With the release of their new novel, Magic and Medicine, Olga and Mark (the authors behind Olena Nikitin) have agreed upon an interview with The Indie Book Nook.
This is a Question and Response interview conducted over email.
Hi OIga and Marc. First of all, how are you feeling before the release of Magic and Medicine?
Very, very anxious. It is a new series, and we wrote it in a completely different style, setting it in contemporary settings. Now we are sitting twiddling our thumbs, hoping our readers will like it.
Has the change in genre been difficult for you? Your past books have been set in an entirely different world and have been purely fantasy based – whereas Magic and Medicine is very much set in the real world – specifically a hospital in Gdansk.
Not really. We both are avid readers of urban fantasy and paranormal romance and so getting into the right vibe was quite straightforward. It also helped that Olga knows Gdansk as well as the whole Pomerania region inside out and worked in many hospitals there.
Did you find the switch in narrative from third person omnipresent to first person particularly difficult?
It felt more personal that way, and writing it in dual POV (ed note – Point of View) let us express both characters’ thoughts and feelings better than we were able to do in third person POV. It also led to a few moments of pure confusion because Olga is simultaneously writing a fantasy novel in the third POV.
There are many themes within your novels, but one I’ve noticed that is always repeated is the protection of nature. Is this something that is deeply important to you?
Yes, the natural environment always gives us inner peace and protection of everything that lives on the planet, and it feels like the right thing to do. Not to mention that we have our small menagerie at home, and animals play a great role in our lives.
It’s clear that you also know a lot about medicine. Was your own experiences in the Emergency Department a major influence in M&M, Olga?
Oh yes, I know what the work looks like there. I know what people feel and how they react to certain situations. When Sara says in the books that “we are built different” – that’s precisely what the individual needs to be in order to be an emergency health provider. We react differently to stress and danger, and I tried to portray it in the books. And some characters took inspiration from individuals I have had the privilege to work with.
Who is your favourite Slavic Deity? So many have appeared in your books?
I think my favourite would be Svarog, even if I made him… not so likeable in the book. Interestingly, you mentioned that so many of them appeared. We had few of them, but I think the feeling of number came from the names that are vastly unknown to the US and UK markets. I can’t imagine there is any romance reader who was not familiar with Hades and Persephone’s retelling, but not many have heard Leshy and Jurata’s story. (ed note: I haven’t until I read Magic and Medicine – and I have to say, I love their story. It has so many twists and turns and potential for redemption!)
What does a typical day for Olga and Mark look like?
We go to work. Mark as an engineer and myself to my doctor’s job (in an emergency room) (ed note: Olga actually recently diagnosed a problem for me when I was editing one of the pairs previous books Spring Blight, and saved me a lot of worry and concern. I’m forever indebted.); and when we come back, we write, edit, prepare promo, and sometimes even have time to live a little and watch something on TV or go for a walk. The day usually ends with us reading together in the bedroom for me (Olga), sometimes till very late at night.
How do you manage to juggle a full-time career as an Emergency doctor with being a writer? Your books are lengthy, and you’ve managed to release 5 books in just over 12 months.
I blame my grandma. She kept telling me you can rest in the grave. So, I’m working my backside off, treating my writing as a second job. It is tiring and leaves you very little time for something else, but seeing people enjoying my stories is so rewarding it makes every hour I spent bent over the laptop count.
How are you feeling about the release of M&M? Are you more or less excited/nervous than you were for the Season’s War quartet?
I’m more nervous, way more nervous. I set it up in contemporary settings where the world-building centres around what we already know. Places that exist in real life, and now I’m second guessing myself if I didn’t project my knowledge of Gdansk rather than explaining it better to the readers. Still I’m hoping they will be able to feel my love for Tricity and Slavic culture. (ed note: Honestly, it really does. I genuinely fell in love with Gdansk while reading Magic and Medicine, and it’s somewhere that’s now top of my own travel bucket list)
Do you have plans to continue Sara and Leszek’s story in any future books?
The series is planned more as a standalone books connected by the same place, timeline and characters. Sara and Leszek will appear but more as side characters. The next book in line is Nina and Adam’s story.
Who’s your favourite character from the world of Magic and Medicine, and why?
Scarface, this cat, is a cynical, egocentric mongrel who still has a caring side on top of his self-entitlement, and I wrote him as a voice of reason and sanity in Sara’s life.
When can we expect to see any new books from yourselves? Or are you planning to take a break from the hectic writing schedule?
Adam and Nina’s books Fangs and Family is already in progress. I also finished an epic fantasy called Royal Inspector, which is a standalone from the Season’s War universe. That’s our plan for the next 6 months. What will happen later? Time will tell…
Well, that’s all there is from Olga and Mark, the lovely people behind Olena Nikitin. And, Magic and Medicine is available today on Amazon, as well as being available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited. Also, I will admit to there not being a review of Magic and Medicine on The Indie Book Nook, mainly because I was hired to edit this magnificent novel and felt my opinion would be more biased. However, if you know us on TIBN, then you’ll know that if we say it’s an excellent read, then it generally is! Check it out for yourselves and let us know in the comments!
Magic and Medicine is the first standalone novel in the Amber Legends series, and is available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited NOW.