Drowned Earth Author – Sue-Ellen Pashley


Australian Speculative Fiction (ASF) is all about showcasing Australian and New Zealander authors. One of the many projects currently under way is the Drowned Earth Novella series—a series of eight novellas written by different authors all set in the same scenario – a flooded Australia.

To get to know these amazing authors they have been kind enough to answer some questions.

Sue-Ellen Pashley is the next author to join us in the virtual interview chair.

What can you tell us about your Novella?

Six years after the Great Rise, territories have been formed on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. With minimal resources and a early history of violence, the territories are now peaceful, governed by the Authority. Kate, a medic for the territories, has begun to rebuild her life, doing what she can with her medical knowledge. But when she finds her best friend, Mason, floating unconscious next to her boat home, and with a stab wound he asks her to keep secret from the Authority, Kate’s not sure what to do. Or who to trust.

What drew you to submitting your pitch in the first place?

I loved the idea of the world we know being radically changed but with our cultural history and ideals still in place. And, really, who can resist a dystopian theme?!

Opportunities like this are fantastic to really flex your writing muscles and collaborate alongside other fantastic authors. Is the collaboration that is necessary for a project such as Drowned Earth something that you have ever participated in before?

I’ve submitted stories for anthologies before with all the stories of similar themes but this is the first time I’ve ever collaborated as much as this series allows. And I love it – it’s so nice to be able to continue a theme throughout the set and build a world that has everyone’s different take in their own stories.

Describe your writing style…

Generally, I write in first person POV – it just flows more naturally for me. I love a story with some mystery about it but also some humour so that’s how I try and write. And as a psychologist/social worker in my ‘other’ life, I love to have a focus on character – what are they thinking and feeling, how are they reacting? Since I’m a mix between plotter and pantser I love it when characters can surprise me!

What kind of research do you do for your writing? How’s that google history looking…

My google history is always interesting and would probably provide some decent fodder for ASIO if they wanted to search – along with most writers! I think for this one, I’ve already googled where you could stab someone without causing too much internal damage, does a stab wound still clot in salt water and what natural herbs can you use in medicine? I’ve also looked at maps that show what would be left with different levels of ocean rises and how much of Australia’s population live in areas lower than these levels (and therefore how much decimation we’d see). All in a day’s work really – I love this job. 😊

What has influenced you most as a writer?

The first real series I can remember loving as a teenager was the Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider series. And I still love it. So that was it – spec fic had me in it’s clutches. But I love taking on new challenges as well. That’s why I’ve also got a children’s picture book coming out this year.

Any advice you would give your past self or other writers just starting out?

Write. There are so many excuses we can make for ourselves on why we can’t or other things we have to do first. Just write. And then write some more, until you’ve finished your story. And go to as many workshops as you can, talk to other writers, read – immerse yourself in your craft. And of course, chocolate, tea and wine are essential to the craft. Never forget that! 😊

Where can we learn more about you or follow you on social media?

You can find me at:



Pashley Sue-Ellen


Check out our kickstarter for more details about the novellas. They are all standalone stories that can be read in any order.

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