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Author George Ivanoff

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by Belladonna (subscribe)
Loves going out and about, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing about her adventures!
Published July 8th 2020
On writing, Doctor Who, and a carnivorous tortoise
George Ivanoff is a Whovian. And what exactly is a Whovian, you may well ask? Why, a Whovian is a fan of the iconic and long-running British science fiction television series, Doctor Who, of course!

Since he first saw the television series in the 1970s as a young boy, George has been a Whovian. He has a huge collection of Doctor Who books, he owns all the Doctor Who DVDs and Blu-ray sets, and he also collects the sonic screwdriver toys.* George also has a TARDIS jacket that his wife made for him.* But most importantly of all, it was Doctor Who that inspired George to write in the first place.

Meet George Ivanoff
Besides being one serious Whovian, George Ivanoff is an award-winning Melbourne-based author who has written more than one hundred books for children and teenagers. His work includes educational books, school readers, the Gamers trilogy, the You Choose series, the Other Worlds books, and his latest series, the Australian Survival Guide.

While George is a fulltime writer, that hasn't always been the case. "I've had a number of different jobs over the years, while trying to make writing pay," he tells me. "I worked in higher education administration, then branched out into project management and web development. I was writing in my spare time, and although I was getting published regularly, it wasn't enough to making a living out of. When my wife and I had children, I gave up full-time work to become the stay-at-home parent, putting all my spare time and energy into continuing to develop my writing career." After their second child started primary school six and a half years ago, George went full-time as a writer. "Which is where I am now," he says, "actually making a living out of writing!"

And it all comes back to his beloved Doctor Who. After he discovered the television series in his youth, George started to write fan fiction. "Really, really, REALLY BAD fan-fiction!" he adds. "But writing this stuff is what taught me that writing could be fun. From there I progressed to writing original material." George is inspired by his favourite Doctor Who author, the late Terrance Dicks. Terrance wrote many of the original Doctor Who series stories. He was also a script editor for a number of years, and also wrote dozens of Doctor Who books. Terrance died on August 29 last year.

"Terrance Dicks and Doctor Who continue to inspire me today," George says. "I put hidden Doctor Who references into all my books (except the education ones)." He is also currently working on a novel for the Lethbridge-Stewart series of Doctor Who spin-off books.

When he's not writing or being a Whovian, George enjoys travelling with his family around Australia and the world, cooking ("particularly baking," he says. "I've been baking a lot of bread during isolation") and eating ("I have a particular liking for chocolate and cheese... not necessarily together!"). George's love for travelling and cooking often go very well together. "One of my favourite things about travelling is eating," he tells me. "We went to Japan a few years ago and the food we got to try was my trip highlight."

The worlds of George Ivanoff
Though his main audience are children and teenagers, George is very skilled at writing across different genres and over a broad range of subjects.

The Gamers Trilogy (originally published from 2009-2013) is a science-fiction series that follow the adventures of Tark and Zyra, two computer game characters who think they are real people.

"These are the books I wrote for 13-year-old me the video game playing, sci-fi obsessed teen," George tells me. "Into these books I put all the stuff that fascinated me at this age. As a teenager I spent a lot of time wondering what sort of person I would be when I grew up. And I craved the perceived freedom I would have when I finally finished school. I also spent many hours pondering the bizarre notion that I, and everyone else in the world, might just be pawns in some game controlled by a higher power. So I wove these concepts of reality, identity and freedom into the narrative."
Ford Street Publishing relaunched the series earlier this year with new individual titles and new covers by Matthew Lin.

Author George Ivanoff

Go here to view George reading an extract from the first book in the trilogy, Game On!

You Choose is a 13 book series of interactive stories that put the reader into the story and get them to make choices. They are very much inspired by George's love of the old Choose Your Own Adventure novels that were popular in the 1980s. George's favourite book in this series is Maze of Doom , simply because it has zombie bunnies in the story. I don't know about you, but I love the idea of cute, cuddly, fluffy bunnies who also just happen to be killer zombies!
View George here reading an extract from another You Choose book, The Treasure of Dead Man's Cove.

The RFDS Adventures is a 4 book series of realistic adventures about kids in remote areas of Australia getting into medical strife and needing the help of the Flying Doctors.These books were created to help the RFDS with its fundraising. Go here to watch George read an extract from the book Emergency Echo.

Other Worlds
Another 4 book series written by George. This collection of science fiction/fantasy books are about kids who find mysterious keys that open doorways which lead to other worlds. Although a series, the books can be read as stand-alones, with each book about different kids, a different doorway and a different world. View George here reading an extract from Beast World, a story set in a Victorian London-like place inhabited by talking animals.

George shares that his favourite character from all of the books he's written is from Beast World. Her name is Lady Mimsy. She is the main villain and as George explains, "she is a carnivorous tortoise who had a special set of metal false teeth made for herself so that she can devour other animals. Her greatest ambition in life is to eat a human being. And she has a giant steam-punk robot tortoise to help her with her evil plans!"

And here I thought that Doctor Who's greatest enemies, the Daleks, were absolutely terrifying. They had obviously never met Lady Mimsy during their exterminating travels through time and space!

The Australia Survival Guide is George's current series of non-fiction books. The Australia Survival Guide was released in 2019 and is all about how Australia (and not just the Daleks or Doctor Who's other great enemies, the Cybermen) is trying to kill you via deadly snakes, poisonous spiders, hungry sharks, vicious crocs, etc, and what you might be able to do to survive. Check out George's hilarious short video about the very dangerous drop bear here.

George has written another Survival Guide due out in September this year, The Human Body Survival Guide. "It's all about the gross stuff," he says. "So this book is full of poo and wee and puke. It has secretions as well as excretions. It is swarming with lice and intestinal worms and those teeny-tiny mites that live in your eyelashes. It is infested with bacteria and viruses and fungi and protozoa. And it was heaps of fun to research!"

Connect with George
George loves connecting with his readers. You can connect with him via his website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also subscribe to George's YouTube channel here.

George's books are available through Boomerang Books Online Store. The Gamers Trilogy is also available through Ford Street Publishing.

"You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world!"
Doctor Who

*For the uninitiated out there, a sonic screwdriver is a multifunctional tool that can do all kinds of awesome things such as open locks, detonate explosives and remotely activate electronics.
*Again for the uninitiated, the TARDIS is Doctor Who's iconic time machine and spacecraft. TARDIS stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. The Doctor's TARDIS always resembles a blue police box.
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Great article Belladonna. I am also a Whovian - I have a Tardis shower curtain and a Dr Who Chess set.
by May Cross (score: 3|6949) 28 days ago
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