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.
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.”
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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.