Thursday, July 9, 2015

Interview with Author Ogla Toprover

Olga Toprover
Long Beach, CA

Good morning, Olga, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for art and authors. It is my pleasure to have you here today. I am a big fan. Can you tell our readers what you've written?

·      “Seventeen Shades of Love”, a collection of short stories.

The stories range many genres from comedy to drama. They are nostalgic and dreamy but by no means they are fantasy or fairy tales. These stories center around ordinary people who are swept away by love and passion. It is all truth. Adventurous and glamorous things might happen to everyone. They happen to all of us although sometimes we just don't realize. 

·      “The President is No More”, a science fiction novella.

In a future where progress is accelerating beyond humanity’s ability to keep pace, the Humanists are trying to live in harmony with nature and avoid the advancing technology. One night, a fire destroys Kingstown – the Humanist settlement on the West Coast. As details of the tragedy emerge, outrage sweeps the Unites States, putting President Bill Freeman’s reelection prospects in doubt. 
Negotiator Mia Arc faces a challenge of a lifetime when she’s asked to defend Humanist rights in the face of growing controversy. As she investigates the tragedy, she finds more questions than answers. Who is responsible for the tragedy? Did robots have something to do with it? And is anybody really who they say they are in this cyber-enhanced, nano-technological, unnatural world? 
Mia doesn’t know if she can answer those questions. She is not influential. She is not powerful. She is just an ordinary woman… 

I have written a few more books in Russian: contemporary fiction/women’s fiction and science fiction. I am hoping to translate the books to English as well, it just takes time.

What is your favorite genre to write?
It is impossible to choose. I love both genres I work with. I like Women’s Fiction, because I am a woman too.
I also intend to continue writing science fiction books, because everything is possible in this genre. I hold Master degree in computer science and try to apply my background and knowledge while working on hard science fiction books. My goal is to create a world which is in fact possible, and may be, who knows, to predict the future.
Favorite food.
Salad, cheese.

Tea or coffee?
Black tea with strawberry flavor

Pizza or ice cream?
Depends. But in most cases it would be ice-cream.

Wine or beer?
Definitely, wine. Rose.

Where would you like to visit?

Just to come up with something more or less realistic, I have never been to Italy, want to go there some day. Based on Italian movies women are emotional there and men are passionate. I want to bring such characters into my romantic books and expand my imaginary geography. My stories are happening in different countries, but there is not Italy there yet.
I also want to visit Yellowstone National Park. I have seen pictures from there. They are so amazing, almost like views from another planet, so I believe I will come up with some ideas for a new science fiction books.

Go to Italy first, Olga. All the photos and movies and videos do not do it justice. It is fabulous. There is something in the air!
Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
When I write I need absolute silence, that’s why the best time of day for me is night. But of course I do listen to music in between. I love jazz. I found this kind of music relaxing, it brings me to good mood, forces me to believe in myself and in love. I need this feeling, can’t breeze without it. Just for illustration, read my short story, “A Happy Ending in the Big City”, where love and music are inseparable.

What makes you laugh?
Jokes, songs, movies, books, people – anything  at all.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.
My book, “Seventeen Shades of Love” was a team work with my friend, an artist, Larissa Makeeva.  I can say that her art is my favorite.
Here is a link to her website:

How old were you when you started writing?
When I was 10 years I was writing a science fiction novel in my yellow notebook, which I kept hidden from everyone. The main character was an alien, who was supposed to come to Earth and find a beautiful planet she never couldn’t imagine. So she wanted to stay and live here.  I never finished the book. I guess the alien girl’s planet turned out to be not so bad after all, so I felt like the girl would feel homesick anyway, despite on the beauty of Earth.
Next time I felt the urge to write in my thirties. I was working in Information Technology and felt like computers, software, hardware, and all that stuff are not enough for me to be happy. I needed a break, I needed an imaginary word where I can escape into, so I did find the world. I started with writing science fiction short stories, some of them have been published in Russian.  I still hope to translate those stories to English someday.

Describe your perfect evening.
My perfect evening is watching sunset on a beach. I love those bright, unrealistic colors, sun uses for the sky. I love those “after sunset” sentimental thoughts, I nourish them to come back home and write them down. 

Where do you get your inspiration?
I get it from everywhere: the nature, some random stories I hear from people, from subtle thoughts brought by music, from my happy and not so happy experience.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I stop writing and start reading and watch good movies. Then I come back to writing when I feel like I know what happens next in the story I work on.

Who is your favorite author?
In the women’s fiction genre I like a French novelist, Francoise Sagan. I love her mixture of happiness and sadness and admire her open endings.
Also I like Agatha Chrisite’s almost mathematical logic. I read most of her writing, including her autobiography and her books under the penname of Mary Westmacott.
I also admire Ursula LeGuin and her endless fantasy.  At the same time I love the classic hard science fiction by Isaac Asimov.
But if to talk of the literature which forces us to think and cry I would choose a French writer, Romain Gary.

Best book you ever read.
Two books by Romain Gary would share this prize from me:
“The Talent Scout” and “The Guilty Head”

Last book you read.
“The Lazy Project Manager: How to Be Twice As Productive and Still Leave the Office Early” by Peter Taylor.
Yes, sometimes I read this boring stuff J

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I work as a project manager. Writing is my hobby, something that brings me joy.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
I believe many people had some influence on me, but I think it is me, who is responsible for my own personal life.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
It is a popular question, but for some reason I don’t like it. Probably, because my answer would be trivial. I would choose my mom, who passed away a few years ago. For no reason, just for a few more minutes to stay with her.

Oh, sweetie, moms are never trivial, especially if you had a good one. What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?

Don’t listen to anyone who is saying  you are not talented. If you want to write do it, no matter what.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Readers,
    Olga's Interview is Number 198. Something special might happen at Interview #200. I do not know what yet, but something!