George Ivanoff is a wonder to behold – children’s author, prolific blogger (Boomerang’s Literary Clutter) and stay-at-home-dad. Here he shows us how and where he writes, surrounded by noisy children, piles of books, Darth Vader statues and computer games.
Where did you write your latest book? How important to you is the space that you write in?
The bulk of Gamers’ Challenge was written in my little corner of the office that I share with my wife (a graphic designer). It’s cluttered and rather closed in and cosy. I’m surrounded by bookshelves and piles of books and movie memorabilia and… stuff. I like the feeling of being surrounded by the things that I like. It’s fairly daggy. It’s quite a contrast to my wife’s side of the office, which is open and tidy and bright… quite stylish, in fact.
Do you transform your space in any way for each book?
No, I don’t transform the space. But while writing Gamers’ Challenge (and Gamers’ Quest before that), I would take regular computer game breaks. I found a great website with retro games like Asteroids and Space Invaders. Given that the Gamers books are all set inside a computer game world, I figured that this was legitimate research. 😉
Do you ‘get into character’ at all?
I certainly do. When I’m creating characters I test them out — I do the voices and even act out their mannerisms sometimes. It helps me get a clear picture of them in my mind. It also helps me keep the dialogue consistent. I always do read-throughs out loud in character (much to the amusement of my wife and kids) and, if anything doesn’t sound right, I know I have to re-write it. This means that when the book is finished, and I’m doing readings, I find it really easy to slip into character, do the voices and perform them.
|Gamers’ Quest by George Ivanoff|
How has the place that you write evolved or changed since you first began writing novels?
When I first started writing I had a small study, cluttered and cosy and full of ‘stuff’. I was very protective of my space and I didn’t share it with anyone. I had to have complete silence (not even background music) while writing. But then I had kids and everything changed. Since then I’ve learned to write under any circumstances. I no longer need silence (in fact, I can write while surrounded by screaming children) or solitude. When my wife and I had our current home built, we included a joint office. My space is now bigger, it’s shared and it’s never quiet (my wife always has music playing). And I like it a lot better than my old study.
Do you keep regular writing hours? What are they? If not, when do you write?
As a stay-at-home dad, regular writing hours are a luxury I don’t get all that often. In fact, only once a week. Every Tuesday my youngest daughter goes off to day-care and my eldest gets picked up from school by her grandparents — so I get a complete, uninterrupted day in which to write. The rest of the time, I fit my writing in around the schedule of my kids (who have much busier social lives than me). So I’ll write during nap time, after the kids are in bed, on weekends, late into the night, etc.
|Gamers’ Challenge by George Ivanoff|
Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?
Ha. I am so not a morning person! My morning ritual involves hitting the snooze button several times, stumbling out of bed, tripping over toys, then getting daughter #1 ready for school. On Tuesdays, after she’s at school and #2 is at day-care, I’ll make myself a nice, strong cup of coffee (like any true caffeine addict I have my own espresso machine), get myself a piece of chocolate (like any true chocoholic, I keep a large supply in the cupboard) and settle down at the computer to read email, Twitter and FaceBook. Then, when the coffee is finished, I get stuck into the writing!
Gamers’ Quest is out now and Gamers’ Challenge hits stores September 2011. More on George over at www.georgeivanoff.com.au. Another children’s author will be in the Writer’s Studio next week.
Great interview, Tristan, George! Best, Paul
Thanks Paul. He's a good subject. T