A short interview with author George Ivanoff on his contribution to The X-Files: Secret Agendas anthology, out now from IDW Publishing…
THE X-CAST: How did you come to be involved with Secret Agendas?
GEORGE IVANOFF: Jonathan Maberry had two slots open up for the anthology and invited members of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers to pitch for them. I submitted two pitches and one of them got through.
TX-C: Have you always been a fan of The X-Files?
GI: Yep! Loved it from the moment it showed up on TV. So getting the chance to write a story for this anthology was a big fan-boy moment for me. It also gave me the excuse to buy it all on DVD as a tax deduction. Research! Research is so important!
TX-C: This is easily the strangest and creepiest story in Secret Agendas – what were your inspirations for the use of eyes?
GI: Thank you for your kind words. My favourite episodes of the series were the stand-alone creature eps rather than the conspiracy mythology based ones. And I love the “is-it-a-monster-or-isn’t-it” approach. So that’s what I wanted to write. As for the eyes… well, eyes are such a sensitive part of the body. And I’m very squeamish about eyes. The best starting points for creepy stories are the things that creep out the author. And the thought of a creature covered in stolen eyes creeped me out in a BIG way.
TX-C: What made you start ‘in media res’, as it were, with Mulder toward the end of the story?
GI: It was simply a case of wanting to start the story at an exciting point. And given that the story falls very much into the “is-the-monster-real-or-isn’t-it?” category, I figured that the first scene should make you think that it is real.
TX-C: There are some definite Biblical & religious overtones with Orvell, not to mention hints of historical abuse – what made these form part of his character?
GI: Once I worked out that the story would be about an optometrist and stolen eyes, the title just popped into my head. “An Eye for an Eye” is a biblical quote, so that led me to finding other biblical references to eyes; and that resulted in me wondering about how to turn the biblical references into a cause. I take a dim view of religious extremism (extremism of any sort, really), which so often is the excuse for all manner of horrible behavior. So I used extremism as the starting point for the historical abuse. And it all came together to form Orvell’s back-story. Even in a fantastical story, there needs to be believable historical motives for a character’s behavior.
TX-C: Do you believe in the paranormal?
GI: No! I believe in science. 🙂 But the paranormal makes for exciting story telling!
Many thanks to George for his time. You can follow him on Twitter @george_ivanoff.
Questions by Tony Black, who you can follow on Twitter @Mr_AJ_Black