L.A. Banks
March 14, 2009
About L.A. Banks:  recipient of the 2008 Essence Storyteller
of the Year award has written over 30 novels and
contributed to 10 novellas, thus far, in multiple genres under
various pseudonyms. She mysteriously shape-shifts
between the genres of romance, women's fiction,
crime/suspense thrillers, and of course, paranormal lore. A
graduate of The University of Pennsylvania Wharton
undergraduate program with a Master's in Fine Arts from
Temple University, one never knows how or when this
enigma will appear… her forms are many, her secrets of
crossing genres vast, and she does this with her teenaged
daughter and her black Lab from some remote, undisclosed
lair in Philadelphia.
Post Meeting Write-up

A large crowd gathered Saturday, 3/14/09, for this month's
Face the Fiction featuring national bestseller L.A. Banks.  
Those that attended were rewarded with an excellent
presentation and a fantastic time!  
Ms. Banks must have
also had a good time because she's already told us she
would come back any time - she may be sorry she said that -
lol.

Ms. Banks opened her presentation by telling the group
about how she got her start and explained why her first
book in the
Vampire Huntress series ended the way it did
(
Todd was most relieved).  We found it was a 10 year
journey to finally get to write the vampire books she
originally wanted to write.  Before that Leslie wrote romance
and suspense.  When the time became right for a vampire
series, she was ready to go and the series took off beyond
her and her editors dreams!  In fact, Leslie informed the
audience that a manga prequel is in the works, a series of
graphics, a YA series (much toned down) and
downloadables.  When she mentioned a YA series and
suggested it would be toned down a lot,
Thom thought it
would be a great idea to not!  He told Ms. Banks that
controversy would sell the books like hot cakes.  

Ms. Banks talked about how she does the research for her
various characters/demons and the like.  She described her
research as an eclectic mix.  She watches much TV and
incorporates aspects of what she views from the
news/science channels/movies.  She uses religious text and
always makes sure to be accurate.  In addition, she uses
lore, myth, history and current events.  During her
description of research, we discovered that
Leslie is a big
fan of the TV show
Future Weapons - she loves it!  She often
references the show for weapons used in her stories.  
Ms.
Banks
also told us she uses a lot of nature/animal programs
to write her vampire series.  She described how one
inspirational moment struck her:  she was watching a nature
program about lions.  She noticed that the male lion sat
around doing nothing while the females went out for dinner.  
She was describing the female lions trying to take down a
bison and getting the stuffing knocked out of them.  She is
acting out the whole scenario (it was hilarious), she's
dragging her foot like an injured lioness telling us that they
finally drag this big old beast back and the male, who did
nothing, jumps in for firsts dibs.  At that moment, she knew
this was the perfect way to have the vampire hierarchy
arranged.  She added that in classic vampire stories there's
always the "Hugh Hefner vampire and his stable of sex
kitten vampirettes."

Up next was an explanation of her various pseudonyms.  
Leslie shared with us that she writes under so many
different names because the fans of each of the genres she
writes under want that specific genre and if they pick up a
book with her name expecting vampires and got straight up
romance, they'd be disappointed.  It's all about the
marketing.

My personal favorite was finding out that Leslie is a fan of
the cheesy horror movie!  Yes, vindication!  She admitted to
loving those cheesy
SciFi Channel (oops, 'scyfy') movies on
Saturdays!  Ha ha - you may no longer mock me and my
fetish.  Even funnier was that she describes herself as the
'worlds biggest punk' - she's afraid of everything.  She made
me look positively brave ;)  We even shared a fear of clowns,
not dried leaves, but clowns for sure.

It was
Ms. Banks love of horror that made it easy to put into
reality the worlds she created and the levels and inner
workings of these worlds.  One inspiration for her various
levels/bureaucracy in her stories was
Dante's Inferno.  Very
cool.  

Ms. Banks talked about how she often employs metaphors
in her fiction to comment on societal issues that she would
not otherwise be able to comment on - gangs, politics, etc.
all get worked out in her writing.  She told us this was cheap
therapy.

We found out that
Leslie Banks went to Junior High School
with SFSNNJ member, past guest and upcoming guest as
part of our awesome zombie encounter,
Jonathan Maberry!  
Small world.  It pays to be nice to people - you never know.  
Karma baby!

Leslie opened up for questions because she could tell many
were eager to pounce.  
Mike P, Thom, Todd, Adrian, Deena, BJ,
Remi, Chris, Bill and several others immediately started a
bidding war for questions.  
Kathleen, Liz B and I sat quietly
and waited.  
Jo was busy getting video clips, I took photos.  
Amir was smart and learned from past meetings to have his
purchases made before
Todd runs block to the table, which
he did as soon as
Leslie finished and began signing.  I think
Paul and Kate were knocked out of their seats as Todd ran up
at sonic speed.  
Aurelia quietly walked up and pointed out to
Todd that she had knitting needles - he stepped to the side -
lol.  After that, the line waited until
Aurelia was done - Gene
didn't want to tangle with the knitting needles and
suggested we do the same.

We made our purchases, got our books signed, grabbed
autographed posters, some even got free swag (thank you
Leslie) and wrapped up with regret.  Kate Landis had such a
good time that she congratulated us on yet another amazing
event.  You are most welcome
Kate.  It's that kind of
gratitude that we do this for.  Thanks also to
Leslie for an
awesome night!  We look forward to seeing
Leslie again
(
Aurelia has already invited Ms. Banks to join us for a future
Suspense Central).  Our group then descended upon
Stateline Diner, where we had to broken up into several
booths, to continue the evening.