Issue 041 Author Interview: Genevieve Gornichec and “What the Gods Left Behind”

Another Tuesday, another interview with one of our current authors. Meet Genevieve Gornichec as we get up-close and personal with her story “What the Gods Left Behind.”
LSQ: Your story reflects situations that are a bit uncomfortably familiar. What do you think we can learn from stories like this?

Genevieve: Well, I didn’t expect certain aspects of this story to be so…uh, relevant. Things have really been put into perspective lately for a lot of us, as far as how much we take for granted in our everyday lives, and I think that’s part of the takeaway I was going for: could we even imagine a world like this, where so much has been lost? I really tried to put myself in Katla’s shoes. Imean, she has one pair of glasses and if she loses or breaks them, she won’t be able to see for the rest of her life. I couldn’t even imagine.

LSQ: As soon as I realized who the dog was, I got really excited. Why do you think stories about gods taking form in the real world are so appealing?

Genevieve: That’s awesome!! My sister texted me as she was reading it and was like, “So is the dog Odin or…?” And I was like, “If there is a one-eyed being in a story, and I wrote the story, there’s a really good chance it’s Odin.”

But all in all, I think it’s because we crave a little magic to counteract the mundane, you know? We like to imagine there’s something more out there than what we can see, and incorporating gods and goddesses people already know about into the real world makes them into something we recognize, something we can connect with. I love reading modern mythology stories because it’s just so interesting the different ways it can be done. The Goddess Wars series by Kendare Blake and The Sixth World series by Rebecca Roanhorse are some of my favorite reads for these exact reasons.

LSQ: What was the most challenging aspect of writing this story and why? What do you like best about this story and why?

Genevieve: The most challenging aspect of this story was its gentle lean towards sci-fi. I enjoy reading and watching sci-fi, but personally I’ve only ever written urban/historical fantasy. Gods? Sure. Ghosts? Absolutely. Talking animals? Sign me up. Trying to plan out what happened to the world to make it into a plausible dystopia? Not so much.

My favorite heroines are the unlikely, reluctant ones, so Katla herself is what I like best about this story. She’s so stubborn that she tries to avoid using the magic within herself, just because she’s convinced that it shouldn’t exist and it makes her doubt her own mind. She’s sort of a psychopomp, sure, but she’s also a mom in her thirties, an accountant who has the misfortune to be nearsighted after the end of the world, a regular person trying to navigate a dystopia. And she wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote her story down.

LSQ: Are you working on anything else at the moment? If so, can you tell us a bit about your other projects?

Genevieve: Absolutely! In addition to chugging along on my sophomore novel, my debut novel, The Witch’s Heart, releases in early 2021. The entire thing takes place behind the scenes of Norse mythology and centers on Loki’s wife, Angrboda. She’s a background character in most retellings you pick up—and usually a rather vilified one at that—but if you combine her with a couple other female figures lurking in the Norse myths, with whom she shares common attributes? Suddenly you’ve got this rather formidable woman with a whole story to tell. It’s the book of my heart, honestly.