New York Pitch Conference!

Hey guys,

Having returned last Sunday from the New York Pitch Conference I have only just achieved better sleeping habits. 🙂 What I learnt and the opportunities that opened up to me were even better than expected.

Thank you so much to the Sunshine Coast Council and Arts Queensland for the funding to attend the conference and the opening up of opportunities for pursuing publication for my novel Where the Sun Rises.

I am forever grateful for the help of Saffron Drew, from the Sunshine Coast Council for her help throughout the process in obtaining the funding. Thank you so much for taking the time and helping me. Alison Quigley came along with me to the conference and this was excellent being able to share all of this with a close friend and excellent writer as well. Thanks Ali, you’re a lovely friend to me!

At the conference we were divided into three different Workshop Groups with different leaders, we had an amazing Workshop Facilitator, Best Selling Author, Ann Garvin. Ann is the author of “I like you just fine when you’re not around” and was so supportive, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, she was our biggest fan. Which made such a difference to the whole process. We felt completely supported and like she was a lovely coach and believed in our ideas.


On the first day Ann heard our pitches we had already written and worked through them with us, providing diagnostic advice for our story ideas. This helped me in one area of my plot. Ann allowed us to practice our pitches in front of the whole group and then provided one on one advice about our specific novel ideas. This process was so good for me it helped me to make the pitch more punchy, emotional and provoking curiosity in the Editor to want to know more. Motivation of the characters was an important aspect of my novel that Ann highlighted.

On the second day we pitched to Editor Bess Cozby from Tor Forge Macmillan and she was so lovely advising us all of how our pitches were and what we needed to focus on more. These were great tips and we used this to rewrite our pitches overnight. Bess was so lovely and was encouraging about each of our ideas. She told me my book had a riveting plot and was very timely. This was very encouraging to me. At the end of the day Ann told us that Bess wanted to see 50 pages from each of us. This was such amazing news. I am very grateful for this opportunity. We were all very excited.

The following day we had to pitch to two different editors and I was less nervous now that I had pitched a few times. On this day we were pitching to Senior Editor, Chelsey Emmelhainz – Crooked Lane Books and Lauren Jablonski Assistant Editor St. Martins.

Chelsey advised us about how to make our stories bigger than they were. She made suggestions for how we could do this. Lauren was lovely as well, she asked about our story plots, rising action, climax and plotting. She told me I had a very good story and good structure.

Finally, on the last day, we pitched to Editor, Samantha Zukergood from St Martin’s Press. She asked questions about us and our social media platforms etc and wanted to know about us to market who we were.

Overall, the whole process was enlightening and encouraging and I learnt a lot from the other participants as well. We all bonded and encouraged each other and shared knowledge we had. From this I also have another opportunity to submit to a publisher.

Finally, I gained a third opportunity that arose simply from asking someone directions! I was walking from the Met to MOMA and I was trying to find the best subway station to go to, and I asked this woman for directions. She helped me and then we went separate ways. I told her I was going to Central Park and she said would also go to the park as well. We walked together and sat down together. We got chatting and she asked why I was here and I told her about my book and what it was about. She said “things happen for a reason.” And I was like what does she mean? Then she said, “My daughter works for a literary agency in the film section. I will tell her about you tonight and you can email her your pitch.” I was blown away. Wow! Thank you, God. Anyway, I was like “that sounds great! Thank you so much.” And now I have contacted her daughter at the literary agency and we are in communication. I am very thankful to have this opportunity and it was simply from asking directions!

So, all in all, there were many things I learnt from the conference, including making the stakes high, conveying what a character wants and how they can’t have it, motivation, and simplifying a pitch to make it concise and exciting. There were other aspects of the industry I learnt about in regard to how to go about things and what to expect when published or getting an agent as well.

I learnt so much through this trip. I gained some phenomenal friends from the conference as well. I am extremely grateful to the Sunshine Coast Council and Arts Queensland for assisting me to attend the New York Pitch Conference. It has opened up wonderful avenues for this novel and helped me to see how to move forward with this novel into the future. Thank you so much again! I am forever grateful.


This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Sunshine Coast Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.





New York trip nearly over…



Hey guys, my New York trip is nearly over. I will write a more comprehensive blog when I get back home. I have learnt a lot from the teachers, editors, authors and agents I met over here. I’ve made some lovely friendships and connections. I have three opportunities for my novel to be further pitched to two editors and an agent. 🙂 I am very happy. The details of which I will talk about later.

New York is a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells. It’s a rich caleidoscope of cultures, artistic pursuits and commercial enterprise. I like the artistic/literary pursuits, the music, the visual art.

I have found the people to be so helpful. An amazing place, that never does sleep, it just quietens down a little bit at night. Haha. I’m looking forward to writing some more. I have written a bit here and developed my pitch and even parts of my novel as well. I will let you know more detail soon. Thanks for reading! Suzanne


Pitching at the New York Pitch Conference today…

Hello, I am in New York at the moment, and today we are pitching. I gave received some excellent advice from an agent about certain things and have been able to incorporate this! Thank God for this.

