Australian Author of Children’s Books and Teen Books: January 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Fall

New thriller novel out NOW. BUY IT here.

‘Suspense in spades. You will be utterly gripped by Sam's story.’ 
The Last Thirteen Author James Phelan

'Readers need to be prepared for a gamut of emotions in this highly recommended novel.' 
- Magpies Magazine

I was lucky enough to speak about my new thriller novel The Fall with Sarah Lestrange on ABC Radio National Books and Arts program. Here's the interview if you'd like to have a listen.

'A page-turning masterpiece for readers young and old.'
- Bookseller and Blogger, Simon MacDonald, Pages and Pages / Boomerang Books.

‘Bancks intelligently imbues The Fall with themes of family, male connection, resilience and mortality in an engaging, action-filled coming-of-age story that explores what it means to be a hero.’
- Braiden Asciak in B+P (Bookseller and Publisher) Magazine


In the middle of the night, Sam is woken by angry voices from the apartment above.

He goes to the window to see what's happening - only to hear a struggle, and see a body fall
from the sixth-floor balcony. Pushed, Sam thinks.

Sam goes to wake his father Harry, a crime reporter, but Harry is gone. And when Sam goes downstairs, the body is gone, too. But someone has seen Sam, and knows what he's witnessed.

The next twenty-four hours could be his last.

Recommended for ages 10+





The Fall was initially inspired by something I saw while on work experience with Channel Ten news when I was at school. The story wouldn't leave me alone.

The Drafting Process
The Fall is a 50,000-word novel. I actually wrote 120,000 words worth of scenes and chapters. I threw out 70,419 words in my attempt to find the story. That’s just on my laptop. On paper there would be perhaps another 100,000 words.

I wrote seven drafts of The Fall before delivering it to Kimberley Bennett my editor at Penguin Random House. Initially the story was set in Sydney and was about a kid whose mum was a TV newsreader. The events of the story played out while Sam was on work experience with one of her cameramen for a week during the school holidays. In later drafts, while I was travelling with my family, the story was set in Paris and the plot involved the French president and the underground Paris Catacombs. Eventually, it came back to Australia and I set myself the challenge of having the story take place mostly over a single day in one apartment building. For me that really helped focus the book and raise the tension and stakes.

I love movies and books set in a single location and over a short period of time. I love Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and the old black and white movie Twelve Angry Men. Tintin was an inspiration as well as the crime reporter comic books that Sam loves. I reread Danny the Champion of the World when I was thinking about the father-son relationship in The Fall. Sam and Harry’s relationship is much more problematic than Danny and his dad’s but I wanted to find some tenderness and connection in spite of the difficulties. I was also inspired by Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret which takes place mainly in and around a Parisian train station. I wanted the apartment building to feel like a character in the story in the way that the train station does in Hugo.



See The Fall Vision Board here


listen to the fall BOOK soundtrack ON SPOTIFY

(the music i listened to while writing the book.)

I always create a soundtrack for my books. I listen to that music over and over and over again as I write the book. The tone / feeling of the music creates the tone / feeling of the book. The music becomes inseparable from the story. I can’t listen to the radio or random music as I write because I find it too distracting. I listen to the lyrics too carefully. But I can listen to music that I’ve listened to many times before, handpicked music that feels like my story. Music without lyrics works well, too. Here's an image of The Fall soundtrack in case you can't see the embedded Spotify playlist above.




Full review of The Fall by Pages and Pages Bookshop and Boomerang Books marketing manager Simon MacDonald here.

Full review of The Fall in B+P Magazine.

Full Review of The Fall in CBCA Reading Time Magazine

Full review of The Fall on 'Just So Stories', also published on OZTL Network

Full Review of The Fall in CBCA Reading Time Magazine

Two Wolves REVIEWS

'Two Wolves recalls the great adventure stories of Jack London but with the gritty realism of 21st-century story-telling. Gripping and unpredictable, with a hero you won't forget.’ – John Boyne, author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

'The novel was perfect - praise I rarely give, in fact - taut, empathic and of a depth very rarely seen for that age group of boys in particular.' – Marj Osborne, Teacher-Librarian / Blogger

'A tense, hard-edged, no-holds-barred thriller.' - Anthony Horowitz, author Alex Rider series)

'This engrossing novel captures the reader with the skill and narrative power of the descriptive writing, its intriguing plot, believable dialogue, family tensions, and Ben’s emotional and physical growth . . . Highly recommended for secondary readers as a gripping read, and for class discussion on many levels." - Chloé Mauger, Magpies


Monday, January 2, 2017

My Life & Other Weaponised Muffins

'A laugh a minute rip-roaring read for adults and children alike.' 
- CBCA Reading Time

Have you ever been trapped inside a runaway car? Have you sold head lice for fun and profit?
Is there someone in your class who will stop at nothing to kiss you?

'Like Dahl, Bancks is passionate about inspiring a love of reading in the young by placing fun 
at the centre of his storytelling.' - Andy Griffiths, Sydney Morning Herald

'Laugh-out-loud funny.' - Children's Books Daily on ABC 612 Radio Brisbane

My Life & Other Weaponised Muffins is illustrated by artist and madman Gus Gordon and it's the fifth book in our weird-funny-gross, semi-autobiographical My Life series starring Tom Weekly. It asks all of life's big questions. Stuff like...


Have you ever been trapped inside a runaway car? Have you broken a world record? Is there someone in your class who will stop at nothing to kiss you? Have you ever tricked your dog into doing your homework? Or found something seriously disgusting in your food? Have you sold head lice for fun and profit? Or has your mum ever used raspberry and white chocolate muffins as weapons of minor destruction?

I’m Tom Weekly and all of these things have happened to me. I’ve captured them here in stories, jokes, cartoons, quizzes and lists. Believe me, real life is weirder than anything you can make up.




Download and Print a Mask Just like the One Used By the Stinky Kid in the Trailer 

(Fun for Book Parades and Muffin Fights!)

Check out trailers for 
the other books in the series

I'm hitting the road Feb-August, bringing the stories to life in schools, libraries and festivals in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Newcastle, The Hunter, Armidale, Perth, Tasmania. I'll also be reaching lots of regional centres via Skype. Keep an eye on my Events page for details.

I hope that this is the best My Life book ever. I, rather modestly, think it is. Lewis Snow and his chronic nits are back. So is Stella Holling, and she has another devilish plan for getting Tom Weekly to kiss her.


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