Hello and welcome to another Interview with the Author featuring some of my fellow Hero LostAnthology authors. Don't forget, the anthology is coming to you in May! This week I'm interviewing Olga Godim who contributed to the anthology her story Captain Bulat.
Jen (J): Why do you believe the concept of a “hero lost” is relevant to our times? Does the idea of a “fallen hero” appeal to society as a whole in light of the current social climate? If so, why do you think we feel an attraction to fallen heroes, and cheer for their redemption?
Olga (O): For me, “lost hero” and “fallen hero” are not synonymous. A fallen hero is the one who turned to the dark side. Or perhaps, he has always been on the dark side, a nasty thug, so to speak, but one of his actions inadvertently benefitted good people, hence: he’s suddenly lauded as a hero. I’m not interested in those and I don’t understand the attraction some folks feel for the “fallen hero.” A bad guy is a bad guy.
On the other hand, a hero could be truly lost, when nobody can find him. Either he doesn’t wish to be found and hides or something happened to him. In either case, he disappears from public view. Such situations are fascinating to me. I want to know what happened and why.
Sometimes, it is an illness or a simple wish to live his life away from the limelight. Other times, it could be something more sinister.
I explored just such a situation in my own story. My hero is lost in the physical sense. Nobody could find him for 25 years. My protagonist is not that hero at all. She is a Finder, hired to find the lost hero.
(J): Do you think that perceived heroes (in real life and in fairy tales) should uphold their position as heroes regardless of personal challenge? In other words, if a hero has an important role to play still, not just “I saved this place or that person once upon a time”, do you believe that person is responsible for continuing their heroics or should they be “allowed” by society to fade quietly into the background?
(O): I think that you need to perform a heroic deed, to display outstanding courage in the service of others, only once to be considered a hero. Nobody could be such a hero all the time. It’s not feasible to maintain this level of self-sacrifice long-term.
There is a different kinds of heroics though, a quiet kind. When someone lives with a terrible disease, for example, and tries to maintain her dignity and kindness to others, no matter how hard it becomes, that is real heroism because it lasts, day after day. And nobody celebrates this hero. Nobody wants to know about her courage. It’s not glorious. It’s grueling.
(J): Lost heroes could be perceived as anti-heroes or could descent into the realm of villain. Were you tempted to allow your hero to do that? Was there ever a moment when you considered letting your fallen hero fall to the “dark side”?
(O): No. I’m never tempted to make my characters anti-heroes. They can have doubts and fears. They might lie and cheat. They are not ideal persons, but I can’t write about anyone I actively dislike. For me, an anti-hero is cruel and greedy, and I hate such people. I must sympathize with my protagonist, otherwise I don’t have a story.
(J): I’m a hard and fast believer in the need for villains. Without villains, we are unable to truly understand the dichotomy between “good” and “bad” and the war that has raged in every story since their first telling. How do you feel about the need for darkness in stories to find the light? Are you a fan of fallen heroes who DO become villains? And if your fallen hero was to become a villain, what might that look like?
(O): Learning to write villains was the hardest writing lesson for me. I don’t think I actually mastered it because I don’t understand the villains’ motivation. Why would anyone want to rule the world? It’s so much bother.
In our lives, true villains are extremely rare. Much more often, the obstacles in our lives arise from something mundane, someone else having goals at cross-purposes to our own. Think of two candidates competing for the same position or two persons competing for the same lover. One of those could behave in a less ethical manner than the other, but does it make him or her a villain? Or just more determined to win. Maybe from his point of view, he is a hero.
Alternatively, the adversity could be something huge outside our control, like weather (a hurricane) or landscape (a mountain). Those make excellent antagonists: they don’t need motivation at all.
(J): For kicks and giggles: What TV show would your fallen hero binge watch on Netflix?
(O): No TV for my heroes. They read! Besides, most of my characters live in fantasy worlds, which are somewhat quasi-medieval. No technology of any kind.
Thanks so much, Olga, for taking the time to answer my questions. Make sure you stop by Olga's website to learn more about her and her work; also, click over to the Hero Lost Anthology website to read about Olga's story and all the stories featured in this year's Insecure Writer's SupportGroup Anthology. Happy Wednesday!