Olivia – Orphan Black

Name: OliviaOlivia Illustration converted
Age: 12
Family Status: Orphaned, along with older brother, tktk
You Talkin’ to Me?: Olivia has been through quite a bit. Her family was killed during the war, her only surviving brother is an alcoholic, drug addicted loser, and her surrogate mother is a trigger happy rebel leader who is more likely to kick your face in than kiss it. So it’s no wonder that Olivia curses like a truck driver with attitude to spare.

The Character: Perhaps more so than almost any fictional character I’ve ever written, Olivia is based on a real person. About 25 years ago I met a young girl, whose name I’m sorry I’ve forgotten, who was visiting the U.S. on an exchange program from Dublin, back when ‘The Troubles’ in Ireland were in full affect. Her brother and father were taken by the British forces, never to be seen again (at least that much was true at the time). This young girl had so much pluck and vinegar — a true victim of war — that her story made a mark on me. She helped inspired me to write a trilogy of short stories — this is back in the late 1980s — and the spirit of her character, and her tale, survives today, through the narrative of Olivia’s journey in Crossline.

The Illustration:  I wanted Rich to include that classic ‘runaways’ pose, with a bag tied to the end of a string. It has a literal reference to Olivia’s plot in Crossline, but also serves as a metaphor for her journey. Although she’s in the middle of a brutal war, she still has enough childhood innocence where the little girl is still there, even though she’s had to grow up way to much, way too fast. And Rich did his magic yet again with the shadow image, which gives the illustration added depth.

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