As part of the UKYA Extravaganza event being held at Waterstones Birmingham, I’ve joined in with the blog tour fun and today I have Christina Banach on the blog talking about her writing in the run-up to her very first author event appearance!
Over to Christina:
Hi, Christina! What is an average writing day for you? Do you have any set routines you like to keep?
Hi Laura, thank you for having me on your blog.
I’m lucky enough to write full-time. My usual routine is to wake early, check Twitter, shower, grab some breakfast and start writing. I aim to be at my desk by 8am and, apart from a quick lunch break and walking my dogs, I press on until my husband returns from work at 5.30. After dinner, depending on what stage I’m at in the writing process, I might write some more.
Who are your writing inspirations?
Gosh, so many – Malorie Blackman, Kevin Brooks and Sally Gardner, amongst others. However, David Almond is my greatest inspiration. It was his exquisite book, Skellig, which compelled me to write for young people.
Why did you want to become a writer?
Since childhood I’d harboured a secret dream to become a writer. Nevertheless, I didn’t believe that someone like me could be a published author so I put my ambition aside and became a teacher instead. However, many years later, during a period of ill-health and trauma in my personal life, I began to write again. I suppose, at first, it was a way of making sense of what had happened to me. But then I rediscovered the joy of storytelling, the freedom of transforming ideas into sentences, the enjoyment of playing with words and crafting a story – of giving voice to what concerns me about the world I live in. And I knew then, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Why did you choose to write about the life and death situation that Minty finds herself in? Was it based on a real incident?
It’s really weird, but it was as if the story chose me. The idea appeared early one summer morning, just as the sun came up. During the night I’d thought I sensed my late father’s presence, after which, unable to get back to sleep, I sat in the sunroom contemplating what had actually happened. Then I heard my dog panting and put out my hand to stroke her. Until it struck me – how could it be my pet? She had died the month before. That’s when it came to me, the story of a teenaged girl to whom the unimaginable happens. Sadly, I know of two people who lost someone in a drowning accident so I expect that might have had some influence on the story. However, the incident in the book is entirely fictional.
What other UKYA are you a fan of and would recommend?
As well as the authors I’ve already mentioned, I’m a fan of L A Weatherly, Tim Bowler, Sophia Bennett, Keith Gray – I could go on. I’d recommend checking out their books or those of any of my fellow UKYA Extravaganza authors (see the Goodreads list). Also look out for Mind Games by Teri Terry (author of the excellent Slated trilogy), which is published next month. I was given a proof copy of this. For me, it’s her best book yet.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on a contemporary ghost story/psychological thriller set in the legendary village of Glencoe, in the Scottish Highlands.
Thanks to Christina for answering these Questions and to Kerry and Emma for organising everything. The event is SOLD OUT already but watch their twitter for info and updates and more blog tour fun.
Christina is on various social media ports and all information about these and her work can be found on her website here. Her debut book, Minty, is published by Three Hares Publishing.