Freedom Writing -Journal Free for 3 days…

Hey guys, I am giving away my book Freedom Writing for free for the next four days.

Monday June 15-Wednesday June 18.

Feel free to download it from Amazon. 🙂 These two books talk about the amazing power of writing therapy that is available to everyone even if you use single words to release your emotion. I wrote these books to help people find the freedom I have found in writing down my emotions and releasing unwanted memories or trauma or simple everyday emotions.

Now, they are free for a few days, so take advantage of it and download them. Try it and you will see the power of writing therapy!

Go well today and always, stay well. Kind regards, Suz

Manhattan Book Review

Where the Sun Rises
By Suzanne Strong
Green Acre Publishing, $13.95, 271 pages, Format: eBook

Where the Sun Rises is a novel told from alternating viewpoints of two childhood friends: Karin and Roza. The story begins in 2014 when the Islamic State, ISIS, or Daesh, as some choose to call them in protest, begin to invade the city of Kobane, in the Kurdish region of Syria. It’s a heartwrenching story of two women who give up everything to protect their families and the land that they love. Both Karin and Roza individually join the YPJ (Women’s Protection Unit) of the YPG, the Kurdish people’s militia to fight against ISIS. They reunite at a training camp for the YPJ.

Both women face heartbreaking losses and choose to fight for the YPJ out of fierce love for their families and the place they call home. Karin is studying to be a doctor, and Roza is a former English teacher and mother to a six-year-old. This novel traces the journey two highly educated young women take to become tough, skillful militia fighters. It also provides insight into how the women fighters are trained and how they are as fierce fighters as the men.

The civil war in Syria has many facets, and Where the Sun Rises opens a door to the perspective of the Kurdish people living in Syria. Reading it helped me realize how little I know about Kurdistan, Syria, and the geopolitics of the region. Although Karin and Roza’s story is fictional, I can easily imagine how many real-life women have similar stories. Karin and Roza’s courage will catch you and make you wonder at their ability to persevere. They are ordinary women who respond to extraordinary circumstances.

I cried throughout this story, and what I took from the ending was that we all have the ability to fight for what we love when the situation demands it, though the cost we pay is very high.”

First and third person

Hey everyone,

After starting my next novel in third person, I decided to rewrite it in first person. I feel that it is flowing better, and the character and other characters are divulging themselves in an easier and more natural way.

When I was in my 20s I wrote most if not all of my creative work in first person. I enjoyed it. Then a number of years ago I moved away from it. (I did write a story in second person once as well). After writing in third person for many years now, I feel like writing in first person is exciting, it has limitations but also, allows you as the writer to give a voice to this character. I am really enjoying it. I think each novel requires a different approach.

Where the Sun Rises is written in third person, from the point of view of Karin and Roza. I switch between their points of view each chapter. This was completely necessary for this novel as I wanted to have a larger point of view, a big canvas, a large view, and also I was writing from the Kurdish’s women’s point of view. I just felt it was more suitable. Now though, this next book about the character Sarah Johns from my first book is suited to first person. It is flowing and I feel her voice easier. She is an Australian journalist who reports on the war in Syria, meets and gets to know Karin and Roza, but has her own issues at home.

Anyway, feel free to comment if you prefer to use one or the other or if you have switched between the two. 🙂

Thanks for reading! 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 Reviews for Where the Sun Rises…

Hello,

Here are some new reviews for Where the Sun Rises. 🙂 Thanks for reading. I hope your New Year is going well. 🙂

 A beautifully written, emotive novel; behold the fierce sisterhood rejecting tyranny.

Suzanne Strong’s affecting novel induced me to shed tears, swept me up in the moment as though I was, indeed, on the ground in Kurdish Syria, and had me on tenterhooks throughout.

I had the pleasure of reading ‘Where the Sun Rises’ over the New Year. On more than one occasion, I found myself with goose bumps and hairs upstanding – unable to put this book down for fear of missing what happens next.

I would highly recommend! Five stars!

Kathryn Le Gay Brereton 5.0 out of 5 stars

 

“Freedom crowns the heads of the free but only slaves know it’s value. In our society, being a wife or a daughter means you are not a person in your own right…”

This novel is much more than a story about war. Though the war against Isis provides the motivation of the action; this is primarily an intimate tale of two best friends who yearn for peace and equality and are prepared to sacrifice all they have to achieve it.

Sometimes we can switch off emotionally from the endless news cycle of wars in distant lands such as the fight against Isis in Syria. It seems so far away and our lives seem so different. The beauty of this novel is in its rich exploration of the characters of Roza and Karin. We come to know them and their rich culture and to recognise parts of them in us. Their story is told with compassion, feminine understanding and gentle humour.

Suzanne Strong’s skill and thorough research takes you deep into the lives and struggles of these Kurdish women in a memorable, compelling and emotionally touching read.

Heather Preston5 out of 5 Stars

Great Read

“Suzanne Strong has written a very powerful book that will tug at your heart. This is a story about the brave women who fought against the Daesh to save their town. An eye-opener and a tearjerker to the way they sacrificed themselves for their comrades. This is a book that you won’t want to put down until you finish it.”

Maggie Long

5 out of 5 Stars

It was amazing.

“‘Where the Sun Rises’ was difficult to put down. It’s a gripping read, amazingly researched and written with great sensitivity. I highly recommend as a narrative on a difficult but vitally important topic.”

Marilyn Cowling  – 5 out of 5 Stars

Where The Heart Is

“This is a one-of-a-kind, fantastically ambitious novel. I’d never considered the realities of women in war, let alone their personal, emotional and familial stories. Suzanne Strong has provided us with dramatic insight into this, with the grim reality of war counterpointed with sensual tastes and textures for relief and cultural flavour – a backdrop to these women’s hellish predicament.

What does it mean to fight against an enemy when you don’t have a recognised homeland?

A remarkable and necessary tale of women’s friendship in war, and the Kurdish struggle for a safe place called ‘home’.”

Claire Doyle 5.0 out of 5 stars

This book has it all!

“A wonderful story that pulls at your heart strings while reminding you how strong and determined women can be. The author puts you right in the middle of their dilemmas, their joys and sorrows while beautifully weaving in the culture of the land. I very much enjoyed this book!”

Amazon Customer – 5.0 out of 5 stars

“Having just read Where the Sun Rises by Suzanne Strong I am very impressed that it’s been launched when Turkey just evicted the Kurdish people – this is SO the book. Female fearless fighters – standing up for what they believe. So well written it feels you are really there. Recommend it highly. “

Sue – 5 out of 5 Stars

“Loved this book. It took me to a place I will never be, amongst people I will never meet, but stories about this part of world often come up in the news. Until now it has been very easy to disconnect from the horror stories coming from these places. Now that I feel I have been there along side these remarkable women I will certainly connect on a higher level to the problems in this part of the world. Ms Strong has a very detailed style of writing which makes it easy to be totally immersed in the lives of the characters. Would highly recommend this read. “

Nell Taig  – 5 out of 5 Stars

Unique & gritty

“A wonderfully unique read, highlighting the horrors of war while exploring the relationships between women determined to fight and protect their region. At times harrowing and heart-wrenching but also filled with hope. Well worth a read.”

Dawn Brookes 5.0 out of 5 stars 

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.

Following your main character

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him or her!”

Ray Bradbury

I always think the best work I’ve written is when I allowed my characters to do what they would do, and say. That is when it works. Let them be who they are, say what they will and do what they will do, not what you would. This has been the case for me the many years I have been writing.

Have a great day!