Tuesday, 21 April 2015

In Conversation with George Ivanoff


Today I am thrilled to welcome the entertaining and hard working, George Ivanoff to the blog! George has written over 70 books, both fiction and non-fiction. Read on to learn more about his inspiring writing journey.
Tell us a little about your writing journey.
My writing journey began in Year 8 at school, when my class spent a whole term doing creative writing in English. That was when I discovered that I liked making stuff up. I’ve been writing ever since. Initially it was mostly fan fiction (primarily Doctor Who and Star Trek), for my own amusement and then for amateur publications. Eventually I started sending out original material to publishers, and after many years of rejections, I finally sold my first book, a collection of YA short stories called Life, Death and Detention. It was published in 1999. Not long after delivering the manuscript for that book, I discovered the education market and was commissioned to write a non-fiction book about science fiction called Real Sci-Fi. I liked the fact that the education market usually worked on a commission basis and that I would have a contract before I even started work on a book. I ended up writing mostly for the education market for many years, building my skills and reputation, until returning to the trade market in 2009 with Gamers’ Quest, the first novel in my Gamers trilogy.
I had a day job when I started getting published. But about ten years ago I chucked it in to become a stay-at-home dad. While my kids were at home, I worked at building a writing career. It was a slow process, but now with both my kids at school, I’m concentrating on the career and making a living out of my writing.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
Making stuff up. :-)

Oh, and the fact that I get to work from home.

What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?
The sporadic income. And the way that multiple deadlines always seem to hit at about the same time.

Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?
Definitely. Many of my stories start out with me taking an experience and using it as a starting point — exaggerating it, expanding on it and blowing it up out of all proportion.

Tell us about your publications?
My current series is You Choose, published by Random House Australia. These are multiple-path, interactive kids books where the reader is placed into the story and has to make choices along the way. They are inspired by my childhood love of the Choose Your Own Adventure books. The first four books — The Treasure of Dead Man’s Cove, Mayhem at Magic School, Maze of Doom and The Haunting of Spook House — were published last year. Books five and six — Night of the Creepy Carnival and Alien Invaders From Beyond the Stars — will be out in May this year. And books seven and eight — Super Sports Spectacular and Trapped in the GamesGrid — will be published towards the end of the year. Each of these books is a separate, stand-alone story, so I’m getting to cover a whole variety of genres.

The Gamers books, on the other hand, form a trilogy that really does need to be read in order. It’s the story of two teenaged thieves, Tark and Zyra, who are characters inside a computer game. In book one, Gamers’ Quest, they don’t realise they’re constructs in a game. By the time you get to book two, Gamers’ Challenge, they know they’re in a game and they want to find a way out. And in book three, Gamers’ Rebellion, they get out into the real world… of course, it’s not quite what they expect!

I still have a big soft spot for Life, Death and Detention, which originally came out in 1999. The book was published again in a new edition in 2012 by Morris Publishing Australia. I updated all the stories from the 1990s into the 21st Century. It was an interesting process, doing the updating, fixing up a bit of unclear prose, but resisting the urge to completely re-write the stories. I wanted to make the setting more relevant for today’s teens, but without altering the original intent of the stories.

What is the most surprising thing about writing/publishing you have learnt?
That people want to read my books! ;-)

Other than writing what else do you love?
My family. Reading. Public speaking. Acting. Red wine and skeezy cheeses.
What would your dream location for writing be?
I’m not sure I have a dream location. I tend to work best in my study, surrounded by all my clutter. I feel comfortable there. Although I also like the occasional bit of café writing.
Having said that, were someone to offer me a cottage in the south of France, overlooking a vineyard, I wouldn’t turn it down. ;-)

Five words that sum you up.
Happy. Creative. Tenacious. Polyhedron. Insane!

How can we learn more?
Check out his website: http://georgeivanoff.com.au
George was recently invited to attend the 2015 Somerset Celebration of Literature.
Here is his intro vid - very entertaining!

Thanks so much for visiting here George. We have a couple of the YOU CHOOSE books in our house. Looks like there will be many more to add to our collection. All the best!

1 comment:

  1. Tanks for the interview, Melissa. Always a pleasure to talk to you. :-)