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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...
Join Captain Anstruther and his motley crew of sky-pirates for another adventure in this lively sequel. Expect hilarity and chaos to ensue! Our reader reviewers loved the first book, The Great Galloon - click here to read what they thought. A Piece of Passion from Sara O'Connor, Editorial Director The Great Galloon series immediately made me want to grab a mop and fight alongside the comical crew. With plenty of adventures and "goodnight points" instead of chapters, I defy you not to be completely charmed by this whimsical story and its wonderful illustrations.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & March 2013 Debut of the Month A Piece of Passion from the Editor, Sara O'Connor - The Great Galloon immediately made me want to grab a mop and fight alongside the comical crew. With plenty of adventures and "goodnight points" instead of chapters, I defy you not to be completely charmed by this whimsical story and its wonderful illustrations. The Great Galloon is a flying airship which combines the remarkable gadgetry of the flying galleon in the film Stardust, with the humour and action of Pirates of the Caribbean. This rollicking piratical read whisks the reader through the air and on a voyage of adventure, peopled by characters such as Stanley, a clever boy with a small horn, and Rasmussen, a reluctant countess-to-be. ......................................... In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Great Galloon a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title...'If you love books with pirates, action and adventure then go to the shops today to get your hands on a copy of 'The Great Galloon.' Scroll down to read their reviews...
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.
Captain Anstruther and his motley crew of sky-pirates are back for more adventures! Picking up the story where THE GREAT GALLOON ended, VOYAGE TO THE VOLCANO finds Stanley, Rasmussen and the rest of the Great Galloon crew on their way to the greatest party ever held: Count Heinz-Marie von Fforbes-Martinez of Eisberg's birthday party. Not everyone is in the party spirit though - poor Captain Anstruther is still searching for his kidnapped bride, Isabella, but he thinks the key to winning her back may lie in the heart of the Chimney Islands, a mind-boggling patchwork of volcanoes where Anstruther and Isabella first swore eternal love. Can he attend the party AND be reunited with his beloved? Stanley and Rasmussen must do battle once more with the Captain's nefarious brother Zebediah, encountering old friends, new friends and unexpected friends in frilly pink dresses along the way. Expect hilarity and chaos to ensue!
Like MUPPETS TREASURE ISLAND. But a little less fur. And in the sky. The Great Galloon is an enormous airship, built by Captain Meredith Anstruther and manned by his crew, who might seem like a bit of a motley bunch but who are able to fight off invading marauders whilst drinking tea and sweeping floors! Captain Anstruther is preparing to marry the beautiful Lady Isabella, but disaster strikes when his evil younger brother comes aboard for the wedding and steals Isabella away onto his underwater Sumbaroon. Stanley, a clever boy with a small horn, and Rasmussen, a reluctant countess-to-be, are busy waiting for an adventure to begin. Instead they have to fight off BeheMoths, avoid enormous Seagles, encounter the terrifying (but nice really) Brunt and save the Galloon from sinking. How will they ever find the Captain's bride when nothing's happening? THE GREAT GALLOON is a humorous CAPTAIN PUGWASH meets MONTY PYTHON adventure perfect for reading aloud and for growing readers looking for a silly, funny book.