Genre: MG Speculative Fiction
Word Count: 46,000
How Did You Fall for Writing:
I’ve always been a writer, starting with my first story, Paddington in the Strawberry Patch, when I was 7 or 8. Then as a teacher I rediscovered my love of writing when I modeled the writing process with my students. At first I just wrote in the classroom, but then I started writing with a friend once a week. That was about 15 years ago, and we still meet regularly (and I can’t stop writing!).
Undercurrents is set in a future when water is more precious than oil. Comparable titles include Not a Drop to Drink (Mindy McGinnis, 2014) and The Water Wars (Cameron Stracher, 2011).
In this desperate time of drought and wildfires, 13-year-old Marin Holbert takes a summer job at her town’s water treatment plant in order to earn more water rations for her family. Marin is initially grateful to be part of the well-loved, local company, Hydrops, but she grows suspicious the company is not as reputable as it appears to be.
Marin soon discovers that Hydrops is plotting to take over water supplies across the country and has already diverted water to a lush, elite community. Even worse, she suspects that the growing number of wildfires around town are also part of their scheme. Unsure who to trust, Marin and her lifelong friend, Jax, race to expose the truth before Hydrops controls the water and everything around her burns away.
My credentials include over 20 publications for the education market and many years teaching middle school language arts.
The first 250 words of Undercurrents are pasted below. Thank you for your time and consideration.
First 250 words:
My nexus pinged with a memo from Dad: Grab your boots and gear, Marin. Meet crews in the 33rd sector.
I looked southeast. Smoke.
Then town warning sirens sounded. The nexus pinged again with the official emergency alert: Growing grass fire – 33rd sector. Homes and businesses threatened. Volunteers meet at the incident command center.
I rushed upstairs to the room I shared with my grandmother.
At the start of the summer I’d been excited that I was finally 13 and old enough to help on the fire lines. Dad had even scored second-hand equipment for me. That first fire was thrilling. Then I battled my second. And third. After number ten I just wanted to go back to school.
When I pulled on my sooty canvas pants and heavy boots, the lingering smell of past fires filled the air. I grabbed my bulging backpack. Ninety seconds after I’d gotten Dad’s memo, I was on my bike, sweating rivers in my thick gear. As I pedaled toward the smoke, more and more people on bikes flooded the car-less, potholed streets. We were a parade of volunteers weaving through town. It happened every time an emergency alert went out. We didn’t have much water to fight fires with.
But we had people.
On the bridge, I glanced down at Alton Creek. It should’ve been renamed Alton Trickle – that’s how little water there was. But even though there wasn’t much water to watch over, the Colorado Guard still patrolled the rocky banks, reminding everyone to stay away.