No. 3 on the Red List, Coverfly…

Hey guys,

I was excited to see that my book had reached number 3 on Action Manuscript of the month and is Number 4 – Action Manuscript of the year.

This is on coverfly which is a database for screenwriters to host their screenplays or manuscripts.

“Our goal is to become the most efficient way for writers to be discovered by the entertainment industry, and the most trusted guide for emerging writers to achieve their goals…In addition to hosting your projects for free, Coverfly uses your project’s reviews from submissions to top-tier festivals, competitions, fellowships and coverage services to provide a measure of our confidence that an Industry professional would be interested in your screenplay.”

So, it is nice to have this opportunity to have my book up on this site. 🙂 My place has been earned by being the semi-finalist for the Cinematic Book Contest with Screencraft that I was informed of a few weeks ago.

Anyway, thanks for reading! If you’re curious about my book Where the Sun Rises it is available everywhere online in print and ebook. I will include an amazon link, but you can get it in print on Book Depository all around the world.

Have a great day! Kind regards, Suz

Creative beginnings…

Hey guys, I have been recently pondering about how there are countless ways one can start a novel. At the moment I am working on my next novel and I am enjoying exploring this process of creating different beginnings for the book. I am also experimenting with first and third person.

The thing is with the beginning of writing a novel we have to experiment and start writing so that we can work out what we think will be best. We need to not get paralysed by the thought of so many options (haha). This is a hazard isn’t it? When you get frozen by choice. So, don’t do this, just start writing.

Beginnings are so important – and another good thing to do is to read other books you have enjoyed the opening of. Work out why you love these and think about whether you can incorporate this into your work.

So, enjoy the process too. I am enjoying the creative process and simply exploring options at the moment.

If you are curious about my current book it is available for sale on Amazon, and all online outlets as well such as Book Depository, Barnes and Noble and other outlets. 🙂

Thanks for reading! Until next time! Go forth, enjoy your creativity! 🙂 Suzanne

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. 🙂 Suz

My novel Where the Sun Rises Released today!

After three years of research, writing, editing and travel finally my novel, Where the Sun Rises is launched today! Where the Sun Rises follows the story of two Kurdish women who take up arms against ISIS in the Syrian town of Kobane. I’m very excited to finally release my novel.

Click on the link below to order the e-book, it is available in print as well. Contact me for further info about how to get a hold of it. 🙂 Thanks so much! 🙂 Kind regards, Suz (It is available in other countries on Amazon and is available in print as well, it will become more widely available as well :))

Here are some reviews:

‘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.

“Strong 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 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.

Editing of my novel…

Hey guys,

Today I started another whole edit of my novel. Since I made some plot changes a few months ago, I gave myself a little break from writing/editing so I could come back to the manuscript with a fresh perspective. 🙂

It has been an excellent idea. I have actually printed my manuscript as a book and I am editing in this way, whilst sitting in the sun in wherever I choose for that day. 🙂

I am enjoying the process. It is a good idea to give yourself a break from the writing process, write something else so you can come back with fresh eyes. 🙂

I started my second novel a few months ago. This made me feel very good as now I can explore a new narrative. So try that as well it keeps the creative juices flowing and keeps us exercising our writing muscles. 🙂

Have a fab day! Go well. Suz

Interesting…Virginia Woolf

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”

— Virginia Woolf

I am not sure all of our soul secrets end up on the page, but I do think a lot of our inner world, memories and impressions of life come alive with our characters and plot lines. The voice of a writer can be heard long after they have passed, on the pages of their work.

Kind regards, Suz