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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Nigar Alam and her mentor, Kristen Lepionka

Wednesday, 26 December 2018  |  Posted by Gwynne Jackson


Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase starting on February 6, 2019, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2018 Pitch Wars Teams.

Next up, we have . . .

Nigar Alam – Mentee


Kristen Lepionka – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Kristen, why did you choose Nigar?

I fell in love with the setting and voice of Nigar’s manuscript. She brings 1990s Karachi to life in vivid detail while telling a suspenseful story of family secrets and the meaning of identity. In other words, it’s awesome.

Nigar, why did you choose to submit to Kristen?

When I read Kristen’s wish list I got really excited because she was looking for suspense/thriller plus literary fiction. It sounded like a perfect fit! Also, her list of favorite authors included so many of mine, and I loved that she’d already worked with 3 mentees and had a ton of critique experience because I was searching for help in all areas!

Kristen, summarize Nigar’s book in 3 words.

Heat, murder, secrets

Nigar, summarize your book in 3 words.

Karachi (Pakistan), Family, Murder

Kristen, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

My Shamus Award-winning debut mystery novel THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK started its life as a Pitch Wars manuscript. I really credit my involvement in this amazing community with all the good things that have happened for me in regards to my writing career. This is my 4th year on the Pitch Wars scene (1 as a mentee, 3 as a mentor) so I’m not sure I have any secrets left, but in terms of something you don’t already know about me: I’m a crafty sort of lady who counts knitting, sewing, and soap & lotion-making among my non-writing pursuits.

Nigar, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I feel like I’m on a great adventure with people from across the world, mentors and mentees, and my hope is that this community thrives and lives on even after we graduate. I also do hope to have a better book by the end of this experience. The guidance I’m getting is invaluable, and I’m working hard to soak it up and apply all the advice!

Nigar, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your manuscript unique?

“Where did you grow up?” It sounds like an easy enough question, but it’s always been a difficult one for me. So, some years ago I came up with a sentence to summarize my rather unique childhood – I lived in 7 different countries on 4 different continents by the time I was 18. The next question is always, “So which place was your favorite?” and I smile because I have no answer.

There’s beauty in every place, land and culture, and every place has its own set of challenges. But what I learned from moving around was that people are the same everywhere. Even if the setting, language and entire culture seem alien, people remain the same, and that’s what my writing is about.

A Potion For Dreams is set in Karachi, but readers from anywhere can relate to the characters’ struggles and desires, just like they can relate to the universal problems of classism and poverty.

Check out Kristen Lepionka’s latest release, WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE…

The thrilling follow up to The Last Place You Look, starring troubled and determined private investigator, Roxane Weary

Marin Strasser has a secret. Her fiancé thinks her secret is that she’s having an affair, and he hires P.I. Roxane Weary to prove it. Then, just days into the case, Marin is shot to death on a side street in an apparent mugging. But soon enough the police begin to focus on Roxane’s client for Marin’s death, so she starts to dig deeper into Marin’s life―discovering that the elegant woman she’s been following has a past and a half, including two previous marriages, an adult son fresh out of prison, and a criminal record of her own. The trail leads to a crew of con artists, an ugly real estate scam that defrauds unsuspecting elderly homeowners out of their property, and the suspicious accident of a wealthy older woman who lives just down the street from where Marin was killed.

With Roxane’s client facing a murder indictment, the scammers hit close to home to force Roxane to drop the case, and it becomes clear that the stakes are as high as the secrets run deep.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/What-You-Want-See-Roxane/dp/1250120535


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 6 – 11, 2019. We hope you’ll join us to support our teams on the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars.

Filed: Interviews

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