#RespectYourElders: George R. R. Martin, 70, is a fantasy novelist, producer and screenwriter. He is the author of the best-selling series, “A Song of Ice and Fire” which has been adapted into the HBO phenomenon “Game of Thrones.”
Martin’s interest in fantasy can be traced all of the way back to his upbringing. Martin grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey where he lived in public housing with his parents. Martin spent most of his time within the five blocks it took him to walk to school and rarely left his neighborhood.
While some people may think that would stifle creativity, it had the opposite effect on Martin.
“To me [my hometown] was boring, and familiar,” Martin said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “So I read books, and I dreamed of Mars, and the planets in those books, and of the Hyborian Age of Robert E. Howard’s Conan books, and later of Middle-Earth – all these colorful places.”
Martin’s love of reading inspired him to write whenever he could. Soon, he was writing his own short stories and regularly contributing to the fanzines he followed. His passion for creating stories continued throughout college where he eventually earned his master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. After graduation, he spent much of his time screenwriting and writing novels until he finally had an idea for a series that would change his life forever: “A Song of Ice and Fire.”
“This Ice and Fire thing wouldn’t leave my head,” Martin told Rolling Stone. “I kept thinking about it and scenes for these characters. It was just never far from me. I realized I really want to tell that story.”
It took Martin four years to write his first book in the series, “Game of Thrones.” While the book wasn’t an immediate hit, the series had a dedicated fan base that would help boost its popularity and eventual HBO adaptation.
Today, Martin has published five of the seven planned books in his series, and his fanbase is larger than ever. He regularly consults with the HBO “Game of Thrones” creators, especially as the series’ timeline proceeds beyond the story covered in his original books. He’s planning on releasing his next book, “The Winds of Winter” some time in 2019.