Name: Hannah Costelle
What you Write: Mysteries (traditional/literary)
Agent: Amanda Jain
Why BookEnds? I gravitated immediately toward the open, personable style at BookEnds. A lot of the research I did about how to find and query agents came from the BookEnds blog posts and videos. I’m extremely excited to work with Amanda and the whole team.
Like many writers, I thought my book would be impossible to pin down in a 200-word query. Surely the plot was too complex to distill into a few punchy sentences, surely the style was too niche to compare with that of other authors. I had been tangled up in character arcs and sentence structure for so long that by the time my book was ready to go out into the world, I had no idea how to describe it.
But then my manuscript left the safety of my narrow perspective and got into the hands of a few trusted readers. And I was amazed that they all drew the same comparisons: Agatha Christie, Louise Penny, Wes Anderson. They used similar descriptors: “quirky,” “odd,” “atmospheric,” “cinematic.” For them, all the words I had been obsessively rearranging on the page formed, well, a book, with a pretty easily describable plot and style. And with their feedback, I suddenly had the language I needed to articulate my work in a query.
For me, writing has been an isolated experience. I’ve been like a weird hermit shuffling around her yard muttering to herself as she plants and weeds an elaborate garden. But finishing the book and writing the query doesn’t work that way. You can’t really see what the garden has become until you take off the gloves and stroll around the flower beds, preferably with a few horticulturist friends to compliment you on your pruning.
Dear Ms. Jain:
Every guest in the Amaranth Hotel has a secret that keeps them up at night.
One of these sleepless guests is Agatha, a jewel thief on the run who hides out in this dilapidated hotel in the mountains only to become embroiled in a murder investigation when a body is discovered in the elevator. Teaming up with another guest, a man who writes down everything he sees in an odd notebook, Agatha soon becomes entangled in the hotel’s mystery even as she attempts to avoid detection from police and her fellow guests.
Told from the stroke of midnight on Agatha’s first day in the hotel to the stroke of midnight on her last, THREE DAYS IN THE AMARANTH HOTEL (79,600 words) is an atmospheric, character-driven literary mystery reminiscent of Louise Penny (A Rule Against Murder), featuring a cast of eccentric characters in the style of Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None). The characters’ journeys leave room for potential sequels.
I have worked on this novel over the last few years and have polished it during my time in the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University.
Thank you for your consideration.