The third of my author interviews over afternoon tea is with Olga Godim. Having seen some of her amazing cover designs, and with Fibs in the Family on my To Be Read list, I was so happy to be able to put my ten questions to her.
So grab a cup of tea and maybe a biscuit or slice of cake, then sit back and relax and read the interview…
Thanks so much for taking the time to join us for afternoon tea today, Olga. To begin with, for those who don’t know you or have yet to discover your writing, please introduce yourself.
I’m Olga Godim. I write speculative fiction and an occasional romance. By now, I’ve written several novels. Three of them were published by small publishers in 2013 and 2014. One of my novels even received an award. All of them are out of print now, and the rights have reverted back to me. I’m planning to self-publish them.
I’ve also written a number of short stories, most of which were published in magazines or anthologies. I’ve been writing for a professional newspaper since 2007, and the number of my published articles is well over 300. One of my novellas on wattpad, a Regency romance Fibs in the Family, has topped 42K readers. And I have a collection of urban fantasy short stories, Squirrel of Magic, available everywhere where ebooks are sold.
Lately, I’ve discovered a new venue for my creativity. I started making book covers and I love it. So far, I’ve made 30 book covers for wattpad writers, and I also create pre-made book covers, which I post on my deviantArt page.
When did you first realise you wanted to become a writer?
I became a writer pretty late in life. By education, I’m a computer programmer. I worked with computers for almost three decades. I’ve also always been a daydreamer. Since I remember myself, I’ve made up stories and played them in my head like a one-woman theater, but I never told anyone about my daydreams. They were my secret. I didn’t write anything down.
To tell the truth, I was a bit embarrassed. I was a professional woman, a single mom with two children. I never thought I could be a writer, never confided in anyone about my daydreams, but I couldn’t get rid of the imaginary characters residing in my head, even if I wanted to. I didn’t. They always helped me through rough patches. I escaped into my daydreams and felt happy there, often happier than in my real life.
In 2002, I got seriously ill. During my long recovery, my daydreams became more persistent. Besides, I had a lot of free time on my hands and not much energy for anything but sitting on a sofa, reading. I always liked to read. Sadly, I couldn’t find many books I liked. Disgusted with the majority of published works that came my way, I decided I could do better than most books. It was incredibly naïve, of course, just proving my complete ignorance, but I guess, my illness made me brave. I decided to turn one of my daydreams into a written story.
From my first paycheck after I returned to work – I know the exact month, Feb 2003 – I bought a dedicated laptop, off limit to my kids, and started writing my first story. I never stopped writing since then, but I had discovered pretty soon that I didn’t know squat about writing. So the learning process had commenced. It’s still going on.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. More often than not, my inspiration comes from books I read or movies I watch. Sometimes from life. I would think: what if a similar situation arose, but in a different milieu or a different genre? Science fiction instead of historical romance? Traditional fantasy with magic instead of WWII? What if the leading character was not the one who stars in this book, but his sidekick? What if the said sidekick was of the opposite gender? You know, those magic words all writers start with: What if?
Can you tell us about your writing process? What’s the first thing you do when you get a new idea?
Most of my stories start with people talking in my head. Like many writers, I hear voices. And those voices translate into emotions. Sometimes, I would be so upset by my imaginary conversation, I would cry, with real tears. Sometimes, I would laugh. If the conversation persists, if the characters start acting, doing something to resolve their conflict, all in my head still, then it is time to start writing a story and see where it goes.
In your opinion, what’s the best and worst thing about being a writer?
The best is that I get to live in my imaginary worlds, among my heroes. They make me happy. The worst – well, I guess, the worst would be that I don’t make money with my writing, except journalism, of course. Not many writers do, unfortunately, although there are a few lucky ones.
What projects have you been working on recently? What plans do you have for the future?
My latest project was a series of six flash fiction sci-fi stories connected by the same protagonist. I’m a part of the blog hop WEP. Check it out. We are always happy when new people join us. Once every two months, we introduce a challenge – a topic – and every participant writes a flash story for that challenge on her blog. Then we hop around the blogs of the participants, read, and comment. The six challenges for each year are announced in the beginning of the year.
I have been a part of this blog hop for several years now, and it is fun. This year, I decided to write a sci-fi story for each challenge. They are all completed, although only two have been published so far, for the February and April challenges. All six stories are about a pet shop on a space station. Different animals, different adventures, but the same protagonist – the pet shop owner. I also wanted to try my hand at humor, and so far, my readers were satisfied. They laughed.
