Here’s another piece of feedback for a Love Inspired Historical. In a Pirate’s Debt is by Elva Cobb Martin! (@elvacobbmartin)
Marry Sir Roger Poole? Never. Travay Allston rushed into her bedroom, eased the door shut, and fell against it. She pressed her fingers against her rib cage, trying to free the painful breaths trapped inside. Tears trailed down her face onto her dinner gown. How could her stepfather gamble away her hand in marriage? Without lighting a candle, she sprang into action. How much time did she have? She ripped the back buttons from her dress, pulled off petticoats, hoop, stockings, and evening shoes.
Oh, Mama, I miss you!
She snatched men’s clothing stashed under a floorboard after her mother’s untimely death and donned breeches, a shirt, and knee boots. Gathering the oversized top at her waist, Travay tied it with a scrap of cloth. She pulled her hair down from its tight curls and stuffed the thick strands under a cap. Her fingers brushed against her mother’s locket at her throat. From the back of a drawer she retrieved a leather coin purse filled with her savings from seventeen birthdays and stuffed it into her pocket.
Swallowing the huge lump in her throat, Travay swung her mother’s dark cloak over her shoulders. Her reflection in the moonlit mirror revealed a slender young man with troubled blue eyes and stray auburn curls springing from under a sailor’s cap. She lifted her chin. Somehow she would make it to Kingston. She would secure passage on a ship to Charles Town and to her only living relative. She pushed a small knife into the top of her boot and darted from the room.
She hastened down the servants’ steps at the back of the plantation house. The moon sailed in and out of clouds like a ghostly galleon. A gusty wind with a hint of salt and threat of rain whipped across her hot face.
Travay sprinted toward the barn. Could she make it to Kingston parish and to her mother’s old minister friend before her stepfather and Sir Roger discovered her missing?
Her Arabian filly’s soft neigh met Travay’s steps into the pitch-black barn. The familiar smell of hay and horses brought no calming effect tonight. She slipped Arundel’s bridle over the horse’s head, opened the stable door, and led her to the hitching post. Tossing the saddle onto the silky black back, she cinched it and mounted. At the touch of Travay’s knee and her soft whisper, the Arabian sprang out of the barn entrance toward the main road.
The high–pitched neigh of Sir Roger’s thoroughbred tied at the front of the house trumpeted across the lawn. Arundel tossed her head and galloped faster.
Twisting in the saddle, Travay saw a lantern pass the front window toward the stairs. Iron claws reached out of the shadows and gripped her. Her stepfather and Sir Roger would be calling up to her. How long would it take them to realize she had run away?
First Page Feedback from Emily Krupin
Great start! I enjoyed the writing style, and your voice is on target for Love Inspired Historical. The story sounds appealing and has overall potential. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you continue to work on this:
• Be aware of your choice in diction. For Love Inspired Historical, we try to avoid mentions of “gambling” or “ghostly.” We publish books with a Christian worldview and wholesome values.
• Omit suggestive connotations. Characters shouldn’t really be seen stripping down in Love Inspired Historical.
• Organize character thoughts and prose logically. For example, the “Oh, Mama, I miss you,” should probably come after the mention of her mother’s death. Otherwise it could cause confusion for readers, since they don’t know about her mother yet.
• Introduce both the hero and heroine in the first chapter. I realize this is only the first page, and I just wanted to bring up that your leading male should be obvious by the end of the first chapter. Is Sir Roger Poole actually going to be her hero? Or will someone else soon be introduced? If the latter, please note that the Love Inspired lines prefer not to have love triangles. I’ll be interested to see how the romance comes into play!
Thank you, Elva, for sharing this with us.