Over the Mountains
by Rhiannon D’Averc
‘Over the Mountains’ is a novel set in a fantasy world but with historic tones and references, linked very closely to the Tudor times. The protagonist is thrust unwillingly and unprepared into being a King, and struggles throughout to act as a King should and become the son and heir his father deserved. Despite many trials, plots on his life, calls for his stepping down from the throne and even his eventual usurpation, he comes through, grows into a great leader, takes back the throne and brings peace to the land. The hurdle he must overcome lies in his self-belief and confidence in the fact that he is the rightful King, and that he can make a good job of it. With many opportunities for romance, bravery, treachery and drama along the way, this novel will grab the heart of anyone who loves a little adventure as well as those who enjoy reading historical novels – with a faithful representation of Tudor England, but with entirely new characters and events, it takes the zeitgeist and twists it in a whole new way.
Arielle: This is the kind of book that could capture the large number of Anglophiles obsessed with Tudor England. And I believe that you are going to give us, as you call it, a faithful representation of the time. What I’m not convinced of, based on the pitch, is that you have created a page-turner. Your pitch should start with a piece of action or a strong word picture—not an idea upon which your book is based. You can save the idea for the end (which, you do very well). Hook us first. Secondly, there is no specificity to this pitch. Everything is described in generic terms.
David: The idea of an everyman thrust into the role of King, and having to confront his own self-doubt, test his courage and gain the self-confidence necessary to be a true leader is a really good one. But your pitch demonstrates one of my pet peeves. Don’t start your pitch by telling me it’s a novel. It’s dull. Most writers just have no idea how inundated and overworked agents and editors are. Even as readers, we’re bombarded by so much. We live in a Short Attention Span society. Right from the get go, you have to grab me. Don’t tell me it’s a fantasy world, show it to me. Don’t tell me it’s historical, give me images which place it in history. Don’t tell me about a protagonist, give me a hero or heroine that I can root for with all my heart to overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds, which he/she is going up against. Don’t tell me there’s romance, make my heartstrings go zing. It’s like those people who wear shirts that say SEXY on them. If you don’t mind, let me be the judge of that. Your pitch is filled with generalities and generic language. It didn’t grab my heart.