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28. WINTERSOUL – Young Adult Fairytale Retelling

Monday, 3 November 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Assorted_Uzi_Water_Guns_lgMentor Name: Jessie Humphries

Mentee Name: Mara Rutherford


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Fairytale Retelling

Word Count: 70,000


Raised in Russia by her Japanese-American father, 17-year-old Akira is as different from her classmates as her sword fighting is from her ballet lessons. When she discovers chilling links between a serial killer and her grandfather’s fairytales, Akira must battle an immortal hell-bent on adding her soul to his collection.


Listen carefully, child, and I will tell you the story of Kaschey the Deathless.

My grandfather had been trying to frighten me with the same fairytale my entire life. It was the kind of tale villagers told children to keep them from wandering into the woods, the Russian equivalent of Little Red Riding Hood. But just as I was never scared of a wolf wearing a bonnet and bifocals, there was nothing remotely frightening about my grandfather, so I paid little attention to his stories.

Solavushka, are you listening?”

I smiled at the nickname—Nightingale—which I earned as an infant when I kept everyone up all night with my “singing.” “Da, da. I know about Kaschey. Take your medicine, please.”

My grandfather batted my hand away. He’d told the story frequently when I was young, but lately it had taken a different turn. Dementia, my father insisted.

“He will not appear as a wicked old man with a long white beard and make you his wife, the way the storybooks say.”

“Goodnight, Deduskha.” I reached for the lamp, but he gripped my arm with surprising strength. “What is it now?”

“I met him when I was a young man, Akira. He had taken the form of a small girl.”

“Oh really? And how did you know it was Kaschey?”

“Because I saw his teeth. Rows and rows, needle sharp. And he made a horrible noise, like an insect screaming. It was loud enough to raise the dead.”

Filed: Pitch Wars

  • Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d happily take a peek at the first 50 pages if you care to send to jmccarthy@dystel.com.

  • Jaida Temperly says:

    Hi Mara! I’d love to read more. Please send the first 50 pgs. to query[at]newleafliterary[dot]com, with the subject line: “Pitch Wars Request – Jaida”. Thank you!

  • Hi Mara, Russian folklore and fantasy? Yes, please! I’d love to read more. Please email your query, 1st 50 pages, and a synopsis (if available) as Word documents to brooks(at)thebentagency(dot)com, with the subject line “Pitch Wars Request: WINTERSOUL.” If you have any questions, just let me know. Cheers, Brooks

  • Stefanie Lieberman says:

    I’m in! Please send the query, synopsis and first ten pages to submissions(at)janklow(dot)com. In the subject line of your email, please type: For Stefanie Lieberman – PITCH WARS REQUEST

  • Thao Le says:

    Hi Mara,
    I have a great weakness for fairytales and folklore so you hooked me with that. Could you send me the first 50 pages as word doc attachment to: thao(at)dijkstraagency(dot)com? Please also include a query letter, complete synopsis, and a short bio in the email and have “PITCHWARS Request: WINTERSOUL” in your subject line. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • Laura Zats says:

    LOVE! I’d love to see the first three chapters! Send in an attachment with a query in the body of an email to laura@redsofaliterary.com.

  • Uwe Stender says:

    Hi Mara,
    Please send the complete manuscript as an MS Word attachment to uwe@triadaus.com
    Please also include the query and type “PITCHWARS Request” in your subject line. Looking forward to reading.
    All best,

  • Rachel Brooks says:

    I’d love to read more! Please send the query plus the full manuscript as a word doc attachment to rachel(at)lperkinsagency(dot)com with “Pitch Wars Request: Title” in the subject line. Thanks!

  • Rena Rossner says:

    Wow! Mara!

    I’d love to read this full manuscript. Can you send it attached as word document to: rena(at)thedeborahharrisagency(dot)com – and please reference PITCHWARS in the subject line.


    – Rena

  • And I’m hooked. Please send the first 100 pages, query and synopsis as an attachment to Sarah@CorvisieroAgency.com

  • Victoria marini says:

    Yes!!!! Russian folk tale! I would love to see this manuscript! Please send a query plus the full to victoria.gsliterary@gmail.com Thank you!

  • Louise Fury says:

    I’m always up for a well-written fairy tale retelling. Please send the first fifty pages as a .doc attachment, with your query as page one, to furyqueries @ thebentagency.com. For the subject line, put PITCH WARS: YOUR TITLE. Thanks!

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