Ask Daphne! About My Query LXXX

victorianbootsjpgVictorian-style boots for Tally’s Victorian-era novel, as follows:

Dear Ms. Unfeasible,

London, 1882.

Seven years ago, Emil Aleric and his sister were kidnapped. Emil survived. His sister didn’t. So when he hears news of a serial killer rampaging London, he’s convinced that his former abductor is on the move again. The peculiarities of the murders– a note quoting Alice in Wonderland is found at each scene– go hand in hand with the name his tormentor fashioned for himself: The Hatter. When his guardian, Officer Corwin James, is put in charge of the case, Emil thinks it must be fate.

Corwin’s not to keen on Emil having anything to do with the case, but Emil’s extensive knowledge of the murderer’s methods is too invaluable to waste. Yet as the two get closer and closer to tracking the man down, Emil realizes exactly what confronting his past will mean. He can live with the nightmares. But if he fails to avenge his sister’s death, he doesn’t know how he’ll live with himself– if he lives at all.

Complete at 51,000 words, MAD AS A HATTER is a YA historical novel written in alternating points of view. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Tally

This is certainly an intriguing query, and probably something that would entice me to read the first pages, and see how I feel about the character. Because that’s what I don’t get a ton of here — a sense of who Emil is as a character. So he’s convinced his abductor is out and about again — how does that make him feel? Is he terrified? Does he see it as an opportunity?

How does he feel about his guardian (and how did Emil get partnered with Corwin? Are they related? Was he the original investigating officer? What’s the backstory?) working the case?

For me, the turning point is the sentence, “But if he fails to avenge his sister’s death, he doesn’t know how he’ll live with himself– if he lives at all.” I feel like this is structured to be the real hook of the story, and yet, I can’t help but wonder how he’s lived with himself for the past seven years, since he failed to keep his sister alive the first time he encountered the Hatter.

Additionally, I think you want to specify who the two alternating points of view are from — I’m assuming Corwin is the other one, but if so, I’m leery about bringing an adult protagonist into a YA story. Why isn’t it just Emil’s tale to tell?

What do you think?

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