authors, interviews

Meet the author: Tristan Bancks

Tristan Bancks (photo Amber Melody)MEET THE AUTHOR

Tristan Bancks tells stories for the page and screen. His books for kids and teens include Two WolvesThe Fall and the Tom Weekly series. Tristan is currently working with producers to develop several of his books for the screen. His latest book is Nit Boy, which is illustrated by Heath McKenzie. 

From the publisher:

Meet Lewis Snow. He has the worst case of nits in world history. Everyone wants him to shave his head. But Lewis thinks of his nits as pets. He’s determined to keep his hair and his nits, whatever it takes.

Ned lives on Lewis’s head. He’s the first-ever jumping nit. His dad wants Ned to help nits take over the world. But Ned likes it on Lewis’s head. Ned’s vegan and hates the taste of human blood.

And you thought you had problems.

Nit Boy by Tristan Bancks and illustrated by Heath McKenzieOkay … how much scratching did you do while you were writing Nit Boy?
I scratched my head till it was raw. It’s so weird how reading or writing about itchy things makes humans need to scratch. I love reading Nit Boy chapters to kids at events just to see the ocean of scratchers in the audience.

Nit Boy is fiction and features headlice and fleas as characters, plus some quick quizzes for readers. How did you go about your nit/flea research?
I watched disgusting YouTube videos of nits feeding on kids’ scalps and presenters like Michael Mosely giving themselves head lice on purpose for the sake of science. I considered doing this but I had young kids at home, so I didn’t need to try to get nits. I had them anyway. I also read everything I could and I tried to remember what it was like having nits as a kid and having my deputy principal pick through my hair with a razor-sharp lead pencil.

Jumping competition! Who wins: Ned the-first-jumping-nit or Sahaj the flea?
Sahaj is an elderly flea and his knees aren’t what they used to be, so he mainly walks these days. Ned has been genetically engineered to be the world’s first-ever jumping nit, so I’d say Ned definitely wins the jump-off!

Do you have a writing tip for young writers?
It’s more of a challenge than a tip. Try writing a story from the point-of-view of a non-human character. So, a nit or a flea or a cicada or a dog or a guinea pig or a lion. It’s fun and takes lots of imagination to put yourself inside the perspective of another creature. It’s a good one for the Book Week theme of ‘Curious Creatures, Wild Minds’, too!

Can you tell us a bit about your next writing project? 
My great great uncle, Jimmy Bancks, created a comic strip called Ginger Meggs in 1921. It’s now Australia’s longest-running comic strip, in newspapers all over the country, every day. I’m writing a 100th anniversary book of short stories for release in 2021! It’s a project I’ve dreamed of for many years and I love telling stories with the characters. My Tom Weekly books and Nit Boy have been great training for tackling Ginger Meggs. I’d love to write another Nit Boy book, too.

Nit Boy is available from bookstores and libraries now!


Watch the book trailer:

How to draw Ned the Nit (YouTube video)

Read Chapter 1 of Nit Boy

Click here for Teachers Notes 

Visit Tristan Bancks’s website for more about him and his books!