Monday’s Friend: Daisy Banks
Today I am pleased to welcome romance writer Daisy Banks to the blog. Welcome, Daisy!
DB: Hello, it’s great to be here on Sara-Jayne Townsend’s blog. I hope my answers to her questions help to give you an idea of the kind of writer and person I am.
SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?
DB: That’s a tricky question to answer. I do know I spoke my first stories into a tape recorder because I was too young to have learned to write. Older family members have said I started telling the stories when I was aged about three. I suppose the clue I’d write was there, but no one in my family noticed it at the time. I did have several teachers who enjoyed my stories and the plays I wrote with a friend while I was in primary education; perhaps that was another clue to what lay in the future. Then I hit the adolescent phase and moved to poetry. I love poetry but I am a terrible poet. It’s probably for the best I gave the poems up. After I graduated and went into special needs teaching a long time passed before the call to write hit me.
I discovered I wanted to write while going through a very unpleasant illness. My first efforts had much room for improvement. I joined critique groups, read as much as I could in my attempts to gain a better understanding of how to write in a way readers would enjoy. I am learning still and trying to improve my skills with each story I complete.
SJT: I went through a stage of writing bad poetry as a teenager, as well. Who would you cite as your influences?
DB: Anya Seaton, Jean Plaidy, Mary Stewart, I read and loved them all in my youth. Tolkien remains a major influence. I love his use of language, the way he created such a detailed magical world. There are lots more books and authors I’ve enjoyed reading, really too many to list.
I love Anne Rice’s work and many of her books are on my bookcase. I also enjoyed Douglas Adams creations, what an imagination the man had.
I enjoy many e-book authors too.
SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?
DB: If you want to be a writer, it’s not just about the writing. There are other requirements too. Be prepared to work as a publicist, even if you’re shy, a web designer unless you’re rich enough to hire one and to blog too. Some people can do all those things quite effortlessly, for others such as me each one is a challenge in its own right. I always find it surprising people might want to know about me rather than about the stories.
Research the market and think of where your story might fit into it. I think that’s a vital part of understanding publishing. Even if your book is the story from your deepest heart, or a tale you’ve worked on for a long time, you do need to remember publishing is a business and you have to treat it as one. You may be lucky and fill the publisher’s requirement at the time, or you may not. The spark of fate, luck or the will of the gods hits us all. Be patient, sometimes you can wait for weeks, even months, to hear from a publisher, but I once had a reply from a senior editor to my email submission in less than five minutes. Now that was a shock. Sadly, they didn’t take the story.
Another important thing is to grow a hard hide, and be prepared for rejection in all its forms. Rejection is what I think most people find the hardest to deal with, it’s made my eyes water more than once, but you have to push through the disappointment and continue. I’ve known several would be writers with wonderful skills and glorious imaginations, but their first rejection flattened them like they’d been hit by a runaway steamroller and they never tried again after. If you want to write, you have to be stubborn, not easily dissuaded from your goals and let the stories drive you onward.
SJT: When it comes to your writing projects, would you describe yourself as a meticulous planner, or a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’?
DB: I’m a pantster through and through. I wrote in more depth about this on the All Things Writing blog in February. http://allthingswriting.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/daisy-banks-author-of-timeless-talks.html. It took me a while to understand that’s what my kind of writing was. My stories come to me as pictures in my mind. They have all begun that way. I follow where the pictures lead me and only when the bones of the story are done do I go back to edit and develop. I did end up with a list of rooms for my story TIMELESS published by Lyrical Press, http://lyricalpress.com/timeless/ because the house the hero Magnus Johansson lives in is so large, but that’s it for notes overall. Sometimes I’ll start writing a scene from the end of the story and work back to the beginning, some people find that way of working very strange but I’ve done it more than once. I did think if I wrote a very long story I might need more in the way of notes, but my latest finished ms which I am about to submit is very long and I didn’t have a list of notes.
DB: I think people make assumptions about writers. They seem to imagine we all either sit freezing, rubbing our chilblained hands around a flickering candle in a garret, or we lounge at desks surrounded by books and bash away at computers in a frenzied blur. Maybe some writers do work in those ways, I don’t.
My current home, a converted chapel in a country village, is an interesting place to work in. For one thing, I can’t see out of the windows on the ground floor, they are all stained glass. If I want to admire the view, I have to go upstairs. I work at my table in the kitchen, a good place to work as it’s close to the biscuit jar, always warm in winter, and the coffee machine steams close by. Often I listen to music as I work, frequently classical though that tends to be background noise rather than something for inspiration.
My latest story, Your Heart My Soul with Liquid Silver Books which you can pre-order here for immediate download on release day, the 25th of the March, was inspired by a piece of music. The Fishermen’s Friends, a Cornish group who specialize in sea shanties, perform the song, ‘Bully in the Alley’ as part of their repertoire. The song gave me shivers and the first image for Your Heart My Soul, and once I had the picture of the girl and her man waiting, the story rolled on. You can listen to the song here on UTube.
There are times when I use incense to help me link to the mind of the character I’m working with, or I might use a picture to help me think in their mindset. Pictures sometimes help me if I’m floundering, but mostly the images are in my head. I don’t like interruptions and I leave the house phone on answer. The best days are those when I discover I’ve been writing for several hours yet it feels like only a short time. I love those days.
SJT: All your stories seem to be about romance. What is it about this genre, in your opinion, that has lasting appeal?
DB: Love and the force of it on the emotions is a fascinating subject to write about. Generations of writers have explored love and its abiding power. I guess I’m following in the footsteps of others. I have been a romantic since I can recall, I enjoy happy endings to stories, but I also appreciate pathos and tragedy, all involve love. Fashions change, they come and go, but the depth of love between lovers is something that fills me with awe. Kingdoms won and lost for love, fortunes the same, family ties broken for love, journeys across the globe, all for love. I can’t think of anything stronger than love. I know there are people in the world who will claim there are emotions or forces that are stronger. I happen to think they are wrong. Love encapsulates all that is best in us, or sometimes the worst, and that is one of the reasons I enjoy writing about it so much. When I write about love, there are no fixed boundaries. This is such a wonderful and special emotion, promotes selfless acts of devotion, but equally its power can cause devastation. When love strikes a heart it can and often is overwhelming. I find love an amazing thing to write about and of course, it’s great fun too. You can find all my stories on my web site here. http://daisybanksnovels.yolasite.com/
SJT: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
DB: I read. Perhaps dipping into a story I know, like visiting an old friend, or I may read a new story. If I’m not writing I spend some time critiquing for people and I do enjoy a visit to the local market town, or a meal out at my local pub, or seeing my friends. I enjoy time with my family and visiting my sons, one who lives in London the other, who lives closer to me. I do like to travel. On a wider scale, I try to visit a new country whenever I have the chance to travel. I’m hoping to be able to return to the USA next year and that will be a thrill as I’ll be able to visit some of my friends there.
Many thanks for having me on your blog Sara-Jayne. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions.
Daisy Banks is from the Black Country, the heartlands of the Midlands in the UK. She is proud to count as her ancestors the people who lived in the narrow, blue brick-paved streets, who delved for coal or worked metal. A legacy to be proud of. Daisy is married and spends her time writing now that her boys are adults. She loves traditional romantic songs and ballads. She is interested in art and architecture, enjoys travel, and occasionally cooks a meal that doesn’t stick to the pan.
She is the author of:
YOUR HEART MY SOUL with Liquid Silver Books.
TIMELESS with Lyrical Press
FIONA’S WISH with Lyrical Press CAPA Nominee 2012
A MATTER OF SOME SCANDAL with Lyrical Press
WITCH’S MARK with NCP