Reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod (Wikipedia)
Last Sunday I ended my posting by saying that this week I’d share with you how I started writing Three Roads Diverged. However, instead, I want to return to The Reluctant Spy for one or more postings. According to the Amazon contest rules in which I entered that manuscript, I couldn’t really write about it until now.
Why now? Because on Wednesday of this past week, Amazon posted its list of those entrants whose pitches had won them a place in the second round of the contest. My name wasn’t on that list. Please know I’m not discouraged; my getting through the first round depended on judges liking not only historical novels but also first-century Palestine ones. That’s asking a lot.
River Jordan (Wikipedia)
Perhaps more importantly, my pitch had to grab the judges’ attention. In early January I struggled with writing three hundred words to beguile a judge into wanting to read more. Click here for the “pitch” posting on my Wednesday blog and here for what I wrote on this blog.
Today, I’d like to share with you my contest pitch.
Pitch for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest
Ephraim, a first-century scribe, moves toward a crossroads: To betray—or to save—an old enemy. He hasn’t a clue how to solve his own dilemma. The truth is that he’s played many roles, but perhaps none harder than balancing between envious savior and reluctant spy. Can he manage both without undermining the foundations of his own life? And how much pride will he swallow to do so?
There’s no doubt Ephraim can destroy his archrival. After all, just a few months ago his treachery led to the beheading of another man. Now he’s hit rock bottom, hunting desperately for the way to reclaim his honor. It’s all a question of what he’ll risk in his headlong flight from righteousness.
From the intrigue of Jerusalem to the crossroads of Bethany, from the gossip of provincial Capernaum to the deadly threat of Golgotha, Ephraim journeys over more than muddy roads. The rat-infested cells of Machaerus Fortress looming over the Dead Sea cannot be any darker than the labyrinth of his own tortured mind.
His journey into the abyss of despair could end in redemption or ruin. One man holds the knife that can sever the muddle Ephraim’s made of his life. And this one man is the next victim of his betrayal.
Blackmail. Adultery. Intrigue. A crisis of faith. The themes of The Reluctant Spy remain as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago. Ephraim knows he can't change the past. But if he could let go of it, both he and his Galilean rival might escape the machinations of Jerusalem and Rome.
Sea of Galilee (Wikipedia)
What do you think? I know all of you want me to succeed. But please put aside your liking for me and for my writing and consider if this pitch on the book flap of an historical novel would grab your interest. If not, please tell me why. No suspense? Ephraim’s problems uninteresting? Too much information?
Any suggestions for the reordering that information? For building more suspense? For whetting your interest?
The reason I ask is because I plan to use some paragraphs from this pitch in the query letters I’ll now begin to write. Just as I needed to attract the Amazon judges’ interest, I’ll soon need to pique the interest of agents.
Thanks for any help you can give me. Peace.