2014 Snapshot Archive: George Ivanoff

First published at Katharine Stubbs’ blog.

George Ivanoff is an author and stay-at-home dad residing in Melbourne, Australia.

He has written over 80 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.

He has won two Chronos Awards for his Gamers trilogy (Ford Street Publishing) and been shortlisted for a few other awards he didn’t win. His current series, You Choose, is published by Random House Australia.

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 Patterns anthology (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, two cats and five chickens. And he is very content!

1. You seem to have four books (in the You Choose series) coming out this year alone, wow! Would you like to tell us a bit about them?

The You Choose books are a series of multiple-path, interactive books. Readers get to make choices that influence the direction of the stories. They are a result of my teenage obsession with the old Choose Your Own Adventure books. I loved reading those books! The ability to influence the stories blew my mind. And the ability to re-read the stories with different outcomes was so much FUN! I figured it would be just as much fun writing them. And it has been.

There were four books released this year. I’m now working on another two, which will be published next year.

YouChoose

2. Your talent seems to stretch in all directions – writing short stories and children’s books, non fiction and scripts, and you’ve also stepped into acting, and are well known in the Australian convention scene for being a pretty excellent host! What’s something you’ve most enjoyed?

Gosh! I’m not sure that all those directions involve talent. Enthusiasm, certainly. But talent? Well, there’s a reason I haven’t made a career out of acting. 😉

But I have enjoyed doing all those things. I consider myself extremely fortunate for the opportunities that I have been given over the years. A lot of those opportunities have come about through fandom.

I’ve been in fandom since I was 12 and Aussiecon 2 was my first convention. I’ve been going to cons ever since. They are heaps of fun to attend — and even more fun if you get involved. In terms of hosting, getting to co-host the awards night at Continuum X with Narrelle M Harris was a definite highlight.

3. What can we expect from you in the future? Perhaps another foray into writing for Doctor Who?

GeorgeWithDrWhoBook_webDoctor Who! Oh how I would love to write another Doctor Who story. Sadly, I’ve not had the opportunity since my one story in a Short Trips anthology back in 2008. But I live in hope (or is that delusion?) that an opportunity may one day again present itself. [If a Doctor Who editor happens to be reading this… please note: I AM AVAILABLE!]

I do console myself by writing about Doctor Who, most recently for an eBook of Aussie essays about the series — Whose Doctor? Reflections on a Time Lord. (You can buy a copy here, or here at Smashwords.)

As for the definite future… I’ve got stories coming up in three kids anthologies due for publication in December from Random House Australia. And, of course, I’m working on some more You Choose books.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

I adored LynC’s Nil By Mouth. It’s a good old-fashion science fiction novel — full of adventure, great characters and fascinating situations. I had the great pleasure of launching this book at Continuum X earlier this year. At CX, I also had the chance to hear several authors read some of their work. Janeen Webb read a story from her collection Death at the Blue Elephant. I was so impressed, I went straight to the dealer’s room and bought a copy. It’s currently sitting at the top of my to-be-read stack.

I also launched Michael’s Pryor’s middle grade novel Machine Time a few months ago. Each time I read Michael’s writing I am impressed anew. His Laws of Magic series is a highlight of Aussie YA fiction.

Then there’s Trudi Canavan’s Doctor Who eBook novella, Salt of the Earth. It’s a third Doctor tale and it is spot on for characterisation and atmosphere. Loved it!

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

For someone who writes spec fic, I’m CRAP at trying to predict the future. I don’t know what things will be like in five years. But what I can tell you is that I hope to still be writing books; I hope that publishers will still be interested in publishing them; and I hope to still be buying/reading print books as well as eBooks.

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