Four Novels

My hard drive is littered with novels in various states of development, some going back thirty years. Most are not very good, but I consider them part of my training. But now four of them, in my humble opinion, are worthy of being published. So I’ve been querying agents and am hopeful that one will see merit in my admittedly quirky approach to story telling. I’ll briefly describe each one below:

SIXTEEN is about two outcast teenagers who fall in love and try to save each other from the death wish that threatens to take their lives. Irene already has scars on her wrist, and Nick has a fresh rope burn on his neck. Both have traumatic pasts, and now Irene’s is about to intrude on the present. 84,000 words, literary YA. Not for kids because of frank treatments of all the things parents fear: sex, drugs, bad language, suicide. See the opening here.

CLAIRE is also about teenagers, a fifteen-year-old girl with a deck of Tarot cards, and a fourteen-year-old boy who leads a simple life until Claire moves in next door. She and her father were big fans of JFK, but on election day the two of them were out for a ride and flew off the road into the river. Her father was killed, and now Claire is obsessed with President Kennedy. Her cards reveal a terrible future, and she wants to save him. But Claire and Morgan, who are good friends by now, are young and poor, and it will be quite a feat to get to Washington DC. 95,000 words, mainstream fiction. See the opening here.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE WRIGHTS begins in 1959 with the Wright family. All four members have problems. Jill is thirteen and worries that she’s becoming a lesbian, and in 1959 that was dangerous. Her brother is sixteen and can’t wait to escape their small town. So he’s trying to fix the family car, and dreams of driving off with a girl. Their mother gets through the day with tranquilizers, and is terrified that she will be sent back to the asylum. Cecil, their father, repairs radios and televisions, anything electrical, but he’s a “tube man” and the world is switching over to transistors. His business is suffering. And now the town clock stops. A minor event, but small ripples disrupt their lives, and before long the family is in free fall. 85,000 words, mainstream fiction. See the opening here.

ONCE A KILLER follows twelve-year-old Jack Smith for forty years after he shoots his abusive father to save his mother. He runs away from home, lives with a widow in isolation until he is sixteen, accidently shoots his best friend, and runs again. Now far from home he has a wife and child, and the uneasiness that comes with his reckless past. He goes home to make amends. That doesn’t go right, either. 90,000 words, mainstream fiction. See the opening here.

Copyright 2021 by Philip Tate