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Interview: Abra Staffin-Wiebe on “Overwintering Habits of the North American Mermaid”

What was the inspiration for “Overwintering Habits of the North American Mermaid,” or what prompted you to write it?

I was challenged to write something very rooted in the winter weather and the geography of Minnesota, where I live. We have over 10,000 lakes and the Mississippi River. Combine that with the odd phenomena of seasonal dating habit changes and the appearance of abandoned clothes, add a few mermaids, and there you go!


Is flash fiction something you typically write?

I write at all lengths, from micro fiction to novels. The shortest story I’ve sold was only 20 words long (to Thaumatrope twitter fiction). The revisions process is certainly less painful when you only have a few sentences to polish!


What are you working on now?

I’m working on two novels… with occasional breaks to write short stories when I’m struck by an irresistible idea! My main project is a contemporary fantasy thriller set in Belize. My fluffy side project is an urban fantasy novel about a half-dragon, half-succubus who stumbles onto a dimension-traveling hotel (hint: hijinks ensue). And my epic fantasy novella, The Unkindness of Ravens, recently came out. It’s a story of trickster gods, favors owed, and a royal heir desperate to protect his House from a plague-driven war.


“Overwintering Habits of the North American Mermaid” appears in the November/December 2018 issue of F&SF.

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