Prompt to Publication | Susannah MacDonald

Prompt to Publication | Susannah MacDonald 

Today we are celebrating Susannah MacDonald. Since 12 Short Stories started in 2017 we’ve seen many of our writers go on to publish and accomplish great things with their writing. The Prompt to Publication emails are all about celebrating these writers and their wonderful stories.

I hope these interviews will help you and teach you how to use Deadlines for Writers to build your author platform.

Author feature: I’d like to introduce Susannah MacDonald.

Susannah has completed the 12 Short Stories challenge three times.

Watch our first video interview.

What have you published?

Susannah MacDonald: The title of my book is ‘Echoes from a Time Passage’ and the best way I can find to describe it is; esoteric, futuristic fiction.

In 2015 one of my poems was published in a poetry book commemorating ANZAC Day in remembrance of the Australians and New Zealanders who fought in World War 1.

Then this year one of my short stories was included in Patty Adams’ Indie publication, and here the experiences participating in 12SS have been extremely helpful.

Has 12 Short Stories helped you as a writer?

Susannah MacDonald: Completing the 12SS is enormous fun. While 12SS hasn’t directly helped me to publish, the ongoing experience of editing, editing, and then editing some more, certainly helped in the final stages of probably my fifth editing of my book and the final publishers’ edit. Also, the constant feedback from the folks in 12SS has alerted me to all kinds of things that I would probably have missed, word repetition and punctuation for example. While working through yet another edit of the sequel to the first book, I’ve found that I’ve become eagle-eyed.

The delightful challenge of writing one story per month, and especially the daily short story writing during the COVID lock-down, kept my editorial brain ticking over, but more importantly, keep me thinking outside of the square in order to use the prompt.  Enormous fun!

What is your favourite story you wrote for 12SS?

Susannah MacDonald: I’m not sure that I have a favourite story which I wrote, and there is nothing that inspired my book’s characters or plot, which go back further than I can recall. But I have, for the sequel, included one of the short stories written for 12SS, in one of the chapters for which I only had a couple of paragraphs. So I expanded that bit into a short story, then of course edited it accordingly for the book. Then I wrote this short story which links with the peoples in my book, though this story is not part of it. Read Tiramisu.


Susannah MacDonaldI’ve been writing fiction on and off all my life, but it wasn’t till I had hours of downtime as a support person for tertiary students, that I got the boost to use my writing skills seriously. Access to computers and the internet meant that I could bash away for hours writing on the Webook site, until the next lecture. But it wasn’t till I’d completed my Bachelor of Visual Art and subsequent academic writing, that I began a long short story for consideration in an anthology of science fiction.  The project didn’t go ahead, but the story of 20,000 words grew into ‘Echoes from a Time Passage’. In addition to working on the book, I continued to write for the now-disbanded Webook (fiction and poetry) and joined 12SS, which of course put me in touch with a world of gifted writers.

Read Sue’s blog.

Read an excerpt of Susannah’s work, ‘Echoes from a Time Passage’.

 ‘I continued to enjoy my studies but persisted surreptitiously to dig into more information about Earth. I learntEchoes from the passage of time that things had changed radically following the last Great Deluge.  Father informed me that the three most powerful nations on the plane had all but been destroyed. There had been dreadful wars during which a terrible disease had ravaged these places where all but the strongest had died.  All cures had failed, for the disease kept changing, becoming increasingly and viciously sinister as it seemed to leap across the lands. At last, only isolated settlements remained, clinging in some places to the edges of the land where it meets the sea and others in the highest places.

I heard that there were groups of lands named The Pacific Federation, the Asian Alliance and the Euro-Scandinavian Federation. I learnt that there were great movements of the Earth, where new lands had erupted from the ocean bed, and mountains formed from the fissures between the great plates on which the lands sat. Vast flat planes of ocean-floor stretched for great distances around some of the old lands.

Father informed me that a once sunken land had risen after having sat beneath the ocean for many time cycles, which on Earth are called ‘years’.

Sometimes, I sat with this information and gazed out upon our great ocean and thought. I felt, on such occasions, strangely remote as if out of my body. One such time, I grew afraid as I found myself a long way up over the great expanse of water, looking down on another ‘me’ sitting in the herbage below.’

*Cover design and illustrations by Susannah MacDonald.

Buy the book

Buy from Fishpond.

Buy from Angus Robertson.

Buy from Book Depository.

Buy from Books a Million.

Buy from Amazon.

Well done, Susannah!

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