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Monday, 28 October 2013  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

witch hat and black cat

Category: MG
Genre: Mystery
Word Count: 48,000


For Quincy Strange, forgetting to button your top button is just like walking out of the house with no pants on.  With his button firmly fastened, and driven by his 187 IQ, he discovers that a canceled CIA project involving genetic testing on students is resurfacing at his middle school.  As Quincy pieces together the puzzle, he balances trying to find out who’s behind Project Bluebird Returns, what they want from him, and how to keep their ten test subjects alive.

Question 1: In your MC’s voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why?

I would most relate to the Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper dressed as The Doppler Effect.  Anything Sheldon does I would relate to, being a fellow genius and all, and besides who wouldn’t want to be dressed as “the apparent change in the frequency of a wave caused by relative motion between the source of the wave and the observer.”

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)?

My manuscript is a treat because of my unlikely-likeable main character, with his scientific wit and his absolute social awkwardness, he’s strange and relatable at the same time.   I also use real historical events, like Operation Bluebird, Project Paperclip, and Project MKUltra, to make the mystery more interesting.

First 250 words:

Scientifically speaking, if I cared to try a little harder, then I would fit in.  Designing an experiment that blends what I know of society with who I am is definitely doable, and it would probably be more successful than the heat-resistant snow cone experiment I attempted in the third grade.  But in the thirteen years of my life, I’ve learned that I should avoid social experimentation in any form.  Being invited to scientific lectures instead of birthday parties, and hanging around labs instead of swimming ponds is typical for me.  I’ve known for a long time that frizzy hair, pencil-like arms, and properly-buttoned polo shirts, will forever classify me as an outsider.

My mind knows that my outcast status is as permanent as Earth’s gravitational pull, but every time I think about it, my hand reaches for my top button.  Checking my button is one thing I can’t control.  I do it every time I remember I will never be like everyone else.  It’s almost a reflex now because, for me, buttoning two out of three buttons is like walking out of the house with no pants on.  And even though I don’t know another person in this universe, or any universe yet to be discovered, who feels as strongly about top buttons, it doesn’t stop my button-checking impulse.  It’s just further proof that I’m not what most would expect me to be.  I’m clearly not a typical eighth grader.

I’m Strange.  Literally, my name is Strange.  Quincy Strange, according to my birth certificate, which some would argue has a low probability of delivering false information.

Filed: Contests, Misc

  • I just wanted to stop by and say I love everything about your entry. The voice, the premise, the character everything! LITERALLY! This sounds like such a fun MG book and I personally would love to read it!

  • I am so smitten with Quincy it’s practically shameful (I’m a 35-year-old woman, after all, and he’s in 8th grade). Seriously, he’s awesome, as is your story concept, voice, etc. Keep putting this one out there. Brenda chose it for a reason. Plus, I neeeed to read this with my kids some day! Too brilliant not to be shared with the world! 🙂

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