Issue 047 Author Interview: Olga Kolesnikova and “The Silent Decades”

Just can’t get enough of our Issue 047 author interviews? Neither can we! Today we’re bringing you Olga Kolesnikova’s answers to our burning questions about their story “The Silent Decades.”

LSQ: I love reading stories in different formats from the norm, and these have got to be the most fascinating endnotes ever. How did you decide on this format?

Olga: I wrote this story for my university course; the assignment was (surprise, surprise) to tell a story in an unusual format. Studying literary theory involves poring over endnotes and compiling bibliographies, and that’s what gave me the idea. I liked the challenge of telling a speculative story through this seemingly dry format. In fact, it seemed so dry that when I shared the idea with my supervisor, he doubted that it could work. I’m glad I believed in it enough to do it anyway!

LSQ: Did the format influence the decision of what kind of story to tell, or did you have the story idea percolating and think of the unique format as a secondary consideration?

Olga: The format came first. Once I decided to use a bibliography of some kind to tell a story, I looked at the endnotes in random books at the library for inspiration. Reading only the endnotes of history books left me with these strange, fragmented impressions of the past events the books were describing. I was inspired to create something similar, but with events from both the past and the imagined future.

LSQ: I wish I could read that Rosie Sherwood book now. What was the hardest part about telling this story? Do you have a favorite endnote?

Olga: It would definitely be fascinating to read “a new literary genre”! The hardest part would have to be the research I had to do for Part 1 of the story. Many of these first notes allude to real events, and I wanted to make sure I had the facts right and that the events appeared in mostly chronological order. But adding fictional future commentary to these factual events was a lot of fun! It was also difficult to decide whether or not to refer to the near future, as this could potentially lessen the story’s impact for anyone reading it in a few years – but then I thought about 1984 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. As for a favorite endnote, I’d have to go with 34, because it might be the creepiest one!