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. πŸ™‚

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

Short stories & Poetry…

Hey guys, for anyone who likes short stories of real life, with people from different backgrounds, geographies and situations, this collection would be a great distraction. It has some poetry at the end as well. πŸ™‚ You can click on the link below to read the e-book if you would like.

I hope you are all staying safe at this time! Love and prayers to you. Suz

New year, new adventures…

Hi, guys. Australia is burning at the moment. I don’t know if you have seen it on the news in your country. It is like the end of the world. The sky is red and the air is suffocating. People are losing homes and some people have lost their life. I pray that this all will stop soon. Hundreds and hundreds of homes have been decimated. Towns are levelled. It is heart breaking. It is hard for us to think about anything else at the moment.

I, however wanted to say something about my next novel I am writing. I must say in some ways it seems hollow writing about this at the moment. But I wanted to say this next novel – is so different from the first. It is written differently, it is from the first person (at the moment anyway) and it is a bit more something I am writing for myself. My first novel, Where the Sun Rises sought to honour the women I was writing about but also to create a story true to life, that expresses war from the female point of view. It was third person and involved so much research it was sometimes ridiculous haha. Where the Sun Rises does not have my life in it. But this new novel is much less research-based and has some elements of my life in it. It is still a work of fiction but it has some elements of my life. I am enjoying this very different experience of writing.

This is technically my third novel I have written. I wrote one when I was 25 as well. It had two points of view, one male and one female. An interesting process.

I wish to enjoy this process and exploring where this story is going and how this character is developing. For me, writing is an adventure like when I was a kid and that is all I wanted to do, explore all of the world. I feel in writing, I am exploring the world through an interior and mysterious process. It truly makes me feel free. If I can express a story and make it come alive to a reader, I feel phenomenal. It gives me so much peace and fulfilment.

When I am creating, I feel whole and taken out of the world up into the world of the imagination. In this process, I know it was what I was born to do. You can tell this, on the inside. I hope and pray that you find that which you are born to do this year! It makes you feel trully alive! After all, that’s what we want isn’t it, to feel vigorous and vibrant and like our truest self?

For this year, I feel happy that in my life I am finally writing novels and people are reading them. It has been my ambition my whole life. I am so thankful that this has finally become reality. I don’t mind the energy or passion I had to put in (which was a lot over many years), it felt like nothing, cause I adore it.

Anyway, I hope for you this year that you find your passion, the thing that makes you want to get up and get going in the morning! Embrace it! Life is so brief and you don’t want to regret opportunities you didn’t take, or talents you didn’t pursue out of fear or apprehension.

Go well, and be brave. I know you can. πŸ™‚ Suz

Courage…in 2020!

Hi guys,

Yesterday, I was reflecting on the journey of writing my novel I released in October, 2019. The central idea I had for this novel four years ago was to explore the idea of courage, and to reject the notion that it is purely a male characteristic. I have pondered this for a long time how women in my life have showed so much courage and some men have not showed the same courage. A few friends have told of stories when they faced a partner that was violent and how they were not scared at all of them.

A juvenile example of this is when I was a young kid I loved going on those little rides, like the cars in the shopping centres, but my brother only wanted to sit on them and was too scared for them to actually go. When I was a three year old, I walked off into the Australian bush to go explore and find a dam that was on our vast outback property and my brother said he couldn’t go with me. I had two dogs with me and I reached the dam and then realised I was very lost. Consequently, my family had to come and find me, miraculously they did find me and I was okay. I am not sure if this is courage or just a desire for adventure and not knowing what I was doing. (haha). But still…

Also, I have heard many stories from my friends who were fearless towards men fighting etc and stepped into situations like this. After I experienced domestic violence once, since that I have found myself in a couple of situations where I have stepped in between two men fighting or a man victimising a woman. I will always go towards helping in these situations as I remember that feeling that there was no one to help.

