Heather (Fish) Sutherin

Fiction | Youngstown State University | Class of 2024

Roadkill/Pretty, Pretty// //Pretty, Pretty/Roadkill follows the story of Roadie McAlistair, a Reanimation Specialist (less formally known as a “Respie”) for the clandestine organization known as Clairvoyant (CLVT). CLVT is a non-governmental operation that studies paranormal phenomenon with an unclear end goal. Theories say it is “for the betterment of humanity,” however, there are seeds of doubt even in Old Blood families like Roadie’s. While she and her immediate family all work for, or are trying to get into Clairvoyant, it seems that the longer Roadie works there, the more twisted the organization becomes. The more secrets she learns, the faster she realizes that she must become fully entangled in its roots to get out alive, or otherwise be eaten whole.


About Heather (Fish)

Heather (Fish) Sutherin is a fiction author/playwright from Youngstown, OH, who specializes in the weird and wonderful. Ranging from love stories to horror, ecology to political intrigue, religion and family drama, and sometimes all of it in one sitting, they like taking on topics worth talking about, especially if it isn’t being talked about as much as it should be. Their thesis novel, Roadkill/Pretty, Pretty// //Pretty, Pretty/Roadkill, is a culmination of all these themes and explores the meaning of humanity, what it means to be divine and human (and sometimes, both at once), and what it really means to love.

What’s on your nightstand right now?

Tremors in the Blood: Murder, Obsession, and the Birth of the Lie Detector by Amit Katwala. Audiobook. 2022.
Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean by Lisa-ann Gershwin. E-book. 2013.

Do you have any eccentric habits/strategies to get you started writing? What are they?

I have a very specific writing regimen. I have to have enough space to sprawl, so I’m usually at a table of some sort where I can lay out my notebooks (old school, I like pen on paper for tracking my thoughts; colored pens though) and just be messy. Each story I work on has its own collection of the following items: at least one scented candle according to either the story in general or specific character(s); at least one flavored tea (also, according to general plot or specific character[s]); at least one designated drinking vessel that is only to be used with that story; a designated notebook; usually at least one handcrafted inspiration playlist to get me in the mood. The playlist is usually something I cannot write to, however, as it usually contains lyrical music I find distracting when I’m trying to make my own words go. So I usually put on appropriate instrumental music instead.

Your most awkward moment with a famous writer?

I don’t really have an awkward story, but I got to meet Christopher Paolini in Spring of 2023 and it was one the highlights of my writing career. Growing up, Eragon was one of my all-time favorite books, and Christopher was such an inspiration, and he and Tamora Pierce are basically my literary parents. I didn’t really start thinking about writing books until I read Eragon (Inheritance Series; Paolini) and Terrier (Beka Cooper series; Pierce) and after I read those two…well, uh, here we are? But I got to meet him and found out he’s just as big a nerd as I am and he loves Babylon 5, too (amazing!!), and talking to him was just such a pleasure and I got to thank him for everything and tell him about my thesis and he just was so amazing. It wasn’t really awkward, per se, but it was special.