George Ivanoff is an author and stay-at-home dad residing in Melbourne, Australia.
He has written over 60 books for children and teenagers, including fiction and non-fiction. He has written school readers, library reference books, chapter books, novelettes, novels and even a short story collection. He has books on both the Victorian Premier’s and the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge booklists.
His teen science fiction novel, Gamers’ Quest, won a 2010 Chronos Award for speculative fiction. The sequel, Gamers’ Challenge, has been nominated for a 2012 Chronos Award.
George also writes short stories and articles for adults as well as kids. Of all these, he is most proud to have had the opportunity to write a Doctor Who story for the Short Trips: Defining Patternsanthology (Big Finish, UK, 2008).
Occasionally, George has been known to moonlight as an actor. He has had small roles in numerous productions including the television series Neighbours and the feature film Frozen Butterflies.
George eats too much chocolate and drinks too much coffee. He will sometime indulge in a nice bottle of wine or a single malt Scotch.
He has one wife, two children and two cats. And he is very content!
Your current novel, “Gamers’ Challenge”, is the second in the Gamers series of books. Did you feel any pressure in trying to follow up “Gamers’ Quest”, or was it easier going back to a familiar world?
There was definitely pressure. The first book sold quite well, so there was the pressure to produce something that would sell as well or, preferably, better. But I did find it an easier book to write. I had already done all the work of creating the world, with lots and lots of background that never made it into that first book. So slipping back into it that world was quite comfortable, and that gave me the chance to concentrate more on the actual plot.
You’ve previously been published in a collection of Doctor Who short stories which must have been a huge thrill. Are there any other shared worlds/franchises that you would be particularly excited to be involved in?
Ah yes, my one shining fanboy moment — “Machine Time” in Short Trips: Defining Patterns. I loved writing that story and I’ve been desperate to write more Doctor Who. As it happens, apart from reviewing lots of Doctor Who DVDs on my blog, I’ve recently had the chance to write essays about Doctor Who for a couple of upcoming books. That was great… But I so want to write some more Doctor Who fiction.
As for other franchises — I’d love to write for the TRON franchise. I love the films and I’m really looking forward to the animated series. TRON is definitely second on my list (after Doctor Who, of course), but I’m a fan of many different tv shows and films. I would happily write for numerous franchises. My problem is that I have no idea how to get a foot in that particular door. Getting that Doctor Who story was a combination of luck and persistence… But Big Finish is no longer publishing the Short Trips anthologies.
I see from your website that there is another Gamers novel in the works. Will there be more novels in that series, or do you have plans for something different once “Gamers’ Inferno” is done?
Actually, “Gamers’ Inferno” is a short story that has been published in a new anthology calledTrust Me Too (ed: Paul Collins, Ford Street Publishing). It’s a spin-off story — Same world, but a new game environment and a whole new set of characters.
But, there will be a new novel as well, to be published in 2013. I’m currently working on it. The working title is Gamers’ Rebellion (but that may change) and it will definitely finish up Tark and Zyra’s story. Of course, if it ends up being a runaway success (one can dream) then there are many more stories I could set in the Gamers world.
I do, however, have ideas for other novels as well. In fact, I’ve got notes for at least six potential novels. It’s a matter of deciding which one to go with next.
What Australian works have you loved recently?
I’ve just finished reading Carol Wilkinson’s Blood Brothers, the latest novel in the Dragonkeeperseries. Loved it! Carol is one of my favourite Australian writers. And I’ve just started reading Kerry Greenwood’s Flying Too High — the second of her Phryne Fisher mystery novels. With the novels having been turned into a tv series, I thought it was about time I caught up on them. I read the first one a few months ago and really enjoyed, so I’m now reading the second. And I’ve finally been catching up with Michael Pryor’s The Laws of Magic. Brilliant stuff!
Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?
There seems to be more spec fic being published — both by small press and by the major publishers. I’m hoping this trend continues. Every one of those potential novels I mentioned earlier is spec fic, so I have a vested interested in the genre continuing to be popular.