So, the notion of courage I always felt had been mosty unrecognised in women. However, in 2015 I became enthralled by the extreme courage shown by the Kurdish women fighting Daesh in Syria.

For more than three years, I have lived and breathed this novel and been with these women. They inspired me to walk in courage, and every time I felt afraid of something I thought of what they sacrificed and what perils they faced. Then I was able to do somethings and overcome.

These women still live with me and will always be with me. The women in my novel are based on a lot of research I conducted, but they are fictional. I created their back stories, personality and characters. These characters will always be with me throughout out my life. In Where the Sun Rises I sought to reflect the courage I saw in these phenomenal Kurdish women, but also that I see around me in my female friends and I hope to reflect myself.

I think that coming to the end of 2019, I am reflecting on the year that was, and also how thinking about these women spurred me into many things this year. I wish to continue to take this inspiration from these women – and it is for men as well, into 2020. I am so keen for a New Year, this year had many challenges, but was also glorious as well.

Let’s move in to the New Year with Courage! Bring it on! Thanks for reading! Suz πŸ™‚

‘Budding Nadine Gordimer…’

A very kind review on Amazon.com for Where the Sun Rises. πŸ™‚

Espionage Lover

5.0 out of 5 stars

A Budding Nadine Gordimer

Reviewed Amazon in the United States on December 17, 2019

“”Where The Sun Rises” by Suzanne Strong confronts the soul in ways reminiscent of Nadine Gordimer’s writing. The author’s ardent prose follows an earthy drumbeat that resonates in the manner of Hemingway’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” yet it is made all the more poignant by Strong’s empathetic touch.

The story unwinds the most recent tragedy for the Kurdish people in Syria seen through the eyes of two women friends. Daesh beheadings and atrocities perpetrated against their family members, friends and neighbors enrage Karin and Roza and provoke them to enlist in the Kurdish Women’s Brigade where they make war employing guts and daring.

Experience the ISIS siege of Kobane on the ground and feel the way a woman brings the tragedy of the war in Syria and the ongoing struggle of the Kurdish people to life.”

Early Reviews of Where the Sun Rises…

Where the Sun Rises is an ambitious, compassionate and powerful novel. Sensory memories accessed through scents and tastes are used brilliantly to evoke the physical strain, tenderness and revulsion of war for female soldiers in the fight against ISIS. Their story deserves a far wider readership and Strong’s achievement lies in her ability to take us into their dangerous world.’ 

Dr Toby Davidson, Lecturer, Macquarie University, Sydney.

β€œStrong has taken care to accurately present the reality of the lives of Kurdish women and the dramatic choices they make as fighters defending their land. The story is remarkable for the authenticity of the detailed portrayal of the geography, the intimate lives of the women fighters and the ferocity of the killing in which they are involved…Strong makes good use of the senses to convey the sounds and smells of battle and death and contrasts it with the delights of singing and dancing, the smell of freshly baked bread and the taste of goat’s cheese. The extraordinary amount of research undertaken pays dividends. Recollections of peaceful days and olive groves are neatly woven into the narrative, as are the reassuring pots of tea.

Powerful and credible, Where the Sun Rises is an eye-opener to a story we rarely hear.’

Dr Lynne Spender, Lecturer, UTS, Sydney.

My novel will be released in a few days time. I am excited to finally be introducing my new novel baby to the world. πŸ™‚

It will be available widely in print as well, on Amazon and all other online outlets. Stay tuned. πŸ™‚ You can pre-order today or wait for two days until it is released. πŸ™‚

Have a fab day! Suz πŸ™‚

Freedom Writing No.1 Best Seller in 3 Categories…

Hey guys, (by that term I mean female and male :))

My book Freedom Writing was number 1 in three categories in Australia this morning. I was very excited. πŸ™‚

I will have more news about my debut novel that is coming out soon, Where the Sun Rises. πŸ™‚

Thanks so much for reading! Have a fab day. πŸ™‚ Suz