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. 🙂