Author Spotlight: Gretchen Tessmer

Which author is your biggest inspiration?author photo

Ha! Oh, I can’t pick one. That’s impossible. Um, Dickens for character names (and also writing Bleak House), Yasmina Reza for dialogue, Neil Gaiman for Neverwhere, the Bronte sisters for melodrama, Douglas Adams for life, the universe and everything…and a thousand others for a single scene or random line that waltzed into my head, grinned and said “yes, I think I’ll live here now.”

What’s your favorite science fiction short story, book or movie?

Currently? Thor. Ragnarok. *cue Led Zeppelin*

What advantages do you think flash fiction has to offer you as a writer?

For me, flash is the natural bridge from poetry to short fiction and, as someone who writes both, it’s just a lovely, comfortable place to play. Also, I really enjoy the challenge of an exact word count. It’s a puzzle that requires figuring out which pieces are necessary…which is sometimes really surprising and takes the story in a completely different direction than I originally planned.

Do you think science fiction lends itself well to flash compared to other speculative genres?

Science fiction is all about the unknown and “what could be” so I think sci-fi readers have the built-in imagination to fill in those blanks that flash can’t help but leave behind (due to the short word count).

What are your greatest challenges with writing flash and micro fiction?

Ughh, there’s no time to explore sub-plots and minor characters! And I adore sub-plots and minor characters. As a reader and writer, I’m way more interested in what’s happening off stage or in the shadows. Less Jack and Rose not realizing that they can both totally fit on the stupid door, more the montage of unnamed characters drowning while the orchestra plays Nearer My God to Thee.

Is your favorite genre to write in sci-fi?

Yes, no, maybe? Don’t make me choose.

Where can readers find your other work and which story are you most proud of?

I’ve had a couple sci-fi flash stories published in the last year that are pretty typical of my style(s) – “First Date With the Hive” in Nature (Link here: and “The CAT that Killed Curiosity” in Daily Science Fiction (Link here: Like I mentioned above, I also write speculative poetry. Two of my favorite poems were published in the last few months – “Hey Man, Nice Shot” at Strange Horizons (Link here: and “Teach Your Children Well” at Grievous Angel (Link here:

Are there any links you’d like to share where readers can follow you?

For upcoming projects and publications, feel free to follow me on Twitter: