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.

Reflections…

Hey guys, I just wanted to share this about finding my brother’s journals yesterday while I was moving house. So, my brother died 10 years ago. He was an alcoholic but also a loving, funny, sensitive, creative man. He was my closest brother, I spent all of my childhood with him. I loved him more than anything and I tried to help him be free from his addictions, for years and years. I learnt that you can’t help anyone from these things they have to want it themselves. You can’t help people to save themselves, they need a higher power and their own will.

But yesterday, I found these journals and I read these painful, painful writings he had done over the years. It was very difficult to read them as they expressed his deepest thoughts. I stopped reading them after a bit as it seemed wrong.

But I realised that my brother had discovered writing therapy and I am so grateful that he had that, that he could express his inner most thoughts and feelings and he didn’t hold back.

So many men need to do this. It is completely safe and it can help men to get rid of negative emotions.

I am so sick of people saying men are not emotional or as prone to feeling things like women. It is simply not true. This is possibly why men die by suicide three times more than women, they are told that men keep their emotion in and men don’t feel things. That is crap. So, the men (which is all men) who have normal emotions and feelings of isolation, loneliness, or depression they think they are not normal. They are.

One of my students, Josh Bontje died by suicide some years back. He was such a lovely person, and I could tell kind and sensitive. This has to stop. We have to encourage men and boys and teenager boys to open up and also I am hear to say, guys use writing therapy as well! My brother did and it got him through many years of feeling quite desperate. He could have chosen a better path but that is his story, and his life separate to this, but please, please, please use writing therapy, write down your deepest feelings, and what is happening. You can get rid of it. But if you write it down we know that it will be released from your unconscious.

I am sending a lot of love out to the young and older men who suffer from depression and anxiety, my brother did. And you know what, not even having a chronic condition but just the normal feelings of sadness and worry as well. My brother did not always express his feelings, sometimes he did with me but not all the time. I know he did with other people sometimes as well. But he used writing therapy and it is a wonderful, free tool you can use to be free from negative emotions whatever they are. 🙂

My book Freedom Writing talks about this, so if you are interested it is available on amazon and many other outlets.

But have a look on here as well, I have information about writing therapy.

Go well, stay well and remember we all have feelings and there’s nothing wrong with emotion! Kind regards, Suz

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