In Godfall and Other Stories (Hydra House, Apr.), Odell assembles a kaleidoscope of voices. Each story brushes against multiple genres and is informed by the author’s life.
Who or what are some of your influences?
Harlan Ellison is perhaps the biggest influence, because when I first read him as a child he taught me that it was okay to be angry. Not hateful, not hurtful. It’s not “I’m angry so I’m going to go kick sand in your face.” No, it’s being able to express that anger in a constructive manner. Being able to educate and entertain with it. So he is vital to my growth as a writer. Ursula K. Le Guin was an incredible influence. Octavia Butler, an incredible influence. Robert Frost—I have a copy of “The Road Not Taken” hanging on my wall. I see the world very differently, not only because I have whatever issues I have, but because I’m a writer. And having chosen to say, “This is what I want to do, this is how I express myself, this is my joy and my passion”—it’s taken me down different roads. Some people ask, “Where you do you get your ideas?” All I want to do is look at them and say, “How can you not get ideas?”
How have the ideas of inclusion and diversity influenced your writing?
I hadn’t realized growing up just how casually racist and sexist my family was. When I was better able to step back, I started to educate myself, and that was really my introduction to a wider world. If I am going to be a part of that world and help celebrate that world, celebrate issues that I consider important to me, then I need to learn.
I don’t want to read stories about me. I don’t want to read the same stories written by the same people about the same issues in the same way. I want to celebrate your story. I want to celebrate my friends’ stories. There are too many wonderful facets to this world to just say, “No, I only want to write straight white cis female stories.” We also have to recognize our history and the damage that colonialism has done.
What would you like readers to take away from the anthology?
Ask the next question. Don’t stop wondering. Don’t stop asking. Always ask the next question. Theodore Sturgeon said that. I’ve got it tattooed on my arm. Ask the next question, and the one after that, and the one after that, until you understand. Too often people will only ask one question, or only ask questions until they get the answer they’re looking for. That may not be what’s really happening; that may not be the truth. Always ask the next question.