a torrid, star crossed affair with her instructor pilot. Producing a love child, Nora seeks an escape to be with her lover.
One of the biggest problems here is what you tell us about Nora doesn't mesh with what she does. If she's a tempestuous thrill seeker, how is she also an unfulfilled country club wife?
If she's trapped in an abusive marriage where does she get the time, money, or permission to begin flying lessons?
In the Catholic, staid and male dominated world of New Orleans, circa 1960, divorce was unthinkable.
And yet, there she is, thinking about it.
Amidst the racial tensions of the Kennedy era, Nora enlists the help of her black maid and confidant, Mabel, and her best friend in the world, Charlene to help plot her getaway.
When you bring up racial tensions of the Kennedy era, and Nora enlisting the help of her black maid in the same damn sentence you lead me to think racial tension is part of this story. Nothing in the rest of the query supports that. Thus, again, what you tell me, and what you show me are two different things.
When she confronts her powerful, wealthy husband with demands for divorce, she is beaten and cast out of her upper class existence.
Why? Why wouldn't he just laugh at her, and let her stew? He's got money, power and the law on his side. You tell us this stuff about characters in the book but it doesn't feel like what people would really do.
Pregnant and homeless, she returns to her roots finding shelter in the bosom of The French Quarter with those she trusts.
So, she was a torch singer before her marriage, and poor? And she risks it all for a fling with a flight instructor? Why the heck doesn't she just shut up, have the baby, and go on with her life?
That's the choice she makes, not all this other stuff you're talking about here.
Nora saves every penny she makes working nights as a torch singer. She resorts to unfathomable defense tactics to wage battle in the divorce, including kidnapping her own children to get them back.
Unfathomable defense tactics doesn't actually convey anything.
Playing her final trump card, she deploys her aviation skills; secretly flying her ex’s private plane to another state. Locking the prized possession in a hangar, she utilizes it as leverage to regain custody of her children.
Ok, I'm sorry, but what the hell? If I was an abusive husband who was "upper class" and my wife stole my airplane, I'd do one thing: call the cops.
There's no sense of the husband here, and it sounds like he's the antagonist. Why the hell would he want her back?
Realizing the effect baby number five is having on her oldest daughter, Nora makes an excruciating, life altering decision
I'm sorry, but this doesn't strike me as a novel about a strong woman at all. She sounds like she made choices she didn't want to live with and tried to get out of it. She doesn't actually fix her life from what you tell us here.
Published in my professional capacity, I have a Master’s degree in nursing. However, my thesis was a full length screenplay with romantic elements about men in nursing.
Your thesis for a masters in Nursing was a screenplay? Really? And it still doesn't have anything to do with writing novels.
I am a member of Romance Writers of America
ummm...ick? Adoration is pretty much the wrong word here.
Thank you for your consideration.
This is a form rejection. There's nothing likable about anyone in this novel to me. I don't get a sense of the characters at all, and the plot seems both cliched and made for Lifetime TV.
Mom of (name redacted)
oh dear godiva. Don't do this. Not now, not ever. This is a business letter. I know you love your child/ren and are proud of them, but honest to godiva this makes you look bouffant batshit nutso. Leave the kids out of the query. That's a rule.
Dear Query Shark:
To what lengths would a mother resort to get her children back?
One of the cardinal rules of queries is Don't Start with a Rhetorical Question. If you want to break the rules, you have to make it interesting and unusual. This isn't either because the answer is pretty obvious. That makes it a bad start.
Nora stole a plane. Based on a true story, my completed 91,000 word contemporary women’s fiction explores the theme of resilience amidst tragedy .
I don't give a rat's rear end what themes the novel explores. Miss Persnickety, my high school English teacher for all six years I was enrolled in the High School of the Reef pretty much cured me of wanting to discuss themes in novels.
I want to know about the story. As in: What Happens.
And I really don't care if it's based on a true story. If anything that makes me less likely to read on because, zut alors!, most people's lives don't have much of a plot.
Test readers describe Skyward Angel as a page turner they couldn’t put down.
And here's where we're done. Test readers are like bedbugs. If you have them, I don't want to ever know about it.
It doesn't matter who else read or liked this. The only opinion I value at this point is mine.
A tempestuous, thrill seeker of French Creole descent, Nora Broussard Greenwood follows her dream and learns how to fly. While soaring the skies, she falls in love with her sexy flight instructor. Their star crossed affair produces a love child. Trapped in a psychologically and physically abusive marriage, Nora seeks an escape.
This is actually where your story starts.
In the Catholic, staid and male dominated world of New Orleans, circa 1960, divorce was unthinkable. Amidst the racial tensions of the Kennedy era, Nora enlists the help of her black mammy, Mabel, and her best friend in the world, Charlene to help plot her getaway.
I pray you've never actually addressed any woman as "mammy." Even in 1960, the word had fallen out of use.
When she confronts her powerful, wealthy husband with demands for divorce, she is beaten and cast out of her upper class existence. Pregnant and homeless, she finds shelter in the bosom of The French Quarter with those she trusts.
Nora saves every penny she makes working nights as a torch singer. She resorts to unfathomable defense tactics as leverage.
Playing her final trump card, she deploys her aviation skills to regain custody of her other four children.
Uh...she's got four children? Oh, I see, the fourth one is the aviation instructors kid. Got it.
To err is human. We all make mistakes.
Well, sure, that's why God invented QueryShark and whiteout, but what the heck does that have to do with explaining what your novel is about?
Nora must conquer convention and confront the most painful decision of her life to do the most loving thing possible; give her love child away to make things right.
Conquer convention? Also you don't confront decisions. You make them. You confront choices or situations.
People across America will fall in love with Nora.
This is the kind of overwrought telling (rather than showing) that makes me wonder if you've actually read any of the previous entries. Don't tell me how (you HOPE) readers will respond.
A poignant tale of love and loss, Skyward Angel is part of a series of novels depicting strong women of the Deep South.
Telling not showing again.
This doesn't have anything to do with writing novels.
When you start a sentence with "as" you imply a connection to the clause that follows. Wanting me as your agent isn't related to membership in RWA.
So, where's the stolen plane? The most interesting part of the query is never mentioned again.