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Query Letter "Almost Paris"

Dear Agent:

I am seeking representation for "Almost Paris", a novel starring a zanier version, of the "Eat Pray Love" heroine about finding your writers voice at an older age.

Thirty-seven year old June House dreams to have an appartment in Paris and visit art museums are all about to come true.  An original streak has always made her feel like a duck out of water in the nursing profession but now she’s embarking on a new life in Paris.  She’s dating a guy who doesn't exactly seem like the one.  She has little to hold her back.  With a motivation of wanting to make a break with her past and a bit worried she may be running from it.  Her life is turning out as exciting as her assortment of fantasy shoes she collects and tarrot cards she worriedly reads for comfort and inspiration.  She arrives in Paris to take an art history class and finds it more difficult to find a appartment than she anticipated.   Hijinks ensue as she hussles to rent anything and connects with a group of like minded expatriots and begins a unbeknowest writing mentorship with Heinrich an eccentric widower she meets.

Now June is not only on her own—with just a handful of French words learned from a travel book—she’s entered France on a student visa that will expire in four months.  Falling in love with Paris and feeling a sense of happiness there, she extends her student visa and not wanting to give up on her Parisienne dream of becoming a different person somehow.   June tells herself outloud  "to throw herself on the mercy of the goddess Fortuna.” With these words things seem to start to go her way a bit.  She can rely on her new found friend and mentor Heinrich, 72, a Dutch immigre just after WWII.   He recently suffered the tragedy of his beloved wife's death, is a successful retired sculptor, writes left handed and backward like da Vinci and is working on his PhD thesis on Ghengis Khan.  It is who lets her rent a studio he owns, in one of the most fashionable parts of Paris for a pittance. Their mistmatched relationship heals and comforts each other as she comes to the realizations she is a writer at heart and Heinrich enjoys life again.

Soon June finds herself working a part-time internship allowed by her student visa.  Though, June is willing to endure almost anything to hang on to her sense of wanting to find something about herself.  At first she thought she just wanted a break from her old life or to live a more creative lifestyle but ultimately she stumbles onto finding her writers voice at an older age.

Book quote:  "In other words June was old enough to know better than to do this.  In the tarot there is the Fool card. The Fool is the inexperienced risk taker.  The innocent who believes that wherever you go people will be kind.  Well after one has fallen in love and lost or failed at something important, one becomes the Hanged Man.  Or the card of the experienced risk taker who knows what could happen.  June had wisdom.  The trick was to act like an innocent despite this wisdom.  It was frightening to go ahead knowing it might not end well.  She hoped to pull the goddess of Fortune card."

I am the author of two working drafts, fiction novels which are Paris themed "Almost Paris" and "Outside Paris".  My first studies were a B.A. in Fine Arts Painting, followed by a B.S.N. and have completed a Masters and thesis in Urban Planning respectively,  all from the University of New Mexico, and recently began a career as a researcher in Paris.  I attended the Wice Writers' Conference in 2008 where I met an agent who encouraged me to work on my novel for six months and submit it. 

I am American and married 7 years to a French man, it is both our second marriages. I now live in Paris and return the USA as often as I can, so my young son feels connected there. We are proud that he is both French and American and bilingual.  I speak conversational French and Spanish, and have recently begun blogging on Red Room Writers.  Please read my other blogs in order to get a sense of my philosophy and writing style.

Thank you for your consideration.
Christine Coonen-Voillemin

coonen-voillemin@msn.com

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