Camp NANOWRIMO July…

I have just joined up again for this month’s challenge for my new novel Sarah Johns, which I have already written 37,000 words. I thought it would be excellent to join other writers in writing every day and also just giving support and gaining support from other supportive writers. 🙂

I do not like writers that are really competitive with others or put other authors down, and it does happen.

Anyway, I am excited to be part of this at the moment. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Suz

New novel – Sarah Johns…

Hey everyone,

During these lock down times and times of quarantine I have been trying to make the most of more time to write. I feel this is a unique time where I can get the whole first draft of my next novel written. This novel is quite different from the last novel I wrote which required research about absolutely everything. My new novel is in first person, I am enjoying writing with first person as I haven’t done this for years now. This story is also about someone who is Australian and also someone who is a journalist – therefore it is easier for me to write this book. This character comes from Sydney, which is where I am from. Of course this is her story, not mine, but it is a lot easier to write this book in many ways. Though no doubt as I progress there will be challenges – there always is. Each book has its own particular hurdles, however, I am enjoying this process and I have now written 36,460 words of this next book.

I always knew Where the Sun Rises (WTSR) might be the hardest book I attempted to write, due to the fact that I had to research everything, including; culture, on the ground war facts, conditions in Syria, how it felt to be there as well as focalising from another cultural point of view, and from two points of view. It was an ambitious feat 😉 I am glad I wrote it. But I just wanted to say I am enjoying not having to research absolutely everything. 🙂 Though of course there is some research I will have to do, though nowhere near as much as WTSR.

Anyway, stay tuned for this next book. Also, I hope you are able to do some creative things in this time. Whatever you like to do. I have also been knitting, buying pot plants, exercising a bit and drawing. 😀 So, go forth and be creative. Thanks for reading! Remember, you’re not alone. 😀 Take care, Suz

Bilgola Beach, Sydney.

My novel writing journey…

Soon, my novel Where the Sun Rises will be published. It has taken me four years to research, write and edit it, develop the characters, plot and travel to the middle east to gain on the ground knowledge.

My novel is set within the battle for Kobane that happened in 2014 and 2015, it went strangely for exactly six months and two days. In this battle, Kurdish fighters including Kurdish women of the YPJ fought ISIS to regain Kobane, a Kurdish homeland. The battle for Kobane was a pivotal battle that ultimately lead to the demise of Daesh in Syria and beyond.  Kurdish women have been fighting equally to men for the past two decades in Turkey, Iraq and Syria, yet the world knows little about these women.

This is the first novel which brings to life this battle, and from the unique perspective of the female fighters. Where the Sun Rises explores this successful battle through the eyes of two female Kurdish characters, Karin and Roza who choose to fight Daesh (ISIS) after their brother and husband are killed. These two best friends take up arms to defend their families and homeland. They then have to embark on a recovery mission for friends captured by Daesh.

How did I come up with this idea?

While working as a lecturer at UQ in Brisbane, in 2015, I became fascinated by the story of the women who took up arms in the battle of Kobane. I wondered what would it be like if we could see this battle from their point of view? I wanted to bring this alive to a western audience and shine a light on what these brave women are doing within the Kurdish forces in Syria.

Over the following three and a half years in writing this novel, I conducted more than 2,000 thousand hours of research and travelled to the middle east to see and experience as much of it for myself as I could. I watched documentaries, watched footage of battle and the frontline, read articles, looked at maps and researched culture and language to be as authentic as I could in recreating this reality. I wanted to express the stories of these phenomenal women who took a stand against ISIS and fought ferociously and in the battle of Kobane.

Masada, Israel

UN Peace Keeper Soldiers, Adrian was talking to me about with the war in Syria, this is at the Golan Heights, border with Syria. This picture was taken in 2016 when the war was still raging over the border. A week after this picture was taken a few Daesh men crossed the border and were killed.

I wrote part of this novel while undertaking a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Macquarie University (graduating in 2017). The manuscript received high praise from its external readers:

Dr Toby Davidson: Macquarie University Lecturer,

“The manuscript is compellingly written, well-paced dramatically with a strong research component that helps it ‘feel real’ at a sensory as well as at a logistical level. High creative achievement is evenly spread across the manuscript. Sensory memories accessed through scents and tastes are used brilliantly (for example an orange evoking a memory of a sibling’s death and the return to real life in the markets). The physical strain, tenderness and revulsion of war are superbly captured… Ultimately, this is a worthy story, written with care and dedication. It is an ambitious, compassionate and powerful novel.”

 Dr Lynne Spender, UTS Lecturer

“The author 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…Action sequences are described in detail and are convincing. The author 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. Recollections of peaceful days and olive groves are neatly woven into the narrative, as are the reassuring pots of tea… This is an admirable piece of work.”

GET YOUR COPY OF MY BOOK – YOU CAN PRE-ORDER IT HERE.

Its available in print and e-book on Amazon and many other outlets.

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO PRE-ORDER! It is available for $1.99 at the moment until I launch it and then it will go up.

Where the Sun Rises…Cover!

Hey guys, this is the cover of my new book that will be coming out in October. 🙂 I am very excited that it will finally be released. 🙂

I will let you know some background over the next few weeks of how I came up with this idea and what real life events this novel is based on.

Thanks so much for reading. If you would like to pre-order my book click on the link below or search the title in your country. 🙂 It will only be available for $1.99 until launch day. 🙂

Thanks heaps. Have a great day. Suz

Sunshine Coast Council & Arts Qld funding for novel…

I am very excited to announce that I have gained funding support from the Regional Arts Development Fund from the Sunshine Coast Council and Arts Queensland for further development of my novel before it will be published in October. 🙂

Very exciting! Thank you so much for providing this support. Thank you! 😀