Getting to know... Chloe Banks
How did you get into writing? Do you remember what
was the first story or poem that you wrote?
I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. I used to write stories for my big sisters as birthday presents when I was really young. I remember my teacher making a fuss about a story I wrote when I was seven – telling everyone how brilliant it was. I loved the feeling that my writing had delighted someone, even then. When I was eight or nine I wrote a poem about my grandpa fighting in Burma during the war, it won a prize at school and went on to be published in a children’s anthology. As I got older I preferred to study science and maths, but an old school friend dared me to enter a novel writing competition. I ended up getting shortlisted and from then on I had the bug.
2. If you had to describe your writing style in three words, what would they be?
Messy but hopeful.
3. You have a blog that you regularly update. Do you find writing it has helped you as a writer or is it more of an outlet for your thoughts and ideas?
It started off as an outlet for my thoughts on God and faith, rather than writing. But I’m no great theologian! It gradually became more about life and that inevitably means writing for me. The origins of the blog aren’t far away though – I don’t write “Christian literature”, but my faith is important to my work. The most useful thing I’ve found in having a blog, is being able to connect with other writers. Writing can be a lonely sport.
4. Excluding your own story, which would you say was your favourite in Beyond the Horizon?
I think it changes every time I look at the book! They’re all so different. I like the weird otherworldness of 'Rogue', but the novel I’m writing right now has an abstract artist as its central character. It’s not a world I knew much about before I started the research, so I have a new appreciation for 'You Call That Art?'
5. What have you been up to since Beyond the Horizon was published?
Around the time I was writing for Beyond the Horizon, I had a really great time. I won a few different short story competitions and got second prize in a couple more. I was just finishing the draft of my children’s novel and everything seemed great. Since then it’s been a lot slower, although I did have a short story published in Christian Writer magazine after winning their competition. I’ve been sending my novel out to agents and getting the inevitable rejections – though occasionally with some encouraging feedback – and working on my first attempt at a grown-up novel. I’m still working on that now, but I’m also trying to look for other opportunities – like selling some of my prize-winning stories – to add a bit of variety to the routine of writing.
6. What are your goals for the future in terms of writing?
I want to have my children’s novel published. That’s the big dream at the moment. But I don’t want to just be one type of writer. I’d love to write more short stories and novels for adults too, and I’d like to try my hand at copywriting – a bit of everything! I want to keep learning the craft year by year for the rest of my life. While I wouldn’t say no to becoming a great prize-winning novelist, the most important thing to me is to write fiction that people want to read; not unparalleled genius, just un-put-downable literature.