Interview With Abigail Russo, Runner Up in the Summer 2023 Flash Fiction Contest

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Today I'm excited to interview Abigail Russo, runner up in the Summer 2023 WOW! Flash Fiction Contest. Before we get to our interview, make sure you check out her story, Dear One, first. Then come on back!

But first, here's a bit about Abigail Russo:

Abigail Russo is a creative writer based in Boston, Massachusetts. Her writing has been published in Quail Bell Magazine and The Times of Israel, and she is currently revising her first novel. By day she works in international development, and has worked extensively across Asia, Africa, and the United States. When she’s not writing, she can be found enjoying the mountains, reading with a large bowl of popcorn, and attempting to remove cat hair from her clothes. Connect with Abigail via her website ( or Twitter (@ARussoWrites).

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: I really enjoyed this story. Can you tell me about what inspired you to write this?

Abigail: This story came from a well of sadness when Roe v. Wade was overturned. That day, I wrote in my notebook: “What is there to say about women interacting with a broken healthcare system?” Several months later, I came back to that and wrote this story. I wanted to showcase the dark reality that instead of making strides forward, we’ve regressed with regards to reproductive healthcare access. I’m glad that by the time this story was published we were starting to see some political wins for abortion access at the state level in the United States, but it still speaks to an all-too-common reality for people needing reproductive care. 

WOW: Absolutely. And you expressed those thoughts creatively so perfectly. Do you plan out your stories before you start them?

Abigail: When writing a short story, I generally sketch a few messy sentences about the story’s premise and direction. Then I jump right in and see what happens. 

WOW: What a great approach! You have traveled extensively! Does that inspire your writing? And how?

Abigail: Absolutely. My travels have primarily inspired my writing and my writing self by making me more curious and observant. Traveling extensively has also made me relatively shameless about approaching people and asking silly questions, which gives me ideas for new story perspectives and settings. 

WOW: I love that. What are you working on now?

Abigail: I am querying my debut YA contemporary novel, which is both exciting and terrifying. I’m also working on a variety of short stories, including one about a cat owner in a terrible bind. I suppose it was only a matter of time before my cats started to directly inspire my writing (beyond their regular contributions of adding strings of nonsense letters to my Google docs).

WOW: Ha, that is so cool. You seem to write stories that seem to really call the reader to think and really experience another's walk. What calls you to write those stories?

Abigail: I hadn’t thought about it that way. Writing that's deeply immersive and highly emotional seems to come most naturally to me, perhaps because I'm drawn to creating stories around turning points in characters' lives. It helps me articulate the stakes.

WOW: I think that's a great way to create in-depth characters. What lasting thoughts do you have for writers who are uncertain about sharing their voice through their stories?

Abigail: Don't be afraid to play around! The supernatural element of Dear One is very outside my comfort zone, but I'm glad I gave it a try. I only recently started writing short stories again and was entirely sure whether I was "doing it right." Not only is there no such thing, but writing short stories has the dual benefit of being satisfying for its own sake and helping you hone your craft for longer pieces.

WOW: I completely agree! Thank you for your time and best of luck on your future writing endeavors.


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