Wednesday 18th December - R. A. Goli
Sixteen Questions for Sixteen Authors
Contributor spotlight : R. A. Goli, author of “Scattered Feathers”
Having dismounted from her Pegasus to sit on a three-legged stool, today's interviewee is ready to talk about her life as R. A. Goli who wrote the short story “Scattered Feathers” for the “Dragon Bone Soup” anthology (published in December 2019). No story ever exists in a vacuum; there are always ramifications. Some stories let you imagine what they might be (as do others in this anthology). Others imaginatively explore the possible consequences to well-known tales, as does "Scattered Feathers" (3,200 words). Did you ever stop to wonder what transpired after Theseus slew the Minotaur? R. A. Goli did, and her imaginative story puts forward a convincing account of what might have happened next.
What is your real name and what name do you write under (if they are different)?
My real name is Roberta Goli and I write under R.A. Goli, which isn’t really that different. My middle name is Ann. The only reason I have a middle name is because my elder brother’s name is Robert. Mum thought it best if we at least had different initials.
My eldest brother is Zoltan, so don’t ask me what my parents were doing. I just know mum heard the name because of the singer Roberta Flack, and liked it.
Where do you hail from?
I hail from a regional city called Geelong (about 60km from Melbourne. You’ve heard of Melbourne at least), in Victoria, Australia.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
Geelong is a nice place to live and it’s where most of my family are which is great for hanging out and means my support network is close by. Geelong has a lovely waterfront, nice cemeteries and my favourite regional park, the You Yangs, for walking my dog, good theatres, which I often go to with my mum to feel a bit high-brow, and all the other crap you need in a town – shopping, pubs, cafés, restaurants, cinemas.
Australia is pretty awesome. The weather is great and there’s a lot of variety, sometimes even in the same day! I don’t enjoy the numerous, weird-ass spiders we have that are as big as a cat’s head, but you take the good with the bad.
Early bird, or night owl?
Definitely a night owl. In fact, that’s probably one of the reasons I’m drawn to writing; the freedom to get up when you want! It’s not that I don’t appreciate the sun, I like it very much, I just don’t think I should be getting up before it.
Who or what are you reading right now?
I’m usually swapping between at least three books at the same time. There needs to be something for day-time reading, and something for night-time reading, and I’m generally reading an anthology that one of my stories is in as well. Currently I’m reading: The Way of Shadows (Brent Weeks), The Body Horror Book (Non-Fiction), and Guilty Pleasures and Other Dark Delights (which includes one of my stories).
Has writing affected your imagination in any way?
Possibly. Now when I hear something a little gross or unusual, I think about how I might use it in a story.
What genre(s) do you write in? What genre(s) do you find challenging?
I write predominantly horror and fantasy, though I occasionally write erotica (usually with a speculative element), and erotic horror. Though I haven’t written romance, I have attempted to add some romance to a couple of stories and I find it a bit tricky. I doubt I could write a true romance; I enjoy sex and violence too much. I mean in my writing, of course 😊
How did you come up with the premise for your story?
I entered a free writing contest where the story had to be based on Icarus. It could be any aspect of the myth or any other character. I chose to write from the POV of the Minotaur's mother, Pasiphae. Scattered Feathers won an honourable mention in that contest. If I’m being honest, I’d much rather have had the $300 prize money, but it was still a bit of an ego boost.
Does writing tire or energise you? Do you have any thoughts why this is?
Writing has an amazing effect on me. Definitely energising. The more I do it, the better I feel. That’s not to say it isn’t challenging or difficult, but when I’m on a roll…it’s a beautiful thing. I think doing something you truly love, simply makes you happy.
How do you begin a piece of writing? When do you know it’s done?
Depends. Apart from one novella and an unpublished 100k fantasy novel that has probably been lost to the ages, I mainly write short stories, so there’s generally not a great deal of plotting going on. So, I sit there, with a call to submission or theme in mind and try to make a start. Other times I’ll think about it, and begin writing the story in my head, then start typing the next time I’m at my laptop.
Stand-alone books or series, and why?
I have an opinion on this that won’t be popular. I’m getting sick of series. Everything’s a series now. It used to be mostly just fantasy, now it’s almost every genre. And what happened to the good old-fashioned trilogy? I can commit to a trilogy, but ten books? Hmmm. That’s a tough sell.
As a writer, I’m not sure I’d want to write a huge series. A fantasy trilogy is a definite possibility though. I’m also a fan of the stand-alone novel.
If you were banned from writing, what would you do in your free time?
I’d probably spend all that extra time playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). Which might be considered cheating. As role-player, I sometimes come up with character backstories and play out scenarios. I often refer to gaming as ‘research’ when someone is giving me a hard time for not writing.
What do you want written on your headstone / tombstone / memorial-stone?
“We didn’t think she’d live that long!”
What are you working on right now?
I’m slowly working on a second collection of short stories.
What are your plans for the future?
Continue writing short stories, but I also want to start writing longer pieces again, like another novella (I have one fantasy novella published), or novel. Perhaps I can have someone smarter than myself rescue my 100k fantasy story from my dead laptop and I can finish that. I’m sure it has the potential to be epic! But not a series, just a trilogy at most 😊
How can readers find you online and on social media?
Readers who enjoyed Scattered Feathers might like to sign up to my mailing list and download a free copy of my Norse Mythology short story, Clash of Goddesses. Visit my website https://ragoliauthor.wordpress.com/ or follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RAGoliAuthor/.