A Fifer who turned her back on a successful teaching career has opened a new chapter in her life.
Christina Banach, of Lochgelly, who left her job as headteacher at Moncreiffe Primary in Perth, is following her long held dream of becoming a published author.
Christina’s inspiration was her late father Roy, who always encouraged her love of writing from a young age.
His gift of a laptop shortly before he died, coinciding with a period of her own ill health, prompted Christina to take stock of her life.
With the support of husband Edward she took the decision to become a full-time writer in 2006.
“I was thinking about it for a while, since I started to write, because once bitten by the bug that was that,” she said.
“Then my father died and he was a great champion of my writing.”
“A lot of my friends in education had died and I thought wait a minute, who is to say when I come to 60 I have time to write?”
Then her “amazing” husband gave her all the encouragement she needed, in three words.
Now, several years on she has landed a publishing deal for her debut novel, Minty.
Fife features heavily in her book with Ruby Bay in Elie the setting for a tragic teenage drowning which sets the scene for a tale that touches on universal themes of love and loss, hope and redemption.
Drawing on her experiences and her love of dogs, the story of 14-year-old Minty and her identical twin, Jess, began to take form.
Written to appeal to young adults, the book has drawn rave reviews.
It took more than four years to find a publisher for Minty, with Christina landing a deal earlier last year with a new company, London-based Three Hares Publishing.
Co-publisher Helen Bryant said: “I’ve had my eye on Christina as a writer for a while.
“When the opportunity arose for Three Hares Publishing to acquire Minty as a lead title I felt like she’d come home.
“Minty is one of the most moving books I’ve read in a long time. “
Christina said her new career is hard work and she has to deal with her harshest critic herself.
“Closing my ears to my inner critic the goblin of self-doubt that perches on my shoulder and tells me that everything I write is rubbish is hugely challenging,” she said.
It is also more time consuming than many full-time jobs she writes six days a week.
“But I appreciate how lucky I am,” she said. “A number of my former colleagues are retiring and here I am starting a completely new career And I am absolutely loving it.”
Christina has already taken her book to schools and is looking forward to doing so again when the new term starts, with a number of dates already in the diary.
Meanwhile she is working on her next book, a contemporary ghost story/psychological thriller, set mainly in Glencoe.
Although primarily a piece of fiction, it is written to entertain while exploring some topical, and somewhat controversial, issues.
She aims to have the final draft completed by the end of this year.