My guest today is debut children’s author Anita Banks, whose picture book, Tanner Builds a Block Tower, was just released by Wee Creek Press. A native of Alabama, Anita raised three children and has four grandchildren. They are the inspiration for her writing and her love of children’s books. She likes the adventures and escapes that stories allow you to explore and the myriad of emotions you feel.
Congratulations on the release of your first book, Tanner Builds a Block Tower. When did you start writing and what got you into children’s books?
I have aspired to be a writer since junior high school, many years ago. But just have gotten serious since 2010, writing other than journaling. I was cleaning out some old mementos and found some of my stories from school, they totally brought back the dream. Being an empty nester at this point in my life has allowed me to pursue that dream.
Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?
I still struggle with self doubt. That may be normal, I don’t know. But it’s scary to put yourself out there and risk the hurtful negativity. I consider myself still learning and pursuing. I like taking workshops and classes, mostly online. So I think that helps, the feedback from others just like yourself is encouraging.
What was your inspiration for Tanner Builds a Block Tower?
My grandson and his obsession with blocks when he was a preschooler. He would build and build, nothing would deter him and I enjoyed playing with him. He also loved walking and exploring outside. So it was a natural fit to put those two together for the story.
Do you plot in advance or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I suppose it’s a bit of both. I ponder it in my head for a long time, several weeks. Then I write a VERY rough draft, and let it sit. When I look at it again, I go through and pick it apart and put it in a simpler order or sequence. If it makes sense then I go back through to add the sensory and other details.
I think it is a sweet, cute tale of play for a young child. I hope that when its read that parents could recognize their own child or memories of their selves in Tanner.
Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined?
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a regular writing schedule. I work a day job that keeps me on the computer for nine hours each day, so I struggle with coming home and making myself get on the computer. I mostly write on the weekends, but I wouldn’t call that disciplined.
What was your publishing process like?
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.
What do you love most about the writer’s life?
I don’t consider that I have a writer’s life, that is part of the bigger dream.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
My website is a new work in progress, just starting up but it’s: http://www.anitabanks.com. I currently don’t blog; that nine hour work day I mentioned, keeps me from tackling another project.
What is your advice for aspiring children’s authors?
Read. Write. Read. Write. Keep learning the craft and don’t give up. If you don’t try then you will never get where you want to go. Don’t listen to the doubt in your head, it will defeat you.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read about me and Tanner Builds a Block Tower. If you buy the book, write to me and let me know if you enjoyed it.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00KPLD4G6]