Lucy Banks is author from South-west England who has a fondness for ghosts and bugs. Her first book, The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost, was released last year. Her second book, The Case of the Deadly Doppelganger is coming out next month. She was also the winner of the Amazon's 2016 A New Night Before Christmas writing competition. Lucy was recently gracious enough to take a few minutes to talk to me.
MB: Let's start with the Amazon's writing competition. In 2016, you won Amazon's A New Night Before Christmas competition with your story about a slug. Why a slug?
LB: Embarrassing admission here – my house is riddled with slugs. Every winter they emerge from under the floorboards, and one day, I happened to notice that a particularly large slug had left a pretty pattern on the living room rug, which was glittering in the sunlight. It occurred to me that even slimy, rather unattractive creatures can produce something lovely – and voila, the idea was born!
MB: Publisher's Weekly has called your debut novel, The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost, "Ghostbusters with a British accent". It's the first in a new supernatural series. Talk for a moment about the book and the new series.
LB: Ghostbusters with a British accent sums it up perfectly! It’s about a 22-year-old called Kester, who’s just lost his mum and is searching for a mysterious man called Dr Ribero. On his mission, he not only discovers the father he never had, but also a supernatural agency that he inadvertently manages to become a part of. Only problem is – Kester doesn’t like spirits very much, which causes quite a few issues along the way.
As the series progresses, things take a turn for the darker. There’s growing dissent in the world of the spirits, but not everything is as clear-cut as initially thought – and Kester may be the only person to put things right again, even if it means uncovering some unpleasant truths along the way.
MB: The second book in the series, The Case of the Deadly Doppelganger, is coming out next month. Without giving any spoilers, what can you tell me about the new book that I won't find in the jacket copy or PR material?
LB: Old people are being bumped off left, right and centre in the sleepy town of Lyme Regis, and the only thing that unites them is the claim that they ‘saw themselves’ before they died. All evidence points to a doppelganger… but typically for Dr Ribero’s Agency, things are never that simple.
In addition to the usual host of characters from the previous book, the second novel introduces the odious Larry Higgins (owner of a rival agency), plus his two sidekicks – and an uncomfortable situation where they must work side by side, or risk mucking up the job royally.
As for something you won’t find in the blurb – things get pretty sweaty and smelly, plus there’s some alarming grave-digging going on. Oh, and there’s a character called Mr Onion.
MB: Let's talk about the craft of writing for a moment. Some writers plot out all of the elements before putting a single word to paper. Others, on the other hand, allow the story to grow organically as they write. Tell me about your writing process.
LB: With the Ribero series, I’ve laid out the basic plot for the entire thing, but generally, I like to let the characters lead the way a little. This has taken the novels in some weird and wonderful directions in the past, which is always good fun. But overall, I like to have a sense of where things are going – I think it’d be quite terrifying to write without knowing how it’ll end!
MB: You have the new book coming out next month. What else can we expect from you in the future?
LB: The third in the series will hopefully be out sometime in 2019, and I’m still working away at the fourth as we speak.
MB: Finally, give me a list of your top five all-time favorite books.
LB: Gosh, only five? Okay, here goes:
1. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
2. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
4. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
5. Whisper of Death – Christopher Pike (this was the book that inspired me to write)
MB: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. Good luck with The Case of the Deadly Doppelganger.
You can learn more about Lucy Banks at her website, www.lucy-banks.co.uk. You can also follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lucybankswriter, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lucybankswriter. You can read my review of The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost here.