A Writing Conversation with Olga Godim
in which we talk about the escaping via fantasy
Olga is a fellow Vancouverite who is also seasoned writer, predominantly in the fantasy genre. In our upcoming anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Life and Death, she writes about a younger Finder’s quest to find a lost hero of the past in Captain Bulat. This week, we discuss her writing and her story.
R: Tell us a bit about your writing, what do you usually write about? Where does your inspiration come from?
O: I consider myself predominantly a fantasy writer. Although I’ve written one mainstream novel and a few science fiction and magic realism short stories, my imagination leans towards stories with magic, set in a quasi-medieval world. Most of my short stories and all my novels up to date happened in such worlds.
I guess I dislike modern technologies; that’s why I put my characters in a milieu where there is no techno-interference between them and their actions, no social apparatus to camouflage their emotions. They have to solve their problems on their own, with their personal wits, courage, or swords. No machinery, no police, no guns, no internet.
In those times, life might’ve been more brutal than it is now but it was also more exposed, more honest. In those times, a villain couldn’t hide behind a barrage of media, and a hero couldn’t conceal his vulnerabilities. The modern society tends to equalize all of us, but we are all so different. The quasi-medieval way of life I write about emphasizes the differences and makes for a plethora of stories.
R: What made you take the first step to share your writing with an audience?
O: As soon as I started writing I wanted to have people read my stories. But I’m a late bloomer — I started writing very late in life — even though I’ve been making up stories since I remember myself. I’ve always been a daydreamer, always created heroes and their adventures in my head, but when I was younger, I was embarrassed by that part of my nature. Nobody knew about my daydreams — I concealed them, never shared my stories with anyone, and never wrote them down. Never thought I could be a writer.
I was a serious woman, a computer programmer with a university degree in computer sciences. I couldn’t admit to anyone that I daydreamed of princesses, knights, and magic. It took a life-threatening illness to push me into opening up my imagination, and it was a surprise to everyone around me, including my family. Not only I had dozens of stories in my head but they also incorporated magic in one way or another. I was 46 when wrote my first word. When a few years later, the first of my short stories got published, it was a thrill I will never forget, on par with having my first baby.
R: What’s the one thing you want people to take away from your story?
I write to entertain — that’s my main goal. I don’t want to convey any message or inspire any high-brow ideas. I want my readers to forget their troubles during the time they spent immersed in the worlds I created, with the characters that came from my imagination. If my stories could distract anyone from their health concerns or marital woes, unpaid bills or arguments with children, even for a few minutes, then I accomplished my task. The same goes for my story in this anthology, Captain Bulat. I want my readers to be entertained by the story. I want them to take away the feeling of amusement and satisfaction at me heroine’s mad-cap adventures and her brave determination to do the right thing.