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Tom Banks - Author

About the Author

Tom has mainly worked in the theatre throughout his adult life, running a small company called the Network of Stuff with friends and making up and telling stories to young people and adults. He has also worked with the acclaimed children's theatre company Tall Stories, devising and performing in shows such as The Gruffalo and Them With Tails all over the world. As well as all this he has worked as a question writer for TV quiz shows, a Tudor huntsman, an ineffectual bookseller, a youth theatre director and, a long time ago, as a secret shopper for a Trading Standards department, with a camera in his backpack and a keen sense of justice. Tom lives with his partner Sarah, their two children and an improbably loud three-legged cat in a non-trendy part of North London.

 

TOM BANKS: Author Q & A

What inspires your writing?

There are no great white light moments of inspiration for me, it’s just great fun.  I always have stories in my mind, and writing is just one of the ways to get them out and let other people see them. And, to be prosaic for a moment, it’s much much more fun than most other jobs.

What has been the most exciting moment of your career so far?

I’m very new to this, so for me the most exciting moment was hearing that Hot Key Books liked my first book and wanted to publish it. Easily the best phone call ever. I was in a cafe at the time and I whooped alone. Getting proof copies through the post came a close second.

How did you first become an author?

Well I’ve always told stories – I also work in theatre, making up plays and performing them or directing young people in them, so writing was a way to do carry on doing that when the stories I came up with weren’t suited to putting onstage. So I first became an author by writing a story then annoying people with it for years and years.

What are you reading right now?

I tend to take a scattergun approach to reading – I have a few books on the go at once, I sometimes don’t finish them, and I re-read as often as I read new books. I also read a lot of non-fiction. So, at the moment – A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin on the tube, Cloud Hunters by Alex Shearer by my bed, Eccentric London by someone I can’t remember in the toilet, Something Fresh by PG Wodehouse when I’m in the kitchen, and Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt. Not necessarily all at once.

What was your earliest career aspiration?

To write THE HOBBIT. Sadly someone stole the idea from me forty years before I was born.

What advice would you give to budding writers?

Erm... write even when you don’t feel like it. I wish I listened to myself.

What was your favourite childhood book?

The Hobbit, and then The Lord of the Rings. It took a very long time for me to write anything that wasn’t a lame copy of these books, because I so desperately wanted to have written them.  I still have to stop myself putting small furry footed creatures into my writing now.

Where is your favourite place to write?

Cafes, such as the one I am in now. The danger is I drink more coffee than I should, out of guilt, and then my writing tends to get a bit patchy and manic. And I end up eating s ecind breakfast and elevenses, hobbit-style. 

How do you read- print, digitally or both?

Both. I don’t have an eBook reader, but I do have the Kindle app for my phone, and I use it all the time on public transport. But I still love a paper book – there’s room for both in the world. Hurrah.

Who do you most admire?

Philip Pullman.  The clarity and power of his storytelling is second to none, and his insistence that a lack of belief in ‘spirituality’ does not mean a lack of belief in people and goodness and kindness and wonder and hope- truly inspiring. 

Are there any books you wish you had written?

As discussed, The Hobbit. Although I would have no doubt laced it with puns, so maybe it’s a good thing Tolkien got there first. Also, my second book. I wish I’d written that, but so far I’m only halfway through... 

Featured books by Tom Banks

Other books by Tom Banks

The Great Galloon and the Pirate Queen

The Great Galloon and the Pirate Queen

Author: Tom Banks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/07/2015

The final showdown between the Great Galloon and the evil crew of the Sumbaroon. Captain Anstruther and the crew of his Great Galloon have trapped the evil Zebediah and his Sumbaroon at the base of a waterfall - at last they will rescue the captain's stolen bride, Isabella! But the Sumbaroon sprouts mechanical legs and escapes over land like a devious metal spider. Stanley and Rasmussen are determined to stop Zebediah from taking over the Great Galloon, but it turns out that it isn't Zebediah who is after control of the enormous airship. Will they figure out the treachery in time? Including brilliant illustrations by John Kelly, this action-packed third book surpasses all expectations, and proves that people working together, no matter their backgrounds, can accomplish anything.

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