My plans for the future involve mostly self-publishing. I have several novels out of print I want to self-publish. I also assembled three collections of short stories in three different subgenres of speculative fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, and magic realism. Most of the stories have been published before, but I own the rights. Some were written specifically for these collections. I want to self-publish them too.
Many authors are also avid readers. Who are some of your favourite authors? Can you share with us some of your favourite books?
My two favorite genres to read are speculative fiction and romance, same as what I write. My favorite speculative fiction writers are Lois McMaster Bujold, Wen Spencer, Sharon Shinn, and Patricia Briggs. I own and re-read occasionally most of their books. Recently, I also discovered Anne Bishop and her Others series. I don’t own them, but I enjoyed reading them.
In romance, it is Georgette Heyer, Jayne Ann Krentz (and her various pen names), Julia Quinn, and Jennifer Cruise. I also own and re-read many of their books.
The favorite books are harder to pin-point, because they tend to change. At the moment, I would say Wen Spencer’s Tinker and her entire Elfhome series. I like them so much that I wrote fan fiction set in the Elfhome universe; the only fan fiction I’ve ever written. Two of my Elfhome stories are already published on wattpad. Another one is finished, but I think I’ll publish it later in the year. It’s about Christmas, and I want to post it on wattpad for Christmas.
If you were only allowed to own three books, which three would you choose?
Jennifer Cruise’s Agnes and the Hitman
Wen Spencer’s Tinker
Lois McMaster Bujold’s Komarr
We love quotes at Sammi Loves Books. Please share with us one of your favourite quotes from one of your own stories or poems, and explain why you chose it.
The protagonist of my novel Almost Adept, Eriale, is a magician. When someone asked her how her magic worked, this was her reply.
“Magic is energy.”
“What can you do with it?”
“Anything.” She grinned. “Anything that can be done without it.”
“What do you mean?”
“For example, if you want to carry a load of crystals,” she pointed to the wagons, where the guard still snored peacefully, “to the other side of the kingdom, you can do it using a horse and a wagon. And lots of time. Or you can employ a mage to transport your cargo much faster. The horse would spend energy pulling the wagon. It would need to eat and sleep to replenish its strength. So would a drover. A mage is no different. He compacts the time and space needed for transportation, but his use of energy is multiplied by a hundred. He uses the same amount of energy for the same job, but he pulls this energy out of himself. Of course, mages are always hungry and tired after working magic.”
Another thing we love at Sammi Loves Books is afternoon tea. If you could have afternoon tea with any author or fictional character, who would you choose and why? Just so you know, the table can seat four, so feel free to fill all available seats, but don’t forget to leave one for yourself! 😉 Also, where might you have this afternoon tea and what is being served? You know, so we can all enjoy it…
Well, that is the hardest question of all. To choose among my favorites is tough, but I’ll endeavor. My three guests would be:
- Cordelia from Bujold’s Cordelia’s Honor and Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. She is my favorite sci-fi female heroine.
- Anna from Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. Anna is an Omega werewolf; she makes everyone calm and happy. She is my favorite werewolf, bar none.
- Zoe from Sharon Shinn’s Troubled Waters. Zoe has magic. She commands all liquids: water, blood, etc. She is a no-nonsense young woman, intensely loyal to her friends and family. She is tolerant, flexible, and adaptable, just like water that obeys her. One of my absolute favorite fantasy characters.
We’ll have coffee, tea, and French pastries in my home town, Vancouver.
Thank you so much, Olga, for the interview. Your answers were interesting and entertaining to read. I really enjoyed the quote you chose; the last line is fantastic! The blog hop writing challenge you’re part of sounds fun – I’m sure some of the readers will be checking it out soon – I know I will be 😉 And I’m sure many writers, including myself, agree with your response for what’s the best and worst thing about being writer. Looking ahead, I wish you every success with all future projects and your self-publishing adventure.
Connect with the Author
Olga Godim is a speculative fiction writer and journalist from Vancouver, Canada. Her articles appear regularly in local newspapers. She has written several novels, a few novellas, and multiple short stories. Some of her fiction is published on wattpad. In her free time, she collects toy monkeys and creates pre-made book covers, which you could see on her deviantArt page.
Website – https://olgagodim.wordpress.com/
Wattpad – https://www.wattpad.com/user/olga_godim
deviantArt – https://www.deviantart.com/olgagodim
If you would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books, check out this post.