After sending out queries to over 100 agents and small presses, after 7 of them responded favorably and asked for partial manuscripts, after those 7 eventually declined stating there really isn't much of a market for YA western comedies these days, I finally received my first full request for Westward, Tally Ho!
But not from an agent. From a small press. The editor liked my query and first three chapters, and she asked to take a look at the entire novel. What's it about? I'm so glad you asked:
For your consideration, my YA adventure Westward, Tally Ho! (64,900 words), a unique fish-out-of-water comedy. Young readers will appreciate the humor, action, and variety of characters in Westward, Tally Ho! as well as the themes that dominate this novel: Loyalty is priceless, and nothing is as indomitable as the human spirit.
How are your survival skills? It's the late 19th century, and you're a sixteen-year-old English aristocrat lost in the middle of the American Southwest. Your guide lies comatose back in town; a lynch mob is after you for horse theft; irritable natives are hot on your trail; and the woman with you is not the type you’d bring home to visit your mother. Would you survive long enough to find safety? Or would you curl into a fetal position and cry?
This is where Clarence Oliver Edwards finds himself in Westward, Tally Ho! Bored with his privileged life in England and weary of the relatives who share his family estate, Clarence follows his recently dismissed butler, Guthrie, on a non-stop adventure from the busy streets of Boston to the dusty trails of Santa Fe. What begins as Guthrie’s search for his long-lost daughter becomes a shocking introduction to the American West for Clarence. His idea of proper etiquette is stretched to the limit as he's bombarded with characters of all types: tough gunslingers, seductive saloon girls, crafty frontier traders, an eccentric Zuni Indian chief, and a wild hermit. Through it all, Clarence learns the value of loyalty and the cost of redemption; but most importantly, he discovers a degree of inner strength he never knew he possessed in the face of many unpredictable trials that come his way.
Westward, Tally Ho! is one of my shorter novels, but it's the only one so far to receive Nana Fowler's stamp of approval. At 87 years young and still a voracious reader, her opinion means more to me than those 100 agents combined. I try not to share too much of my science fiction with her, though. She can't abide science fiction. Except for Captain Quasar. "Oh, I like him," she says with a little smile.