August - Interview with Olga Godim

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Welcome to Adult Fiction's fourth 'virtual' interview. I, Madhu, will be your host.

We welcome Olga Godim, the very talented Canadian writer, to the interview.

Her works vary from Romance to Fantasy, all equally amazing.

Her short story, 'Dream Frigate' is a heart touching story of a woman who is battling breast cancer and comes highly recommended.

M: Olga, welcome! First off thank you for agreeing to do the interview. We'd love to know more about the mastermind at work, off screen.

OG: Not much of a mastermind, I'm afraid. Just a regular Canadian. I love reading. I collect toy monkeys. I have two children, a son and a daughter, both grownups and living on their own. I write fiction under a pen name. Olga is my legal name, but Godim was my father's first name. He died years ago, before I wrote my first word, but this way, he is part of my writing life. When I don't write fiction and don't play computer games and don't read, I work as a journalist for a local Vancouver newspaper.

M: Your books are all written in genres varying from Romance to Fantasy. Which one do you prefer over the others?

OG: Definitely fantasy. For some reason, I always want something fantastic in my stories. Often, I set them in imaginary worlds with magic and magicians, but even if the events of my stories happen in our own world, magic in one way or another is usually present. Sometimes it is blatant. Sometimes there is only a hint of magic, like in a few magic realism stories I've written. Dream Frigate is one of my magic realism stories. So far, I only have one romance story without magic, a pure regency romance – Fibs in the Family. For some reason, this is the story of mine that has garnered the highest number of readers.

M: While we're on the topic, I'm dying to ask a question that I'm sure many people have wondered when they read your books. Where do you get the ideas from?

OG: Oh, this is the question writers hate. There is no answer. The ideas come from everywhere and nowhere. Anything can spark a story: a book, a TV show, a conversation, an image. For example, my story Dream Frigate was inspired by my personal experience. Another story of mine, also on wattpad, Sylphid's Legacy, was inspired by a painting you can see on its cover. The painting is by a talented Russian artist Zinaida Serebryakova. It depicts a dressing room for the ballet corps in the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia. Serebryakova painted it in the 1920s, before she emigrated from Russia.

M: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

OG: A hard question. As long as I remember myself, I liked to read. I loved playing with words, even reading a dictionary. Also as long as I remember myself, I made up stories, heroes, and their adventures. But I've always been a shy and reserved person, so I never shared my stories with anyone until I was over 40 years old. I started writing as a mature woman, after my kids grew up.

M: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

OG: Never give up!

M: What does literary success look like to you?

OG: I haven't achieved this one yet, but I can tell you my deepest wish. I want people to read my stories and enjoy them. For me, as a writer, it seems the highest degree of success.

M: What period of your life do you find you write about most often?

OG: I don't write about myself at all. I don't think anyone would be interested in my life; it was rather ordinary. My biggest adventure up to date is my writing.

M: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

OG: Most creative people will tell you that the hardest thing is not the creation part but the marketing and selling part. Finding readers, selling my stories – that's difficult. Writing falls into another category altogether. Crafting stories to follow the rules of writing is challenging, but so far, I couldn't stop coming up with new stories. Sure, I can stop writing and not type my stories into the computer anymore, but I can't stop making up stories. It's not up to me. My characters appear in my head whether I want them or not, often at odd moments, when I wash dishes, for example. They start talking and they suck my into their story, with my emotions fully engaged. I can write that story or not, that's my choice, but I can't silence my heroes. I tried once, when I was much younger, and it made me so miserable, I never tried again.

M: Do you believe in writer's block?

OG: Oh, year. I'm in the middle of one right now. I'm empty of new stories, and it upsets me. I hope it is a temporary situation.

M: What do you think of the final drafts of your books?

OG: I like most of them. :)) What else would you expect of a writer?

M: What is the one thing you first observe in a book?

OG: As a reader, you mean? I start with the blurb, and I often read book reviews. I want to know what the book is about before I open the first page. I also like to know the ending, so I often flip to the last pages and read them before going on with the story from the beginning.

M: What is the one thing you've never written about?

OG: I don't write horror. And don't write erotica. Never will.

M: Is there anything you'd avoid while writing a story?

OG: I like a happy ending, or at least as happy as it could be under the circumstances of the story. So I avoid tragedy. We have too much of it in real life. I want each of my books to be an escape from the hardships of life.

M: If you could choose one favourite character you've written about so far, who would it be?

OG: I can't choose one. I'll give you two. One of my favorite characters is Beatrice, a telepathic squirrel familiar who lives with a young witch Darya in Vancouver. Together, they disarm a bomb, eliminate a rogue warlock, and liberate a sylph from a garbage bin. And always help friends in trouble. I recorded their adventures in my collection of short urban fantasy stories Squirrel of Magic. The book is available on Smashwords, Amazon, and other online retailers.

Another favorite character of mine comes from a book that's out of print at the moment. The contract with my publisher has expired, and I need to self-publish that novel, but I' haven't done it yet. The hero of the novel is a mercenary officer in a quasi-medieval world. He is a guy I would want in my life: courageous, generous, honest, and talented. His name is Darin. In 2015, his story – my novel Eagle En Garde – won EPIC eBook Award in the Fantasy category.

M: What do you think is the best thing about him/her?

OG: Beatrice loves her witch, but she also doesn't suffer fools. When Darya gets in trouble, Beatrice might grumble or sulk. She could give her witch a sharp set-down, when deserved, but she is always supportive and loyal. Beatrice is a comic relief and an inspiration, the best friend anyone could have.

On the other hand, Darin fascinates me. His further stories appear in my head all the time, at different points in his life. I know so much about him: his childhood and youth, his children, his marriage, his career, his multiple adventures. Most of it hasn't been published yet. His life story could fill three or four novels, but I stall writing them. I don't know why. Maybe because when it is all written and published, his new stories would stop to appear, and I'm reluctant to say goodbye to him.

M: Are there any projects which we can look forward to, from you in the future?

OG: I'm struggling to write my second regency romance. In Fibs in the Family, there were three sisters. The novella itself is a love story of one of the sisters, the oldest. I'm trying to write a story of the middle sister. I hope to finish it soon-ish.

M: Thank you for doing the interview! It was a pleasure! 

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