Please welcome debut children’s author Anita Banks. Anita harbored her secret of writing since she was in junior high school where the desire took seed in a creative writing class. She enjoys journaling, reading, running and traveling, but nothing compares to playing with her grandchildren. She’s here today to talk about her new picture book, Tanner Builds a Block Tower.
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
That was a dream career when I was in junior high school after a creative writing class, but Iife and family took over. Then a couple of years ago the seed sprouted full force and I have been taken writing classes and workshops.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
I loved reading, I began with Dr. Seuss and Dick and Jane. Then moved to a collection of Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew that my mother had collected.
Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
This is my first book, I so excited! Tanner Builds a Block Tower is about a little boy who is determined to build a tower with his blocks. But on the way to his destination he gets distracted by different animals and insects. He also loses some of his blocks. So he has to find them to finish what he started.
The inspiration for this book was my grandson, Tanner. On a visit to see him when he was about three years old, he loved to play with his building blocks and build towers, over and over. He was fascinated with this repetitive play. We also went on numerous walks, he loved to explore the outdoors, and still does. So it seemed a natural fit to combine the two activities.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
I had the idea when I signed up for a workshop, Walking on a Rainbow, a fiction Picture Book Workshop. The workshop was wonderful with the instruction and inspiration.
Did your book require a lot of research?
Playing with my grandson was wonderful research.
This is a preschool picture book, so I hope children enjoy hearing the story and a book that parents and grandparents would enjoy reading it to them.
What will the reader learn after reading your book?
Determination and perseverance is the theme of this book, I hope that’s what comes through.
What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?
I mostly think it first, then maybe over think it before words get on the paper, or screen. I am still learning my process.
Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?
The idea for Tanner Builds a Block Tower, came while watching him play. Another story idea has been interacting with my three year old granddaughter. So far, they have been my best ideas.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
I took the picture book workshop in 2011, the release of the book is this summer, 2914. Almost three years.
Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?
It’s been a mixture, I try to get a first draft done. But I tend to edit too much as I go along.
As a writer, what scares you the most?
Not believing I have any ability to write something that anyone else would enjoy.
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
Savvy Authors was having a pitch contest and I pitched my story to an editor for Wee Creek Press, Melanie Billings. She asked to read the story and then made the offer. Woohoo.
I was excited to say the least, that was September last year, and the book is now available this June, on Amazon and B&N.com.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
I have a brand new website that I may building, I would love for you to visit and tell me what you think: http://www.anitabanks.com
Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
I have two more picture books that I am shopping out, and I am working on a chapter book currently.
Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!
Thank you so much for having me.