The Booktopia Book Guru asks
author of Banish
Ten Terrifying Questions
I’m a Melbourne girl through and through. Love living in this amazing cosmopolitan city. Went to a Catholic girls’ high school, then completed a four year physiotherapy degree at Lincoln Institute/LaTrobe University. Worked as a physio for 13 years before finally following my dream to write!
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve I wanted to be a doctor or journalist. At eighteen I’d already chosen my university path as a physio. At thirty I wanted to be a writer, and that’s the dream I followed.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton was my absolute favourite book as a child and it fostered my love for reading. I was voracious and would read 10 books a week.
In my teens, I got hooked on anything by Agatha Christie and would re-read my collection at will.
As an adult, I discovered Susan Elizabeth Phillips and she ignited my passion for amazing contemporary romances. Romances that are funny and sweet and sexy. I’d love to be SEP when I grow up!
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Because I adored writing in school and always said ‘I’d love to write a book one day’. Thankfully, I eventually stopped saying it and actually did it!
6. Please tell us about your latest novel…
Banish is angsty and eerie and a tad spooky. It incorporates Wicca and spirits and murder! It’s a young adult thriller with a supernatural twist. Incredibly fun to write and it took me in directions I least expected.
I think the blurb sums it up best…
From the Publisher:
Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit… and save her soul.
After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt — a Wicca High Priestess.
Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan — a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.
But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips — and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!
Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural…despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
Alyssa faces a lot of angst for a teen. She’s faced with numerous challenges yet she never gives up. She’s determined and strong-willed, and that can be incredibly empowering at any age. I’d hope readers would take away a message of resilience after reading Banish.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
I admire any writer who treats publishing like a business. Writers who are professional and who don’t give in to a moody muse. Nora Roberts is an amazing woman who’s prolific and dedicated. She’s my heroine!
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
I want to maintain a balanced career between traditional and indie publishing, with adult contemporary romance and young adult supernatural spooky stuff.
If I can continue to write four to six books a year, I’ll be happy.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
A lot of writers get caught up in the technicalities of writing. The many ‘how-to’ resources, following rules, trying to write according to what they hear is right. My advice is to write, write, and write some more. The way to hone your writing voice is to do just that: write. And read widely in the genre you’re targeting to get a feel for what’s current.
Nicola, thank you for playing.