Despite his name—which confuses people the world over—Avan is not Russian, Welsh or Israeli. He was born and raised in the south-west corner of Australia, where he was surrounded by countless books, animals and chainsaws, though which of those had the greatest influence is still up for debate.
As a boy he watched Rumpole of the Bailey and Matlock on their two-channel TV, and dreamed of lawyering (and, of course, more channels). He subsequently went to one of Australia’s most beautiful universities, where he thoroughly sullied a law degree.
Having realized that no number of contracts and forms would ever add up to whatever Matlock and Perry Mason did, he pursued a passion for history with a PhD (at a university famed for its ponds filled with enormous and very hungry eels). He taught and won several academic awards, all while putting home-made bread on the table by working as a mover of furniture (his speciality was destroying anything made by Ikea; he is still available to perform this service, gratis).
Avan now works as an editor—a job that was strangely absent from the TV of his youth. His TV is now a lot bigger and has more channels. He and his wife (also not Russian, despite her Russian name) live in the north of Spain where Avan has been known to take a long winter dip in the cold Atlantic, after which his words are always slurred, though only sometimes on the page.
Along with The French Bastard action–adventure thriller series, he is the author of Antipodes: In Search of the Southern Continent, a history from Monash University Publishing, and the forthcoming novel, Spinifex & Sunflowers, from Fremantle Press. Avan continues to write novels, some of which he publishes.