Anyway, it’s kind of exciting that it is finally coming today but also of course there are some nerves. But in the end you just have to do your best. 😄


My novel “Where the Sun Rises”…New York, New York… :)

Hey guys,

I have already mentioned about how I am going to the New York Pitch Conference, but I wanted to talk a little bit about my novel Where the Sun Rises. In 2015 I became fascinated by the women soldiers fighting in Syria against ISIS. After watching a lot of documentaries on these amazing women, I began to think, imagine if we could see things through their eyes. What if we could feel their decisions and why they felt they had no choice but to take up arms. What if one of the women was a mother? How did they show so much courage? What was this idea of courage anyway? It was obviously not just a male trait. There was a lot of coverage of female soldiers in non fiction, but nothing in fiction and told from their point of view. I began to research and completed thousands of hours of watching documentaries and reading articles or information about Syria, culture, Kurdish language, being in combat, weaponry, history, geography, and modern life.

I decided I needed to travel to the region so I could feel the air around me, see the colours of the middle east, experience the desert, taste the food, and see directly into Syria. In 2016, I traveled to Israel to be on the border, the Golan Heights, so I could look into Syria and I did. It was devastated. It was flattened, the landscape was barren and the buildings decimated and desolate. My trip to Israel was profound and enlightening and it filled in many sensory details that you can’t do through research. Using this experience and my extensive other research I continued to write. I was writing my novel for my masters under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Giggs at Macquarie University. This was a refining and rewarding experience. Following completion of this and receiving a good mark, I continued to write and develop the narrative.

After this, in 2017 I consulted the Kurdish community in Brisbane and was able to get feedback about the Kurdish language. These contacts all stated they were extremely happy and honoured that I was writing about the Kurdish women in this struggle. I contacted the YPJ Women’s soldiers on Facebook and received messages back that they were very honoured and pleased I was standing in solidarity with them. Then I was given a few other contacts on Twitter I will be following up within the soldiers and also more groups in Australia.

My novel Where the Sun Rises, is about two Kurdish women who are forced to choose between their families and fighting ISIS. When ISIS closes in on their hometown of Kobani and kills their brother and husband, Karin a medical student and Roza, an English Teacher and mother, choose to take up arms. Once joining the battle, death is a spectre that hangs over them every day. After they discover their best friend’s sister Ashti has been taken into sex slavery, Karin and Roza find themselves in even greater jeopardy in conducting rescue missions. A western journalist, Sarah and her camera technician Marcel cover the dangerous battle throughout. When many die around them and friends begin to pay the ultimate sacrifice, their resolve becomes shaken and Karin and Roza learn what courage, loyalty, self-sacrifice and love for their homeland may really cost them.

(This is a shortened blurb, a longer one will come in the future. Today, I registered the copyright to my novel in the USA. Yay!).

After I had written the novel, I looked up pitch conferences in New York and found this excellent one, the New York Pitch Conference. I told my writer friend, Alison Quigley about this and we are now attending together which will be amazing! Then I received some funding from the Sunshine Coast Council and Arts Queensland to pitch my novel to the conference. I am very excited and grateful for this!

I am passionate about this novel and telling the stories of these brave, strong, women who took up arms to defend themselves in Kobani. This particular battle was completely successful and was fought by 85% women. It is an amazing story of the friendship of these women more than anything. Their courage, loyalty and friendship.

This is a brief summary of my novel, as I have not talked too much about the plot yet. Now, as I am going to the New Pitch Conference I thought I would be more specific.

Who knows what will happen with the Pitch Conference, hopefully it will lead to positive publishing connections, but either way this novel will be published in the future.

Thanks for reading! It means a lot. 🙂

Masada, Israel





New York Pitch Conference – 1 week!

Hello guys,

I am excited it is only one week to go until I go to New York. I am travelling to the New York Pitch Conference, and I am very grateful to have received funding for part of this trip from the Sunshine Coast Council and Arts Queensland.


Thanks to the Queensland Government Arts Queensland and the Sunshine Coast Council for believing in my novel and supporting me to attend the NYPC to pitch my novel to editors from Penguin, Harper Collins, Random House, St Martins Press and more. We have already been given the assignments to prepare for the conference. I now have written a pitch for the conference based on these assignments.

Once we arrive at the conference we workshop this pitch the first day and then pitch to our first editor, and then the following three days to three different editors. I have finished my novel now and I have been working on it tirelessly for nearly three years. Hopefully, I can attract a publisher, but no matter what it will be an amazing experience to hang out in New York and to learn the skills for pitching, as well as pitching to Editors from US publishers. I know I will learn a lot from this experience. This knowledge I will be able to share with my writers group and other writing enthusiasts back at home.

Thank you so much to the Sunshine Coast Council’s RADF and Arts Queensland funding that supports artists to attend conferences or events that will further their careers. I know that I will be able to also share this knowledge with others when I return.

Thanks for reading! I will keep you updated with what is happening at the conference.


This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Sunshine Coast Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.