Chapter 1 – Where the Sun Rises…

A large mass of red, yellow and black, mixed with white sparks fired up into the sky, on a hill in the distance. Karin stopped, her limbs frozen, she glanced over at her brother, Mani. Another explosion slammed the earth right next to it. Tanks small but perceptible could be seen moving around like strange beetles on the hillside. Tiny figures were moving, and running here and there. Buildings were being blown up, apartment blocks were slammed with mortar fire. People could be seen fleeing from the chaos. Karin saw armed men chasing them. The black flag of Daesh could be seen flapping on the flag pole of one of the tanks. A little further off more massive explosions of white soil and concrete formed clouds on the horizon, flying high into the sky. Karin felt physically sick with a burning rage, that Daesh would come and seek to conquer them, as so many other peoples had done before.

Henri Nouwen on writing…writing therapy! :)

Writing Reveals What is Alive in Us

“Writing is a process in which we discover what lives in us. The writing itself reveals to us what is alive in us. The deepest satisfaction of writing is precisely that it opens up new spaces within us of which we were not aware before we started to write. To write is to embark on a journey whose final destination we do not know. Thus, writing requires a real act of trust. We have to say to ourselves: β€œI do not yet know what I carry in my heart, but I trust that it will emerge as I write.” Writing is like giving away the few loaves and fishes one has, trusting that they will multiply in the giving. Once we dare to β€œgive away” on paper the few thoughts that come to us, we start discovering how much is hidden underneath these thoughts and gradually come in touch with our own riches.”

Text excerpts taken from “You are the Beloved”
by Henri J.M. Nouwen

A reason why I wrote Where the Sun Rises…

My novel Where the Sun Rises is fictional, but I wrote it to tell the stories of the real women who participated in these battles in Syria. My characters are fictional but their stories reflect real women who I discovered through research. The details of the characters I created however. In my mind and heart the whole way through writing this novel, sometimes with tears, was to tell the stories of these unrecognised women who gave their lives for their families, friends, people and land. Anyway, this is why this quote particularly resonates with me. Have a great day. πŸ™‚

Sarah Johns – character for new novel…

“Sarah Johns walked into the room with a cameraman shouldering his equipment. Karin noticed how Sarah stood with her shoulders back, walking with a casual, confident stride, her legs long and slim, seeming to lead the way for her upper body. Her presence in the room, strangely, was both unassuming and commanding at the same time. Her frame did, however, slump forward somewhat in a posture of weariness.

Her hair was short and dark like a raven’s; her eyes were a green Karin had rarely seen, deep in color, with light inflections towards the pupil and framed by long, black eyelashes. She was not wearing makeup and wore khaki pants and a black t-shirt that hung over her pants.”

Where the Sun Rises, Suzanne Strong, 2019

Hey guys, this is the character for my new novel that I am writing. The novel follows Sarah’s story, from her point of view and is set in Australia and Syria. πŸ™‚ I am enjoying exploring her story. I will post more about this new novel as I go. It has been a very different process to my first book which was heavily based on research, this book is much closer to my own life, though it is not my life.

Thanks for reading, guys. Let me know if you are interested in my next book. Have a lovely day. πŸ™‚ Suz

Writing, musings & naming characters…

Hey everyone,

This morning for the first time in a while I decided to write and rewrite some sections of my next novel. I have not had much time with all of my teaching I have been doing. I focused on some images, and memories between characters, as well as creating some nicknames. Nicknames say a lot about a character, as do names.

I had decided to call my main characters brother Tommy, for no real reason, I liked the name. This main character Sarah and her brother Tommy were always described as twins when they were young, always together and they looked alike as well. So, I was looking up the name Tommy for some nicknames and I saw that this name means “Twin” in Aramaic. What?! πŸ™‚

This has happened to me before with a character out of my first novel that her name meant “burning and fiery explosion” and this character is blown up. I had not looked up the meaning of her name before I named her.

Amazing. I am struggling at the moment with how much of my real brother and my story I should put in this novel. I am tossing backward and forward in the strong wave undercurrent of whether to present it as it happened, my life with him, or a modified version as there is not much space in this current book. Then again maybe there is. Or do I keep our story for another book? This is what I am wondering at the moment. Maybe I modify for this book, then write in more detail my own experience with him.

I am reading Trent Dalton’s book, Boy Swallows Universe, and I know he wrote about his life in this book. It is inspiring me to brave and simply write what I need to. I am conscious of the significance of writing about my life, with how it could effect people but Trent Dalton said, “don’t worry about that, just write it.” That was my plan originally but I didn’t think I would become paralysed by how much to include and what details and how much do I put in of the hospital visits and struggles etc…It is all very interesting. I am really seeking guidance from within about it. I know where it ends, but how much of my own life will I include? This is the unknown at the moment.

Today, I am pondering on this, and meeting up with some writing friends so it should be good. Thanks guys for reading, feel free to comment if you like down the bottom. Have a lovely day! Stay well. πŸ™‚ Suz

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