Saturday, May 24, 2014

Minty By Christina Banach and an Interview!

(Image found on Goodreads)
“No, this is real all right - no mistaking.” -Christina Banach, Minty

Teenage twins Minty and Jess are attached at the hip. But Jess is tired of being a pair and says words that she comes to regret. Especially when Minty finds herself a ghost. Jess takes her death hard and Minty has a hard time watching her mourn. But will Minty be able to control her ghostly powers enough to help her family heal? Or will this family be torn to pieces? Find the official description on Goodreads.

Christina Banach creates a paranormal world with her own spin on things. Minty has no clue of what she can or cannot do as a ghost. Which is where her ghostly mentor comes in. But he’s not assigned to her or anything. He stumbles upon her and teaches her what he can. I found that this relationship was sometimes strained but many times humorous. This relationship meant that while the book itself was sad and emotional, it also wasn’t only sad or miserable. There were moments that could make you chuckle. It helped balance Minty a bit.

Then there are the different ways that grief is expressed throughout the book. It’s different for everyone and everyone experiences some form of survivor’s guilt. It was interesting to get that look into the ways that different people grieve a loss. It allowed me to view things through other people’s perspectives and not just my own.

Minty is also told from Minty’s perspective. I enjoyed that. It allowed readers to catch a glimpse of the ghosts perspective and not solely the still alive people. It was something new. Something that people don’t always see.

The relationships between the sisters and their parents was also fun to glimpse. I have a brother and I could see parallels with the two sisters but I also saw things that were different(and honestly I’m hoping for in the future, haha). But it was great to be able to connect with them in that way.

Minty is an great read, one that for those who enjoy the more emotional books and ghosts will find themselves soaring right through. What do you think about ghosts? Do you enjoy them in books you read? Would you like to see more books from their perspective?

Not only was I able to review Minty but I also got the chance to interview the author, Christina Banach. Here's my interview: 

Hello, Thank you for answering my questions today!

1. First off, let's get to know a little about you. Tell us something that might seem strange or odd to a lot of people as well as a little bit of info on yourself.

What might seem odd is the pronunciation of my name. My Christian name is Christina but very few people manage to pronounce it correctly (I don’t blame them!). I’ve been called Christine, Christiana, Kirstine and even Charisma! So how do you pronounce Christina? The ‘ina’ rhymes with China! As for my surname – hey, maybe we shouldn’t go there. Even I have difficulty in getting my tongue round that one! Now I come to think of it, maybe I should change my name by deed poll. How does Sally Smith sound to you?

So who am I? I’m a former head teacher who resigned from my post several years ago to become a full-time writer. Minty is my first published novel. I live in Scotland, UK, with my husband and our two rescue dogs. I love to read, go for long walks on the beach, listen to music, walk, travel, and eat delicious food. Sometimes I spend too much time on Twitter.

2. Now, can you tell us more about your young adult novel, Minty?

Minty is a contemporary young adult (YA) ghost story told from the point of view of the ghost. It’s a cross between The Lovely Bones (without the grim murder!) and Ghost and is a real weepy with heart and warmth at its core. It tells the story of fourteen-year-old twins Minty and Jess. They do everything together and, although they sometimes bicker, are completely inseparable. But then a day trip to the coast puts their bond in jeopardy. As Minty tries to rescue her dog from drowning she ends up fighting for her life. Will she survive? If she doesn’t, how will Jess cope without her?

It’s about friendship, loss, and coming to terms with consequences. Above all it’s about love and hope.

The idea for the book appeared early one summer morning in 2006, just as the sun came up. During the night I thought I sensed my late father's presence, so, unable to get back to sleep, I sat in the sunroom contemplating what had actually happened. While doing this I heard my dog panting and put out my hand to stroke her. Until I remembered – my pet had died the month before. That's when Minty's story came to me. 

3. Did you have difficulty writing some of the scenes?

Not difficulty as such, although I did find some of the scenes very emotional to write – even eight drafts later, when it came to the final proofread.

4   Did you do extensive research on Roman history in order to include the information or was it something that you had an interest in before?

I touched upon ancient Roman culture when I was at university. I’ve also visited Rome, and various Roman sites in Europe, throughout the years. However, I never set out to add a Roman element to the book. The twins’ Roman obsession became apparent once their characters began to evolve.

5. Do you work using an outline or just write what comes to mind?

Am I a plotter or a pantser? Good question! I’m a bit of both, I reckon. Once I decide to run with an idea, and the characters have entered the stage, I plunge into the research – surfing the Net, reading books, going on field trips etc – taking copious notes as I go along. Once I have enough material I do a lot of brainstorming on character and plot: thinking of scenes, exploring character arc, considering the structure and so on. I always know how the book will start and how it will end. Or so I think…that’s when the pantser part of me comes to the fore, because once I actually begin the first draft anything could happen. The important thing for me is to get that first draft written, and if it deviates from all my carefully thought-out plans, so be it. It’s all about telling the story that demands to be told.

6. What can we expect from you in the future?

Lots, I hope. I have several stories on the back burner but my next project is another contemporary YA novel. It’s a ghost story-come-psychological thriller and, so far, has been a blast to write.

Thanks for letting me stop by your blog, Aly! It was fun!

Thank you for your time! I look forward to seeing what you come out with in the future!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the lovely review and Q&A session, Aly. It was a pleasure to feature on your blog.


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