|Pitch from Baseball's Only World Series Perfect Game, Don Larsen, 1956|
This is my pitch for MOURNING DOVE, the novel I, Shawn Oueinsteen, wrote to help put mankind's climate-disaster mitigation on a war footing.
Logline for MOURNING DOVE
It is Jen’s 16th birthday. As her mother’s body is lowered into the ground, Jen vows to fulfill her mother's mission to lead their family to Antarctica, despite the danger of getting past those who survive the climate catastrophe by stealing from people they kill.
Elevator Speech from Shawn Oueinsteen for MOURNING DOVE
There’s my mission and my character’s mission. Mine is to prevent the climate-caused deaths of billions of people. I’m inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s apocryphal quote to UNCLE TOM’S CABIN author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “So you’re the lady who started this great war.” Her novel, UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, helped end slavery. My character, Jen, accepts her mission on the day before her 16th birthday. Her mother asks that together they should lead their family from a climate-saving rocket-launching station in Alaska to reach cousins rebuilding humanity in Antarctica so Jen and her siblings can for the first time be with people their own age. A climate catastrophe causes her mother’s death. As her mother’s body is being lowered into the ground, Jen commits to fulfilling her mother’s mission. But it means traveling past those made so desperate by the climate catastrophe that they survive the heat, thirst, and hunger by killing others to steal their possessions.
Short Synopsis (aka Jacket-Flap Summary)
Jen’s family has been very isolated in Alaska, working to save civilization from climate disaster. But now Jen’s mother, a scientist, asks Jen that they work side-by-side to lead the family to Antarctica so Jen and her siblings can finally meet people their own age. She agrees, but her mother dies that very day in a freak snowstorm. At her mother’s funeral, Jen vows to fulfill the mission. Her beloved grandmother, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is Jen's very best friend but is in failing health and insists she and Jen’s grandfather stay behind. In the toughest decision of her life, Jen walks away from being a loving caretaker to leading the mission she promised to her mother's soul.
Hearing a story from her grandfather of a mourning dove truly mourning its mate, Jen envisions the souls of the doves flying side-by-side in love for all eternity. In Chicago, the first stop of the journey, Jen reads poems written once each day by a mourning husband to his wife who died a month before his own death. She imagines him writing and then reading poems to his beloved every day, also for all eternity. Jen sees her mission as getting to Antarctica to find true romance for herself, her brother, and maybe now even her father.
At Denver, Jen sees where her father's first love died in his arms. Then Jen and her family crash land in Brazil, where they are attacked by evil, desperate climate migrants. They suffer terribly, but are helped by others who can't read or even count past ten, as there is no longer a need. The family continues on by boat, but they have to fight off pirates near the South Orkney Islands. When they finally reach Antarctica, they find the leader of their cousins has made herself queen, an evil queen. She has them arrested and tries to steal what they have. Finding romance in Antarctica turns out to be much harder than expected. Do they save life on Earth? Do they defeat their cousin and achieve romance, love, marriage, and children? Those questions are answered in the final pages.
Short Author Autobiography of Shawn Oueinsteen
I suffer when I see that my hometown, Miami, today experiences sunny day floods, with breaking septic tanks releasing human excrement into the water in the streets, schoolyards, and playgrounds. The ground under Miami is porous limestone and the city cannot be saved. It will become another Atlantis. I moved to Albany, NY, when I was six. I built and played in snow forts that lasted from September to March. Now snow melts in a day.
To research MOURNING DOVE, my climate novel, I connected on social media with 36,000 climate scientists, activists, and other climate professionals, and I communicate with many of them. I also have read more than 100 climate-change books, mostly about climate science. For marketing MOURNING DOVE, I’ve been on 5 podcasts, I will appear in a Netflix documentary, I have a blog with 10,000 hits, an author webpage with 100,000 hits, and 66,000 total social media connections/friends.
I studied writing under University of Maryland writer-in-residence J.R. Salamanca as I worked for a Masters in creative writing. I participated in The Vicious Circle, a brutal writer’s workshop, for many years. At the age of 22, I had a short novel of mine published by Ballantine Books, a subsidiary of Random House. For my day job, I write proposals to convince the US Government that the contracting company I work for is better than all other contracting companies. My day-job Facebook page says, “I write proposals and I write fiction, but that’s redundant.”
A pitch for a novel also usually includes a long author biography and a long synopsis. The long biography can be found on this blog here. The long synopsis can be found on this blog but it includes spoilers so I do not link to it here. If you really want to read it, ask me to send you the link, or you can search for it. MOURNING DOVE'S draft agent query letter also is on this blog.
I am very confident that a top literary agent will represent me and will sell MOURNING DOVE to a great publishing company. To follow the progress of MOURNING DOVE, and see whether my confidence is justified, please friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks.