Susannah's professional writing and editing career began in 1998 when she enrolled in RMIT’s Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. She was passionate about words and determined to ‘make it’ as a writer. During her three years as a part-time student, she co-founded a student-run publishing collaborative called RANT. The project was a great success and ultimately published two collections of student work, RANThology and RANTevision.
Before she graduated from RMIT, she began freelancing as an editor and book designer for writers who wanted to self-publish. She worked with many first-time authors fine tuning and polishing their manuscripts. She also wrote a K2 level children’s education title called Sea Jellies.
The book was originally published by Barrie Publishing in 2002. After several publisher takeovers, the book is still in print and is currently being distributed to schools throughout the USA under the new title Jellyfish.
While she was at RMIT, she took an elective unit in screenwriting. She loved it so much, she wanted to explore it further. So, after graduating the Professional Writing and Editing course, she enrolled in RMIT’s Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting.
In 2002, her first short film called The Spider and the Fly... A Fable was produced by a local independent production company. She was fortunate to be involved in some of the day-to-day production aspects from pre-production to post-production (editing with Ken Sallows). The Spider and the Fly… A Fable went on to screen at Australian festivals including the St Kilda Film Festival.
Around this time, Susannah began work on two feature-length screenplays. The first was a comedy called baggage, which went on to become a Top 50 finalist in the Australian version of Project Greenlight. She didn't win the grand prize (which was a production deal to make the film); however, in 2009, she was invited to workshop baggage at Plume & Pellicule in Switzerland with filmmakers from Cuba, the USA, France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. A heart-warming story about a harried young woman in need of a miracle, baggage has been read by several influential actors and filmmakers and optioned several times (four at last count). Unfortunately, the story has never made it to the big screen.
The second project was a biopic about Jean Lee, the last woman hanged in Australia. The unproduced screenplay was performed as a rehearsed reading at The Loft at Chapel off Chapel and at the Kelvin Club, a private members club in the heart of Melbourne's CBD. Jean Lee has been optioned twice, but like baggage the project has never made it into production.
Later in 2009, Susannah was invited to be one of several writers on a micro-budget feature-length horror film called Don’t Fall Asleep. After three drafts the script was declared ready and the film went into production in Los Angeles, California. Don't Fall Asleep was distributed in the USA via DVD and digital download.
Shortly after Don't Fall Asleep's release, Susannah began work on her own micro-budget feature-length project. Working with a writing and producing partner, Killervision (a psychological horror/thriller) went into production in Melbourne in early 2010. It was distributed on DVD and digital download in the USA and Canada by Maxim Media 2019. It is now available to stream on Ozflix and YouTube.
In 2011, Susannah began a collaborative partnership with Voyage Media, a film packaging company based in Los Angeles. Voyage optioned two of her feature film scripts, a tentpole action sci-fi and a psychological thriller. Producer Elizabeth Kushman (Scream 4, One Missed Call) was attached to both projects which she ultimately pitched to the Senior Vice President of Production & Development at Constantin Film (Resident Evil series, The Mortal Instruments, Fantastic Four).
She also began assessing manuscripts for adaptation into screen projects (film, TV, web) as well as writing treatments and feature-length book-to-script adaptations. The range of projects that she worked on was broad, from children's animation to erotic gore. Most screen projects were aimed at the low to mid-range market in the USA and all project development opportunities were team-based, which gave her the opportunity to work with some experienced producers such as Michelle Sy (Finding Neverland).
In 2014, Susannah decided to try something different and co-founded a boutique digital publishing business based in Melbourne. The business developed and published several children’s story book apps that were available on all major platforms. Regrettably, one of the partners was unexpectedly forced to pull out of the enterprise while it was still in its infancy. Their contribution to the business was pivotal and attempts to find a new partner were unsuccessful. The remaining partners reassessed the business’s viability and ultimately decided to close up shop and move on.
When a door closes a window opens—or so the saying goes. In the wake of the business's closure, Susannah returned to university where she studied for a Master of Arts degree. She also completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. In 2018, she started teaching in the Professional Writing and Editing course at Box Hill Institute.
The years 2019 and 2020 were extraordinarily productive. In 2019, the UK based independent publisher Dixi Books published Open Wounds, a collection of Susannah's short stories, and in 2020, Dixi Books published her contemporary novel This is Not a Lie. Developed as her master's degree research project, This is Not a Lie is an ethnographic/autoethnographic story about a rock band in which the twenty-two-year-old main character is a heroin addict and a closet homosexual.
In 2021, in the wake of Covid-19 and closures to arts programs in universities and colleges across the country, Susannah developed Your Writing Mentor, a series of downloadable trainings for aspiring authors. Your Writing Mentor is very much a labour of love, and a work in progress. Right now, new trainings are uploaded as time allows.
As well as developing new trainings for Your Writing Mentor, she's in the early stages of developing a new novel about an Australian soldier who was deployed to Afghanistan. Deafening Silence is a compelling and emotional tale about duty, sacrifice, desire, and loss. She can't wait to share it with you.