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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
Adult #29: THE HEAT OF THE MIDDAY SUN (Literary Suspense #OwnVoices)
Nigar Alam
Mentored by:
Kristen Lepionka
Book Title:
The Heat of the Midday Sun
2018 Adult Entries
Literary Suspense (#OwnVoices)
Word Count:


When Layla’s father is murdered in the Karachi desert, he leaves behind mysteries about his life–and about Layla’s birth. Exposed to the realities of police corruption, child trafficking, and entrenched classism, she must find the truth or risk losing her identity and the people who matter to her the most.



Layla hid in the dark kitchen, waiting to see who came down from her father’s bedroom, waiting to see the face behind the voice.

Within minutes she heard footsteps. But not on the marble landing inside the house. Someone was clanging down the spiral, wrought-iron staircase that reached down to the front lawn from her father’s bedroom balcony. Layla rushed out the front door and nearly collided with the figure picking her way across the grass. Both came to a halt, face-to-face on the dark front lawn, lit only by dim globe lights flanking the gate at the bottom of the driveway.

“You must be her,” the woman said through reddened lips. She was older, in her twenties or even thirties. “The daughter, supposedly.”

Layla nodded, unsure of what that meant. She watched the lady adjust her white chiffon dupatta around her shoulders. There was no sound but the fluttering of fabric in Karachi’s sea breeze, cool in the desert night. But Layla’s forehead prickled with perspiration, and her long, brown hair stuck to the nape of her neck.

“But you–” she started.

“What about me?”

Layla couldn’t take her eyes off those lips, red like runny ketchup. Pulling her eyes away, she spotted the spiral staircase, glistening black and snaking up from behind the woman’s head all the way to the bedroom.

“I know who you are,” Layla whispered.

The woman’s mouth became a sneer, a bold, red check mark. “But do you know who you are?”

17 responses to “Adult #29: THE HEAT OF THE MIDDAY SUN (Literary Suspense #OwnVoices)”

  1. Sarah Landis says:

    Hi! Please send me the first 50 pages of the manuscript to slandis@sll.com. Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Joanna MacKenzie says:

    Hi Nigar,
    I’m excited to read more of this gorgeous story (Kathleen West mentioned you’d be part of the showcase). Please follow this link to upload your manuscript: http://queryme.online/1353/PitchWars2019

  3. Katelyn Hales says:

    Dear Nigar,

    I’m intrigued by your pitch, and by your excerpt from THE HEAT OF THE MIDDAY SUN. I’d love to take a look. Please send the full manuscript (attached as a word doc is preferred), to me at katelyn@robinstrausagency.com, with the subject line “Pitch Wars request: THE HEAT OF THE MIDDAY SUN”.

    Looking forward to reading!

    All best,


    Katelyn Hales
    Robin Straus Agency, Inc.

  4. Jennifer Unter says:

    Great opening, would love to read more. Please forward the first 50 pages as a Word attachment to assistant@theunteragency.com. Thanks!

  5. Ayesha Pande says:

    Dear Nigar Alam,

    I’m most intrigued by the description of your novel, THE HEAT OF THE MIDDAY SUN. Could you please send me the full manuscript as an e-mail attachment? I can be reached at queries@pandeliterary.com.

    Thank you very much. I look forward to reading your work.

    Yours truly,
    Ayesha Pande

  6. Marlo Berliner says:

    I’d love to see where this is going! Please submit your query and first 30 pages via my Query Manager: http://QueryMe.Online/marloberliner
    If more than one JDLA agent requests, simply submit to the agent you feel would be the best fit. Be sure to only submit to one JDLA agent at a time. If the first agent passes, you are welcome to try the next.

  7. Tess Callero says:

    I’d love to take a look at your work! If you’d like to share, you can send the first 50 pages attached as a word doc to tc@cbltd.com. Thank you!

  8. Becky LeJeune says:

    I would absolutely love to see more of this one. Please send the full along with your query to becky@bondliteraryagency.com!

  9. Isabelle Bleecker says:

    Hi Nigar,
    This sounds really interesting. I’d like to read more. Please send a query letter and the first 50 pages of your manuscript to me at Isabelle@Nordlysetagency.com

  10. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Nigar,

    I would love to see more! Can you send your full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,

  11. Joanna Volpe says:

    I’d love to see more of this. Can you please send the full manuscript as a Word doc to jvolpe (at) newleafliterary (dot) com?

    Looking forward!

  12. Annie Hwang says:

    Please send query letter in the body of the email and attach the first fifty pages and a brief 1-2 page synopsis as word docs with the subject line: Pitch Wars: [Title]. You may send to me at: annie@foliolit.com. Thanks so much, I look forward to seeing more!

  13. Kristin Nelson says:

    Hello Nigar,
    Joanna on my team has already requested this one. I would have as well so I’ll read along with her. Just giving you a heads up. : ) Kristin

  14. Aimee Ashcraft says:

    Hi! Very intrigued by your pitch and would love to read more. Could you send the the full manuscript to aimee@browerliteray.com in Word format, along with “PITCH WARS Request” in the subject heading? Thank you!

  15. Hillary Jacobson says:

    Hi Nigar,

    I would love to read this! Please send the full manuscript as a word document to hjacobson@icmpartners.com.

    My best,

  16. Stefanie Lieberman says:

    I’m eager to read more!
    Please send the pitch and the full manuscript in an email addressed to submissions(at)Janklow.com with the following subject line: For Stefanie Lieberman – requested Pitch Wars material.

  17. Eddie Schneider says:

    Dear Nigar,

    Your query sounds interesting—I’d be happy to look at the first 50-75 pages of THE HEAT OF THE MIDDAY SUN, along with a 1-2 page synopsis. A .rtf file for the former is preferred, and the body of your e-mail is perfect for the latter.

    Thanks, and I look forward to reading your work.