Monday, July 27, 2015

New Agent 20: ALL THE SILENT SOUNDS, YA Upmarket Suspense

Title: All the Silent Sounds
Word Count: 70k
Genre: YA Upmarket Suspense


Deya dreams of going to college, becoming a storyteller, and filling her life with books. The problem is, Arab girls don't do that. Or at least that's what Deya's grandmother says. Knowing that an arranged marriage is her only option (and perhaps her best chance to follow her dreams), Deya is about to agree. 

But before she can say yes, a mysterious woman sends her a package: the diary of an Arab girl named Layla.

Deya's dead mother

When Deya reads her mother's story, she is shocked to find that it doesn't resemble her memories, which take place when she is six-years old, just months before her mother's death. Deya remembers a mentally unstable mother, a struggling father, and grandparents whose life seems plain and overt. But passages from Layla’s diary entries reveal a completely different story, forcing Deya to question her fate after an arranged marriage. 

Can Deya trust her childhood memories? Or is everything she thought she saw, including her mother's death, a lie? The answers will change the course of Deya's life.

250 words: 

It started in the usual way, a dull rag looped tight around my fingers. I was wiping a speckle of dirt off our gold-leaf coffee table when I noticed my grandmother peeking from behind the living room door, quietly scanning my face for answers. I knew then what she was looking for, but I pretended not to notice, holding my breath as I soaked the rag in a bucket of Clorox. From the corner of my eyes, I watched her: shoulders erect, neck arched, large teeth lit between a curved jawbone. Her eyes caught sight of a sprinkle of dust in the air, followed each dot as it bounced across a brindled sofa, through a heavy set of scarlet curtains, and into a streak of sunlight dripping from the window. Then her eyes returned to me.

I realize, looking back, that I had put myself in that situation: I had agreed to sit with one of the suitors a second time, which my grandmother interpreted as a sign of my approval. I don't blame her. I usually said no before the suitors even left our home, ignoring her pleas to reconsider. She bit her tongue when I declined the forty-year-old divorcee, and the boy who didn’t speak English, and the chunky fellow looking for a green card. I mean, being forced into marriage is one thing, but having no freedom to choose the man, too? It made me want to scream. But the way my grandmother eyed me from across the room, her face damp with deliberation, made it clear that nothing I said was going to get me out of this one.


  1. I'm interested in reading more. Please send a 1-page synopsis and the first 50 pages to Please include #NewAgent in the subject line and your query in the body of the email. Looking forward to reading your submission.

  2. Hi! Can you send the first half to penelope.gsliterary at gmail? Thank you!

  3. I'd love to see more! Please send the first 25 pages in an attached word document to queries at azantianlitagency dot com along with your query and a 1-2 page synopsis. For the subject line, please use Requested Material and the title of your manuscript. Thank you!

  4. I'm interested in reading more please. Could you please send the first three chapters and a brief synopsis as a word document. Plus a paragraph or so about yourself in the body of the email over to Thanks!

  5. I'd love to read more! Can you please send a brief synopsis & the first three chapters to Thank you!

  6. Would love to see more! Please feel free to send the query, 1-2 page synopsis, and first ten pages to Good luck!

  7. Ninja agent Clelia Gore here! Would love to see the first 50. Please send in Word doc format to with the query. Please indicate "New Agent Contest" in the re: line. Thanks!