Intimate Conversation with L. A. Banks


Intimate Conversation with Literary Legend L. A. Banks
Hosted by Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group

L. A. Banks  is the recipient of the 2009 Romantic Times Booklover's Career Choice Award for Paranormal Fiction as well as the 2008 Essence Storyteller of the Year award. Ms. Banks has written over 42 novels and contributed to 12 novellas, in multiple genres under various pseudonyms.

She is a proud member of The Liars Club, and a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania Wharton undergraduate program with a Master's in Fine Arts from Temple University. Ms. Banks is a full-time writer living/working in Philadelphia.
EDC:  You are a true literary legend! We love your work. What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
LEB: I think one's power comes from a depth of experience and living life -- and that's my well as a writer, because I've lived a lot of life and have had a lot of experiences to draw from to help make my characters feel real. People can relate to the emotions felt by my characters, whether the story is a realistic romance or a truly supernatural, paranormal tale. Even though what I write is fiction, the emotions that I write about are always grounded in reality.

EDC: How much of what you write reflects on your outlook on life?
LEB: About 99.99% of what I write I also believe in. I write about good winning over evil (even though I may not believe in real vampires, per se)... but we've all seen "vampire acting people" who suck the life out of others via their negative behaviors, as well as people who do horribly demonic things to one another. But through whatever tragedies we see in the media or within our communities, most of us pray that good will come out victorious in the end. I also believe in love and I definitely believe in Divine Intervention. If you scratch the surface of any tale I tell, it's all in there.

EDC: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
LEB: My mentors were those old aunties and grandmothers in my family, as well as my dad... all of whom are gone now. They inspired me, because in my generation I had opportunities open to me that they'd only dreamed of--and that's also why I cannot waste a second of that good fortune. I view it as a responsibility, and I know that I stand on some very strong black shoulders.

EDC: What do you think of the increasingly gratuitous sex in African American literature?
LEB: The increasingly gratuitous sex makes me weary, truth be told. I like a good love scene as much as anybody, and a well crafted on set in context, is a part of life and therefore shouldn't be ommitted from the story. But when you have people jumping into unnecessary and crazy situations simply for sensationalism without moving the plot forward, it feels forced and trite. Once you've gone there as a writer, to me, you've lost the element of the craft. People are grown and I don't believe in censorship... but I do believe in truth in advertising. If it's erotica, or dare I say porn, then call it that--but don't try to sell it to me as a mystery or a thriller or whatever. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a damned duck.

EDC: What three elements complete a formula for Happiness, Success or Freedom?
LEB: The three elements in my mind are as follows: The first thing you need is a strong spiritual base--because life will test and try you, and in order to stand firm and to have gratitude in your attitude, you have got to have a foundation (a rock); secondly, you have to surround yourself with positive, like-minded people that are forward-moving individuals (because drama people and negative influences can wear you down); and lastly, you have to put in the good, old-fashioned hard work. Remember the saying, "Faith without works is dead?" Yeah. That's pure truth. Wishing and hoping ain't gonna do it. You have to be willing to constantly learn and grow and do.

EDC: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
LEB: My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... that they might be able to break the stereotypical bonds of literature that only show African Americans in a few dimensions of all that we are and are capable of being -- from our rich history to our astounding bravery and creativity, until we might even dream of being super heroes and heroines again. My work allows us to step into supernatural realms or to love each other hard and full and deep in my romances, or to solve crimes and get away like James Bond... and always shows "us" as intelligent and sexy and honorable.

EDC: Introduce us to your literary series and a few of the main characters.
LEB: I have several series that I am working on--one is The Vampire Huntress Legends, where a young woman and her family fight evil (Damali is NOT a vampire--smile.); I have a werewolf series, entitled, The Crimson Moon Novels (and Sasha is a supernatural, but not a werewolf and is good.); and I have dozens of romances. All of it can be seen at:  or  and   I have also just started a young adult series at  and on all the sites there are detailed excerpts and book explanations.

EDC: Who are your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
LEB: Of all my characters, Damali and Carlos are my favs, because they represent the young people I knew and was to some degree, growing up "around the way." Damali is a blend of my sister, me, and my female cousins and girlfriends... hot-tempered, secure, insecure, passionate, scared, brave, mature, immature--all of it at the same time.

EDC: What role do you give the "mean-spirited" characters? Do you have such characters?
LEB: I give my "mean spirited" characters the role we see of decadent, powerful people who do destructive things because they can and for profit. I take those personalities from the predators we see ripped from the headlines--or people we have seen that destroy communities and families.

EDC: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
LEB: My books, except for the new young adult series that I just started, are for mature readers (NC 17 rated with mature scenes, sex, violence and language)... but my work is multicultural in nature and I have as many male readers as female readers of all ethnic backgrounds.

EDC: How will reading your books shape the reader's lives?
LEB: I'm not sure how my work will shape a reader's life, but I always hope that my work touches something within him or her and makes that person think.

EDC: Why are your books so different from others in the same genre?
LEB: My series deal very seriously with matters of spirituality as well as make social commentary within the paranormal genre in a way that you rarely see. Most writers in the paranormal genre tend to leave religion and spirituality out of it. My work also thoroughly embraces multiculturalism in a way others do not.

EDC: Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.
LEB: My latest project is that The Vampire Huntress Legends series has now gone to comics--which is a thrill for me as a female author. In addition, I have a new multicultural young adult series coming out in March 2011, entitled, Shadow Walker--which is a paranormal tale about the children of the heroes and sheroes from the 12 book Vampire Huntress Legends.

EDC: Thank you so much for this interview! How can our readers reach you online?
LEB: You are welcome. It's my pleasure to share my journey with the readers!

Leslie (aka L.A. Banks)!

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
RT Career Choice Award for Paranormal Fiction
Winner of the 2008 Essence Magazine Storyteller of the Year Award

PROUD Member of The Liars Club,

On Twitter: LA_Banks
On Face Book: Leslie Esdaile Banks
Join the Leslie Esdaile Banks Fan Club on Yahoo!


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