Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tell Me About it Tuesday Welcomes Olga Godim!

This week I am welcoming another Gypsy, Olga Godim!

So, without further ago, MEET OLGA!


Olga Godim is a writer and journalist from Vancouver, Canada. Her articles appear regularly in local newspapers, but her passion is fiction. Her short stories have been published in several internet magazines, including Lorelei Signal, Sorcerous Signals, Aoife's Kiss, Silver Blade, Gypsy Shadow and other publications. In her free time, she writes novels, collects toy monkeys, and posts book reviews on GoodReads.

She let me interview her! She had some great answers, check it out.



Q. Do you do any special research for your novels?


Not really. This particular novel came from my daydreams, my personal experience, and the people I met. When I was young and poor, I often thought: what if someone showed up at my door, a lawyer maybe, and said that I had been switched at birth and my birth family is rich. And they’re looking for me. What would I do? What would my mother do? And – here was the real question – what would my other mother do? Would she want me and love me just as much as the mother I knew and loved?

From that daydream came the idea for one half of the book – the story of Amanda, a mother who discovers after 34 years that her daughter was switched at birth, by mistake. Amanda loves the daughter she raised but she wants to find her biological daughter too. Her search takes her around the globe, first to Russia, then to Israel.

The second part of this novel is about Amanda’s birth daughter Sonya. Sonya’s story was born after I met Irina in Montreal. Irina is a unique woman, an immigrant from Russia, like Sonya. Irina came to Canada with nothing and accomplished so much. I was inspired by her optimism and determination. She told me about her life and her struggles to find her place in her new home. I was awed by her courage, so much so that I based Sonya on her – not the appearance or the profession but her indomitable spirit and her lovely soul. After meeting Irina, the novel was practically alive in my head before I even started writing it. Had I not meet Irina, this novel would’ve been different or perhaps not written at all.

I’d also like to mention that the relationship between Sonya and her daughter Ksenya sprouted from my own experience with my daughter Liza. At the time, Liza was a teenager, prickly and rebellious like many teenagers. Now she is a young woman, bright and loving. I’m grateful to her for the inspiration, but I could’ve forgone the rebellion. I would’ve had fewer gray hairs then.   



Q. What’s your favorite genre to read? Do you write it?


My favorite genres are fantasy and romance. That is what I read, with a sprinkling of cozy mysteries and occasional mainstream. Rarely, I add a non-fiction book to my reading pile. I write fantasy almost exclusively and have over a dozen fantasy stories published in magazines. For me, fantasy is a genre where I’m not constrained by the limits of reality. I allow my imagination fly, play with magic, dragons, and brave heroes, and it feels liberating. By writing fantasy, I can be anyone I want: a smart sword-wielding mercenary, a capricious princess, an Adept magician, or an orphan kikimora (a Russian mythological creature, not very nice). 

Strangely, my newly-released novel “Lost and Found in Russia” is a contemporary mainstream, the only one of my novels that’s not fantasy. It came out of me almost by accident. Even stranger still, it was published first. But I have hopes for my fantasy novels – I’m shopping for a publisher for them now.

  

Q. What are you working on right now? Can you tell us about it?


I’m writing a novel which is part of a fantasy series. I already have one novel about the same heroine – a young and very powerful magician. In the new novel, she finds herself in a foreign kingdom, where female magic is anathema. The acolytes of the local god, all men, confine any female magic worker they can find – witches and sorceresses – to a ‘nunnery’, where they suck the magic out of the women with a special spell and use that magic for their own purposes.

My heroine is in this kingdom in secret, at the request of her queen. She is not in danger from the local god or his monks, but she is very angry at the plight of the local female mages? Should she interfere? Try to help the poor, abused women? Or should she maintain her incognito status, complete her assignment for the queen, and leave. If she interferes, she might cause a diplomatic incident, maybe even a war, between their two kingdoms. If she does nothing, the imprisoned female witches will continue to suffer. I have almost settled on her ultimate decision, but I’d welcome others’ opinions.

     

Q. Did you ever write a character you didn’t like? Or one that gave you problems, going against your intentions for them or your story?


I have trouble writing villains. I don’t understand them. Why would anyone want to rule the world, or even a village? It’s so much hassle. Unfortunately, villains, or at least opposing forces, are practically a requirement in fantasy, so I try to find reasons for my antagonists to think and act the way they do.

In my novel “Lost and Found in Russia”, there are no villains. One of my heroines struggles against too much time that’s passed between her and her goal. Another has problems with society’s misconceptions or her own daughter’s teenage rebellion.

Sometimes, and it happened in “Lost and Found in Russia”, some of the secondary characters suddenly take initiative and step forward without me planning it. I usually let them, although previously I had no intensions to promote that particular character or even didn’t know he existed. I treasure such situations, as these characters come out the most alive and vibrant.





Okay...enough with the business questions! How about some fun stuff. You know, just between the two of us.



Q. The opportunity to go on a surprise vacation arises. You have 90 minutes to pack and get to the airport. Where will you go and what will you pack?


Oh, this is a cruel question. So many choices! I hate doing things in a hurry. Seriously, where would I go? A European tour would be nice, especially with a good tour guide: France, Italy, Spain, Austria.  I’d probably bring a couple of stories back home: travels always spur my creativity.

