George Ivanoff revisits his childhood while visiting Goldie's blog
I've been celebrating the release of my latest YA notel, That Stranger Next Door - a historical romance novel set in Melbourne in the 1950s - by inviting some great Australian writers to visit and talk about their writing.
Today's guest blogger is George Ivanoff - a prolific writer of books for kids and teens — both fiction and non-fiction. His books include school readers, library reference books, chapter books, novelettes, novels and even a short story collection. He has had 86 books published so far, including the Gamers series; and his new You Choose series of interactive novels, inclduing The Treasure of Dead Man's Cove and The Maze of Doom.
He has dropped into my blog to relive his chidlhood.
Being a writer of books for children and teens, I often quip that I write in order to relive my childhood. But when I stop to think about it, that statement is, to a large extent, true. I am inspired by my childhood obsessions, by the books I adored reading and by my experiences at school.
My first book, Life, Death and Detention (re-released in an updated edition in 2012 by Morris Publishing Australia), is a collection of ten YA stories centered around life in high school. While I never did the more extreme things depicted in the book, each of the stories, nevertheless, began with me thinking back to my own life in high school… and extrapolating, exaggerating and making stuff up (something else I loved doing as a kid).
My Gamers books, a trilogy of teen novels — Gamers’ Quest, Gamers’ Challenge and Gamers’ Rebellion — from Ford Street Publishing, are a result of my teenage obsession with computer games. It all started with me asking the question: What if the characters inside a computer game thought they were real?
My most recent series, You Choose (Random House Australia), is a result of my childhood love of the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Getting to make choices that decided the course of a story blew my mind. And rereading those stories with different endings was so much FUN! Now, as a grown-up author, I’m getting to have all that fun again by writing my own interactive books.
Even my educational writing (and I’ve written over 70 titles for the primary school education market), finds its roots in my status as a reluctant reader in primary school. I remember hating the books I was given to read and associating reading with those books. It was not until I discovered science fiction in mid-primary, through a book called The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron, that I grew to love reading. Now I find myself writing education books, fervently determined to make those books as appealing as possible for that 8-year-old me.
So, for me, the key to writing for young people is to be able to think yourself back to your own childhood, grasp the defining elements of your youth, and transplant them into stories for contemporary readers. Like I said — I’m reliving my childhood!
To find our more about George and his books, visit his website.
The next, and last, guest on my reverse blog tour will be Hazel Edwards.