Banbury author’s success down under

Banbarian Aly Bannister has released her first children's book. Picture: Chloe Fraser NNL-181220-110213001
Banbarian Aly Bannister has released her first children's book. Picture: Chloe Fraser NNL-181220-110213001

A Banbury born and raised writer has had her first children’s book published, marking another chapter in a colourful life.

Aly Bannister, nee Donaghy, was born in Banbury, in 1970 to Irish parents, Sam and Sadie Donaghy.

Aly was the oldest of four children having two sisters Anne and Sarah and younger brother Sam, known in Banbury as Sam the Flower Man.

She began making some pocket money by working on the Banbury Market at just 10 years old and continued to do so into her teenage years.

Aly attended BGN school, leaving at 16 with little in the way of academic success, despite an untapped creative flair and bucket loads of ambition and drive.

After a succession of office jobs Aly decided to leave the UK in 2001 on a cruise ship.

Aly said: “I began working as the on-board jeweller even though I had never sold a gemstone in my life. But I was a quick learner and set myself regular goals.

“I learnt my trade by reading a copious number of jewellery and gemstone books and writing my presentations for the next day, presenting my wares to rich American passengers.”

On Valentine’s Day 2003 Aly met her husband to be, Jason, and within three months they were married.

The couple had three sons who would become the reason for Aly to start writing children’s stories. The family currently lives in Perth, Australia.

Aly said: “In this world of iPads and Xboxes, streaming on demand, TVs and podcasts, I felt it was essential that I started to write again.

“I wanted to capture the attention of my children in a fun atmosphere and create joy and laughter together in a family setting, away from the gadgets.”

Her children provided the impetus to write again but her own childhood, growing up with Irish parents, would become the inspiration.

Aly said: “ I had not written for many years, so thought it was time to put pen to paper and create a lovable Irish character that my boys, and children of all ages around the world could relate to and enjoy, all whilst drawing parents and children together to share in a piece of the mischief and giggles.”

She added: “At heart, I am still that rebellious child relishing the thought of getting up to mischief.”

Johnny the Leprechaun – Breaking School Rules! is the first in an initial collection of four children’s books. The official book launch will be March 17, although it is available from Amazon now.

Aly said: “Each book has been written with Irish pride in my heart, and a glint in my eye. Every book contains a generous sprinkling of rebellion all wrapped up in the form of Johnny the Leprechaun.”