The author is "Susannah".
I am enclosing the opening chapters and synopsis for my 83,000 word novel, Stone Burial. Stone Burial is the story of Georgia Fuller, and how her encounter with the apparently idyllic English countryside forces her to face up to what lies beneath – not only the bodies which lie buried under the soil but also the secrets of her own past. The book explores how both history and our own lives are embedded in a particular place, and how forgetting can sometimes be easier than facing the truth.
I have previously written a novel which was accepted by an agent in 2001 but did not find a publisher. Since then, I have also attended a number of fiction writing workshops and courses in the course of working on Stone Burial. My writing has been described as ‘very strong’ by ***** of *****, and ‘very beautiful’ by *****. Most recently, I have been mentored by the novelist *****, who feels that the book is very much ready for submission and has described it as ‘an intelligent novel and sometimes a lyrical one, imbued with a convincing feel for English landscapes and English history,’ and I am currently working with him on my next book.
My career to date has been as a tv producer, covering subjects as diverse as art and archaeology to interior design and gardening. Before this, I have had a non-fiction book published (***** Fourth Estate 1992), as well as writing for the architectural magazine Blueprint. And since then, writing – from scripts to programme proposals – has been at the heart of my work in television.
I have submitted the novel to a small number of literary agents, but will of course inform you if I get any interest elsewhere.
Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Stone Burial - first 500 words:
The two men walked away from the field in the thick blackout night. Each kept silent, their faces shadowed, the moon now clouded and gone. Words were no more use here. They had done what had been asked of them and it was all over.
But had they done enough, thought the poet. How deep did you have to bury the dead before they troubled you no more?
The folded tarpaulin started to lift in the wind, and he clasped it closer to his chest. Breathing in, he could smell the damp earth it had lain on, a scent of grass and dung, inert stone and everything that had once lived, flesh, fur and bone. What else lay buried in these mute fields, he wondered. Houses or churches, timber, brick and ashes, creatures of the hedgerows, beasts of the fields. Then he stopped; he didn’t want to follow these thoughts any further, to come across what they had added, what they had done in the night. Instead, he kept his eyes down, concentrating on the muddy furrows of the lane.
Ahead of him, the artist paused for a moment, turning back to look where they had been. Behind them, the clump of beeches and the great barrow still loomed, dark on dark, a vast shadow against the drifting clouds of the night.
‘I can almost see it now,’ he said, half under his breath.
He’d always made a point of refusing the countryside, despising the nice pictures of hills and skies it brought into being. He painted to make sense of other places, of cities and machines, of the whirling crowd caught up in their motion. What could he take from this impassive stillness of grass and trees and earth? But now it was a relief to stand outside history, to be in a place which took no heed of the works of men; the war and its dead were just one more thing for the valley to absorb back into its soil.
He turned to his friend, as though wanting him to understand. ‘I mean, what he found here. What he understood.’
For a moment he seemed about to speak again, to explain, but then his face fell. ‘Not that this makes the slightest bit of difference of course. After all, I am just a tool of the state, employed to draw factories and armaments and workers for the common good.’ He laughed, the noise too harsh in the darkness. ‘So there is no point even imagining it. No point at all’ For a moment he stared down at his boots, alien presences on the rutted e arth of the path. He does not know that he will die in a plane crash in a few months time, on his way to see men building airfields in the rain, just one more of the piled dead. He will never be able to say what it is that he has seen here.
He looked up at his friend. ‘Got a ciggie?’ he said.