The Coolhunt

April 13, 2011
I woke up this morning inside my book.
Let me explain.

I wrote a Middle-Grade book called 'Mac Slater vs. The City' and it's set in New York. It's out this week. I wrote it in a small beach town on the other side of the world. East Coast Australia. An ex-hippy town called Byron Bay.

For research and inspiration I used photos and video and mad jottings from a previous visit to NYC years before. Before I ever knew I'd write a book, let alone one set in New York. I used dozens of books on NY and Google Maps Street View and the Times Square live webcams to make me feel close to the city as I wrote.

And in some wild act of synchronicity the book and its predecessor, 'Mac Slater Hunts the Cool' found a New York publisher.

Now, here I am, drinking Starbucks, watching amazing (and not so amazing) skaters on the Rockefeller Centre ice rink as I write this to you. And I'm about to embark on my own NYC coolhunt and retrace the steps of my character, Mac Slater.

So I woke up this morning inside my book.

And it felt good.

The Beverly Hillbillies and Telling the Story From the Inside Out

May 25, 2010
I tend to start with a story idea and I find the character as I write. I know that ‘real writers’ are supposed to start with characters and then discover the story. That sometimes happens for me but, mostly, the characters reveal themselves to me over time. I have a friend, an excellent writer, who says that all his young male characters start out in his mind looking like Jethro from TV show The Beverly Hillbillies then, slowly, as he writes, they de-Jethrofy themselves. I don’t have the Jethro problem but my characters certainly start out 2D and then, at a certain point, I realise that they’re alive. I can feel them. I can tell the story as if I am the character, from the inside out, and it’s the best feeling in the world. Well, one of them. If you have a thought on character development you can leave a comment on my blog over at



The Vision Board

April 29, 2010
The Vision Board is an amazing creative tool. I have a folder that sits on my desktop and when I see an image that I like on the web I just drag and drop it in there. I have a general life Vision Board full of inspirational images that drive me. Then I have a Board for each creative project. The Vision Board was incredibly useful in the writing of my Middle-Grade novel, Mac Slater Hunts the Cool (out April 6). Mac Slater is an inventor and a Coolhunter. The books are crammed with new inventions, ideas, technology, forms of transport, clothes and creativity. Every time I found an image that looked like something Mac would love I’d drop it in the Vision Board folder and those pictures kind of wrote the book for me. They gave me little character details, invention ideas, they helped create the flying bike that Mac builds with his best friend Paul. Those pictures built the world of my story so that it felt 3D and real to me. You can check out some pics from my Vision Board on my blog post: ‘5 Things I’m Loving Right Now’ at

Why Writers Write

March 17, 2010
In my book, Mac Slater Hunts the Cool (out April) Mac is trying to work out what ‘cool’ is,whether it matters, and if he cares about it. He finds something on ‘Flow’ onthe web. ‘Flow’ is that feeling when you’re so involved in what you’re doingthat the rest of the world melts away. You forget about time. I was speaking toa friend on the weekend, Gus Gordon, a talented author / illustrator, and hetried to capture why he writes and he explained this exact feeling. Andthis is why I write, too. Every day I show up, waiting for the moment (or hour) that I‘disappear’ and my whole world becomes the story. (Check out a very cool Ted Talkon Flow by the term’s founder at: )

I hope you find Flow in whatever you're doing today.


The Importance of Noise to the Writer

December 21, 2009
Some writers need silence in order to work but music is the lifeblood of my writing. I like any kind of noise – coffee machine, traffic, general chatter, public transport, but music is the sweetest thing. I make a soundtrack for every book that I write and my new book, Mac Slater Hunts the Cool (April 2010) was written to a soundtrack of U2, Matchbox Twenty, Australian band Silverchair and French act, Phoenix. In fact, if you have itunes, you can access the soundtrack to the second Mac book at: The pace of this music drives me through my writing day. The soundtrack changes with every book but, generally, I like big, anthemic pop / rock stuff, something with a real build. It’s better once I know the lyrics to a song and then I no longer get distracted by them. It’s just a presence. I get into Flow and the hours fly by when the right music is in my ‘phones. If you’re stuck and you want to get writing, I recommend creating a book soundtrack. Merry Christmas. May you be well and happy. Tristan.

Hi From Tristan Bancks

November 11, 2009
Hi, I’m author of the upcoming MAC SLATER HUNTS THE COOL (April 2010). It’s the first in a fast-moving series for middle-graders about a kooky inventor kid who gets offered a job as a Coolhunter. The story is a collision of my love of filmmaking, the web, New York City, the beach, wild inventions, flying and the idea of staying true to your gut in spite of the plans that other people have for you. I'll be posting here regularly over the next few months so I hope you check in. This week I’ll be seeing Mac Slater performed live onstage in Melbourne, Australia, thanks to the State Library of Victoria. Should be fun! Have a great week. Tristan.