Vicki Schultz, Writer

Welcome to my realm of sarcastic demigoddesses, misguided guardian angels, and identical twins who, despite one brother's autism, communicate more deeply than the rest of us—in a way that can't be heard. I'm particularly excited about my newest cast of characters: Pain Easers. These drug-addicted teens, once subjected to the controversial Cure, now have the abilityand the obligation—to consume the auras of pain surrounding themselves and others.

I'm seeking representation for the following young adult manuscripts: The So-Called Cure, The Persephone Paradox, and Lightning Dreams.

The So-Called Cure is a YA dystopian similar to Suzanne Young’s The Program and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. Seventeen-year-old Gideon is desperate to avoid his Third Strike—a drug bust leading to forceful injection of the Addiction Cure. The genetically-altering procedure would enable him to consume his own pain, and that of others, making self-medicating unnecessary. But then he’d have to serve as a Pain Easer for patients, replacing the prescription painkillers banned by their addictive society. Gideon has other plans, like staying clean, playing in his band, and winning back his former best friend and first love, Shay.

In a shocking betrayal, Gideon is framed for his Third Strike—and Shay lets it happen. Before she can make it right, she’s horribly injured in a car crash. They end up in the same hospital, Gideon near-death from the Cure and Shay with a broken back and fractured skull. Thrust together as Pain Easer and patient, they need each other to survive. But how can they share this intimate bond after the way they’ve hurt one another?

The So-Called Cure delves into themes of addiction, discrimination, and subjugation as the teens become leaders—and then targets—in the deadly fight for Pain Easer rights against a corrupt government agency.

The Persephone Paradox is a dark, edgy adventure with a love story at its heart. Zoe Cora Wakefield is a prodigy in all things disturbing, already going gray and losing her mind at 17. Sure, she can grow plants better than anyone, but that’s hardly a reason to live—not with her stepdad’s escalating abuse. She’s about to throw her life away, right over the edge of the school roof, when a hot Greek exchange student saves her. It turns out Galen's as dangerous as he is divine: half angel, half human, and wholly enslaved by the Fates. His job is to guide Zoe to her so-called destiny. Zoe is sick of being told what to do. Their power-struggle leads to a race through realms where Zoe discovers her spring goddess roots, the paradox of her existence, and the apocalyptic plans of the god who’s been after her all along. She must overcome a lifetime of self-doubt to stand up for all of humanity. But will she be able to sacrifice the Guide she loves to defeat the god she despises?

Lightning Dreams is moving contemporary fantasy about love and loss. Seventeen-year-old identical twins Tristan and Nova Nicholas share a secret—their minds connect during waking dreams that rescue Tristan from his world of autism. But the “normal” life Nova makes possible for his brother comes at a high price for them both.

In the real world, every sight, sound, and touch adds painful sparks to Tristan’s mind until his head throbs like a white-hot fireball of lightning. When the pain becomes unbearable, he must escape into his imagination where no one can reach him—or send his lightning to Nova. During their lightning dreams, Nova eats up the sensory feast that makes Tristan’s head throb, and he loves how their thoughts become one. Best of all is the way their dreams free Tristan from his pain, his lightning, his autism, so he can stay in the real world. But Tristan is keeping secrets, even from Nova. His seizures are getting worse with each lightning dream, and he alone suspects the life-threatening cause. Will he give up the dreams and surrender to his autism or risk everything to stay in the real world?

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