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The Writer’s Voice: Team Coffeehouse #8 – AMERICAN HONEY

Friday, 19 June 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake



Genre: Women’s Fiction
Word Count: 77,000


Dear Agent:

Sandy Jo thought if she didn’t escape Texas and her controlling mother after high school, she’d lose her soul. After being dumped by her boyfriend in New York, at twenty-five she’s realizing she feels more lost than when she left.

Hoping to find herself again, Sandy Jo returns to a favorite childhood ranch and is confronted by her past. The last summer she had spent at the ranch, she was nearly seventeen, had a fling with a cowboy, and dealt with the tragedy of her friend’s mysterious disappearance and the discovery of her body weeks later. But when her mother shows up at the ranch demanding she knows what’s best for her, Sandy Jo must find the strength to stand up for herself once and for all.

If Sandy Jo is ever going to put back the pieces of her life in New York, she must learn the truth about what happened that summer at the ranch. In the process, she discovers that a broken mother and a lost daughter can find their way to forgiveness, and that a certain cowboy might just be worth a second shot.

AMERICAN HONEY weaves together a journey in two timelines about coming-of-age, leaving your past behind, and then recapturing it.

First Page:

I knew that if I got stuck in Texas, I’d lose my soul. After college upstate at Vassar, I wasn’t going anywhere close to home, so I moved to Manhattan. I remembered feeling liberated at first, knowing I was so far away from Mama and that I was going to have my own life here. People seemed to walk around with purpose in New York and I wanted to know what that felt like. But traipsing through the same busy streets in the city today, it didn’t hold the luster it once did.

Walking down 63rd Avenue towards Central Park, I tried to recapture the things I loved about New York. I remembered the energy the city exuded and feeling excited by the possibilities. And I knew that any choices I’d have to make would’ve been all mine for the making. Did I want to wear those too-tall high heels out tonight…yes, why not? There was no Mama waiting to holler at me about changing everything I had on.

Meandering down the street while staring up at the clouds, I was hoping to find inspiration somewhere. Two and a half days ago, all the skies’ hues washed away and I was praying to find any hint of color to bring me back. I wasn’t the type of person to let a breakup dishevel me like this, but things were different with Rich. He made New York make sense for me. But not anymore, so I needed to move on.


  • Great succinct query. I think you’ve hit all the highlights and I can’t wait to see what the book is about. Nice work.

    Love this new opening line! “I knew that if I got stuck in Texas, I’d lose my soul.” It really makes me want to know why the MC didn’t want to get stuck in Texas!


  • Caitie Flum says:

    I vote for you!

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