I’m excited that you are here to review the #WriteMentor Showcase. I believe the programme sets the stage for success for new writers and personally I have found the experience of working with a mentor invaluable.

The World Collective saved us from extinction and guaranteed a life of purpose without want. Order and reason guide our steps as we live out our stories.

The code decides our fate, our role and the day of our death.

But the code has been altered.

Sixteen-year-old Ry was born into a perfect world but hasn’t had a perfect life. The only survivor of the worst terrorist attack in the history of the World Collective (WC) Ry is an anomaly, in her physical appearance, how she values her family, and her dreams.

Activated for her vital role four years early, Ry is forced to start over in her friendships and understanding of herself. Her world is shaken with rumors of people shortages within the WCs perfect system and the new knowledge that her dad installed a program on her imbedded technology to control what she saw and heard in the world around her.

Now a member of the newly created DATA team, Ry is contacted by the very terrorist she is tasked with capturing. Tazib is wreaking havoc on the coding that controls the vital roles and even the Day of Thanatos, the day one dies. With thousands dying and the world unaware, Ry must not hesitate to do whatever is necessary to stop Tazib if she hopes to save those she cares about. Even if it means being branded a terrorist herself.

Encryption is a YA dystopian speculative novel at 92 000 words that examines the question of what gives us worth and the role and risks of technology in our lives. It has series potential with a journey of self-discovery like Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles and an advanced technological world like Jay Kristoff’s Lifel1k3.

After completing a Bachelor in English and Education, I spent over ten years teaching before admitting that my true love has always been stories. A #WriteMentor mentee for 2019, I live with my cyber security savvy husband and two daughters, one of which is a voracious reader who keeps me on the hunt for excellent MG and YA fiction and who will always be my harshest critic.

Thank you for taking the time to read this query. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Susan Cullen

 

Cullen/ENCRYPTION

Like all children, I was taught that death is nothing to fear.

The first Thanatos I attended was for my grandmother though no one uses that word anymore. I was four and I spent most of the day running between the legs of the adults while I played tag with Rube. I was thrilled to have extra time with my big brother, he knew so many good games and I couldn’t wait to get back to the dorm and teach them to my friends.

I don’t remember much about the ceremony. I was more interested in the fancy clothes than the words. I spent most of the time imagining what I would wear when it was my day, something green, my favourite colour, and sparkles, lots of sparkles because it would be a special day just for me.

When everyone clapped as Grandma laid her hand on the Thanatos slab I followed Rube’s lead and hollered too. The whole day was a magic filled fairy tale, the food and dancing and laughter. The fact that it was the last day of her life didn’t register. I kissed her cheek at the end of the night and giggled with Rube at how silly it felt to be putting an adult to bed. When she closed her eyes with a smile on her face I imagined the wonderful dreams that waited for her.

My dorm leaders used to laugh at me. I was always the first one to jump into bed each night. I couldn’t wait to go to sleep. If the world after life was anything like my dreams of the garden then I knew it was right not to fear death.

But that was before.

“Ry? You in here?”

I breathe in the rich smell of cedar from the bathroom walls and remain motionless on my spot on the lid of the toilet.

“Come on Ry, you can’t hide out in here the whole time.” Loren is pushing the stall doors open one by one, “You’re sixteen, not six.”

I slide from my hiding spot and step out to the sinks. “I’m not hiding,” I huff.

Loren rolls her eyes.

“I thought you were tied up with something and weren’t coming.”

“What kind of friend do you think I am?” She asks with mock horror.

“You are the best type of friend,” I pull her into a hug.

“Of course I am,” her muffled reply comes from around my armpit. She pulls herself free and I jealously eye how easily she is able to smooth her long hair flat. My own mix of dark and light curls tend to do whatever they want regardless of how much time I spend on them. Her almond eyes narrow when she studies my face, “You know there was no way I was letting you celebrate today on your own. And it’s a good thing I came.”

“I wasn’t hiding,” I repeat.