Review of Where the Sun Rises…

“She stopped and fired her AK47. Karin had also stopped. and began to fire as well. The girls ran past them, screaming. Tanah hurriedly ushered them inside the building. Three Daesh men fell onto the street dead, and Roza felt something slam into her arm. Wetness and shock filled her. Karin supported Roza across the street towards the door and into the passageway. Roza was bleeding from a deep wound to her arm, but there was no time to stop.”

Suzanne’s gripping war novel, “Where the Sun Rises”, is a fantastic read. It’s based on the true story of the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) defeating Daesh (ISIL) in Kobane, the Syrian town near the border of Turkey, in 2014/15. A celebration of the power of unity and determination in the face of evil.

If you like a good war story, this is one of the best!!

Good Reads Reader: Mark Cooper

Rating: 5 Stars

My poem, “I remember” – Grapeshot Magazine…

Hey guys,

I found this poem that was published years ago in Macquarie University’s magazine, Grapeshot. It is about my brother who died ten years ago.

Thanks for reading. 🙂 Stay well, go well. Suz

Reflections…

Hey guys, I just wanted to share this about finding my brother’s journals yesterday while I was moving house. So, my brother died 10 years ago. He was an alcoholic but also a loving, funny, sensitive, creative man. He was my closest brother, I spent all of my childhood with him. I loved him more than anything and I tried to help him be free from his addictions, for years and years. I learnt that you can’t help anyone from these things they have to want it themselves. You can’t help people to save themselves, they need a higher power and their own will.

But yesterday, I found these journals and I read these painful, painful writings he had done over the years. It was very difficult to read them as they expressed his deepest thoughts. I stopped reading them after a bit as it seemed wrong.

But I realised that my brother had discovered writing therapy and I am so grateful that he had that, that he could express his inner most thoughts and feelings and he didn’t hold back.

So many men need to do this. It is completely safe and it can help men to get rid of negative emotions.

I am so sick of people saying men are not emotional or as prone to feeling things like women. It is simply not true. This is possibly why men die by suicide three times more than women, they are told that men keep their emotion in and men don’t feel things. That is crap. So, the men (which is all men) who have normal emotions and feelings of isolation, loneliness, or depression they think they are not normal. They are.

One of my students, Josh Bontje died by suicide some years back. He was such a lovely person, and I could tell kind and sensitive. This has to stop. We have to encourage men and boys and teenager boys to open up and also I am hear to say, guys use writing therapy as well! My brother did and it got him through many years of feeling quite desperate. He could have chosen a better path but that is his story, and his life separate to this, but please, please, please use writing therapy, write down your deepest feelings, and what is happening. You can get rid of it. But if you write it down we know that it will be released from your unconscious.

I am sending a lot of love out to the young and older men who suffer from depression and anxiety, my brother did. And you know what, not even having a chronic condition but just the normal feelings of sadness and worry as well. My brother did not always express his feelings, sometimes he did with me but not all the time. I know he did with other people sometimes as well. But he used writing therapy and it is a wonderful, free tool you can use to be free from negative emotions whatever they are. 🙂

My book Freedom Writing talks about this, so if you are interested it is available on amazon and many other outlets.

But have a look on here as well, I have information about writing therapy.

Go well, stay well and remember we all have feelings and there’s nothing wrong with emotion! Kind regards, Suz

Manhattan Book Review

Where the Sun Rises
By Suzanne Strong
Green Acre Publishing, $13.95, 271 pages, Format: eBook

Where the Sun Rises is a novel told from alternating viewpoints of two childhood friends: Karin and Roza. The story begins in 2014 when the Islamic State, ISIS, or Daesh, as some choose to call them in protest, begin to invade the city of Kobane, in the Kurdish region of Syria. It’s a heartwrenching story of two women who give up everything to protect their families and the land that they love. Both Karin and Roza individually join the YPJ (Women’s Protection Unit) of the YPG, the Kurdish people’s militia to fight against ISIS. They reunite at a training camp for the YPJ.

Both women face heartbreaking losses and choose to fight for the YPJ out of fierce love for their families and the place they call home. Karin is studying to be a doctor, and Roza is a former English teacher and mother to a six-year-old. This novel traces the journey two highly educated young women take to become tough, skillful militia fighters. It also provides insight into how the women fighters are trained and how they are as fierce fighters as the men.

The civil war in Syria has many facets, and Where the Sun Rises opens a door to the perspective of the Kurdish people living in Syria. Reading it helped me realize how little I know about Kurdistan, Syria, and the geopolitics of the region. Although Karin and Roza’s story is fictional, I can easily imagine how many real-life women have similar stories. Karin and Roza’s courage will catch you and make you wonder at their ability to persevere. They are ordinary women who respond to extraordinary circumstances.

I cried throughout this story, and what I took from the ending was that we all have the ability to fight for what we love when the situation demands it, though the cost we pay is very high.”

Free download of Short Stories!

Hey guys,

If you are interested, below is a link to three of my short stories available for free! One is a funny dancing class story, I would love to hear what you think. 🙂

Click on this link:

First and third person

Hey everyone,

After starting my next novel in third person, I decided to rewrite it in first person. I feel that it is flowing better, and the character and other characters are divulging themselves in an easier and more natural way.

When I was in my 20s I wrote most if not all of my creative work in first person. I enjoyed it. Then a number of years ago I moved away from it. (I did write a story in second person once as well). After writing in third person for many years now, I feel like writing in first person is exciting, it has limitations but also, allows you as the writer to give a voice to this character. I am really enjoying it. I think each novel requires a different approach.

Where the Sun Rises is written in third person, from the point of view of Karin and Roza. I switch between their points of view each chapter. This was completely necessary for this novel as I wanted to have a larger point of view, a big canvas, a large view, and also I was writing from the Kurdish’s women’s point of view. I just felt it was more suitable. Now though, this next book about the character Sarah Johns from my first book is suited to first person. It is flowing and I feel her voice easier. She is an Australian journalist who reports on the war in Syria, meets and gets to know Karin and Roza, but has her own issues at home.

Anyway, feel free to comment if you prefer to use one or the other or if you have switched between the two. 🙂

Thanks for reading! Kind regards, Suz

Van Gogh drawing… :)

Hey guys,

Rifling through my things when moving house, sorting things out and I found this drawing I did when I was 21. My all time favourite artist. Van Gogh. I found a book back then with all of his letters to his brother, Theo and loved it. Then I visited Auvers Sur Oise in France where he died. I love Van Gogh. I wrote a short story about him called “Yellow.” #vangogh