Other choices depend on the timing of such an exciting event. If the timing was right, I would travel to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Do you know that it is the oldest book fair in the world, over 500 years? Soon after Gutenberg had developed his printing press (it happened in Mainz near Frankfurt), the first Frankfurt Book Fair was held by local booksellers. Alternatively, I would go to the World Fantasy Convention, wherever it was held that year.

As to what to pack: my Kindle, definitely. I have a bunch of books on it I haven’t read. I can’t wait for this opportunity to arise. Are you offering, Chrissy?  


LOL. If I was was rich, you betcha. 
 

Q. If they make a movie about your life, who do you want to play your part?



Judy Dench or Maggie Smith. Am I too presumptuous? I admire both actress and I’m, alas, of the same generation. And the younger me: I don’t know. Most young actresses today are long-legged, skinny and blond. I was never like that. Seriously – maybe Ellen Page or Emma Watson. They both could do it… if they didn’t wear makeup. I hate makeup, never wear it myself. 



Q. Tell us one thing about you that might surprise us...it can be a secret...we won't tell. :)


I’m a young writer – only 10 years old. I have been writing since March 2003. Yes, I know the exact month when I started writing my first story.

By education, I’m a computer programmer. I worked with computers for decades. I’m also a daydreamer. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always made up stories and played them in my head, like a one-woman theater, but I never told anyone about my secret daydreams. I didn’t write them down. To tell the truth, I was a bit embarrassed by them. I was a professional woman, a single mom with two children. I never thought I could be a writer but I couldn’t get rid of my daydreams. I loved my dream-world heroes and heroines. Sometimes, they were more alive and precious to me than the people around me.

As my children grew up, I grew dissatisfied with my computer job. Then, in 2002, I got very ill. During my long recovery, my daydreams became more persistent. They swarmed me, they wanted to be told. So I decided to be brave, stop resisting, and at last let my dreams out. From my first paycheck when I returned to work, I bought a laptop and started writing a story, the first writing I did since high school. I was 46.

And I discovered that I didn’t know how to do it. Dreaming was one thing. Writing was quite another. It took me ten years of learning to get to the point where I’m today, and I’m not nearly in the end of my learning curve. I don’t think this road ever ends. 

I also collect toy monkeys. I have about 300 monkeys in my collection.



 

I collect dragons, myself. I have several hundred. Monkeys are cool!

Now for the cool part! Tell us about the new book!



My novel “Lost and Found in Russia” is a contemporary women’s fiction, encompassing the exploration of mother-daughter relationship and a self-discovery story.
After the shocking revelation that her daughter was switched at birth 34 years ago, Canadian scholar Amanda embarks on a trip to Russia and Israel to find her biological daughter. Intertwined with the account of Amanda’s journey is the story of Sonya, a 34-year-old Russian immigrant and a former dancer, currently living in Canada. While Amanda wades through the mires of foreign bureaucracy, Sonya struggles with her daughter’s teenage rebellion. While Amanda rediscovers her femininity, Sonya dreams of dancing. Both mothers are searching: for their daughters and for themselves.


 


Blurb:
 A Mother-Daughter minuet—Russian style.

After a shocking discovery that her daughter was switched at birth thirty-four years ago, Amanda embarks on a trip to Russia to find her biological daughter. Meanwhile, Sonya—a thirty-four-year-old Russian immigrant and a former dancer— battles her daughter’s teenage rebellion. While Amanda wades through the mires of foreign bureaucracy, Sonya dreams of dancing. Both mothers are searching—for their daughters and for themselves.


Excerpt:


“I’ve discovered that you’re not really my daughter. I have another daughter somewhere in Russia.” Amanda held her breath. What would Gloria’s response be to this revelation? Every night, Amanda thought about ways to put it into words, to explain it to her daughter, but she couldn’t find any better approach than the blunt truth.

“What is it?” A mischievous dimple appeared in Gloria’s right cheek, untouched by the bruises. “A twist from a new book by some obscure Russian writer?”

“No,” Amanda whispered. Of all the possible scenarios she had envisioned during her nightly speculations, she hadn’t thought Gloria would simply discard the news. “Your blood type is ‘O’ negative. The doctor said. Both Donald and I had ‘O’ positive blood. They probably switched you at birth in that Russian hospital.”

Slowly, Gloria’s hands stilled, and she lifted her eyes to look at Amanda. She opened her mouth, attempted a smile, closed it, opened it again, and then blinked.

“This is a joke?”

Amanda shook her head.

“This is the truth?”

Amanda nodded. Unable to watch emotions flickering across Gloria’s face, she surged up and kneeled in front of her daughter’s chair. “I love you Gloria,” she said hoarsely, caressing her daughter’s leg under the worn denim. “You’ll always be my daughter. But there is another one somewhere in Russia. She might be starving, unemployed.” Amanda’s throat closed. No matter how often such thoughts visited her lately, she had had to fight for air every time.

“She might need my help. Our help. I have to go there and find her. I have to bring your sister home.” She smiled weakly. “Maybe she can be your new designer. Maybe she has inherited Donald’s creativity. Say something, please.” Amanda’s gray eyes bored into her daughter’s green ones. Would she understand? Forgive?

“So I have another mother somewhere in Russia?” Gloria said, her lips stretching in a mirthless grin. 

“Another mother?” Appalled, Amanda pulled away.  

More Olga!



BUY IT!!!!

 

 

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