Tue
Aug 2 2011 4:26pm
In Remembrance of L.A. Banks, 1959-2011

Leslie Esdaile Banks, who wrote fiction under the name L. A. Banks, died this morning, Tuesday, August 2nd, from a rare and virulent form of adrenal cancer.

Leslie became a friend of mine the very first time we met. We were doing back-to-back holiday book signings at a Barnes & Noble. I was promoting Fitcher’s Brides at the time, and as any writer who’s endured this will tell you, it was amazing how instantaneously I became invisible to the Christmas shoppers. For two solid hours. When my sentence was up, I cleared my stuff from the table for the next writer. That turned out to be Leslie. She came in, absolutely larger than life, and organized to a frightening degree with posters, professionally prepared PR materials, and her books. I’d never seen anyone do book postcards before. Now you can’t avoid them.

But the first thing Leslie did was set all that stuff down and hug me. We’d never met. I was unprepared for that much open, shared joy at just being in the company of another writer. It was both disarming and infectious.

That was, and always will be, Leslie Banks.

I stayed around to talk with her and watched her do nothing more than I had done; but by the sheer warmth of her personality she drew shoppers to look her way, to come over to the table, to investigate her novels. She didn’t have to work the room. She bonded with it.

I didn’t see her again for a number of years, until another excellent writer, Jonathan Maberry, and I started tossing around the idea of assembling a group of authors to campaign collectively at book signings and book fairs and conferences. We decided to call it the Liars Club (because, as Jonathan pointed out, lying was what we do for a living). The first person he brought in was this author he knew, L. A. Banks.

Once again there was that glowing sun of pleasure, of pure delight. Being in her company, you never wanted to be out of it. That was true every single time we ever saw each other.

She was also the hardest working author I’ve ever known, constantly in motion, always traveling to promote her books, connecting up her fans to form a nationwide following for the Vampire Huntress series. Nine times out of ten when the Liars Club had business to discuss and emails were traded, we would all receive an auto-response from Leslie that she was (a) traveling somewhere to promote a book; or (b) on deadline and not reading emails right now.

I suspect if I sent her an email today, that’s what I would get back: “I’m busy and not able to read emails at this time.”

The Liars Club is putting on a benefit for her this Saturday in Philadelphia to raise money to help with her catastrophic medical expenses. I’m creating a poster for it and have spent some hours going through photos, trying to find some we could use. But in virtually every shot Leslie seems to be squinting...because she’s laughing so much. All that joy. That’s Leslie.

25 comments
James Goetsch
1. Jedikalos
What a lovely tribute to your friend. Thank you for sharing it.
Katlen
2. Katlen
So beautifully written! Leslie and her family
will be in our prayers.
Katlen
3. Jodyth
She was a Guest of Honor at a convention I worked at last year and I had the privilege of interviewing her. I have never met a smarter, warmer, funnier, talented human being.
Charlie Athanas
4. Charlie_Athanas
This is difficult to write, because my eyes are still misty. I would imagine all well-written tributes to Leslie would read this way. Beautiful job. Leslie was a shining light at every level - as an author, a mother, and a friend. Always supportive, always inclusive and always creative. I miss her terribly.
Katlen
5. Marie Lamba
Warm and giving. That was and always will be Leslie. Thanks, Greg, for this.

Marie
Katlen
6. Adrienne King
Thank you for your beautiful tribute. Leslie truly was all of what you have said and then some.

President
Leslie Esdaile Banks FanClub
Greg Lincoln
7. glshade
I read a some.of her books and enjoyed them quite a bit it saddens me to read of her struggle and discomfort.... I recalled the fun in her stories whenever I saw LA Banks on the cover while browsing the bookshops....
Katlen
8. Chris Hower
Greg, what a warm & loving tribute. Please extend my deepest sympathy to Leslie's family, her extended family (the Liars Club), and her many other friends. You are all in my thoughts.

Chris
Katlen
9. PoetryIsMyPassion
I am so glad I got the opportunity to experience Ms. Banks through her words. Her words inspired me. The few times she responded to me through social networks I will treasure. Beautiful tribute, I will continue to send positive thoughts to her loved ones, especially her daughter.
Katlen
10. RobinM
I've only known Leslie Banks through her work and am sorry I'll never get to know her as person. This was a lovely tribute and I offer my condolences to her family, friends and fans alike. Where ever she is I'm sure she's having a good time and encouraging everyone else to join in while she waits for her loved ones.
Katlen
11. Sharon Hickman
Ms. Leslie E. Banks will truly be missed. I have loved her writings for years. But for all of us VHL'ers We will look to the light...she lives on in our hearts forever. Prayers to and for her daughter and family.
Katlen
12. Julia Sullivan
This is terribly sad news. My condolences to everyone who knew and loved Ms. Banks, both as a woman and as a writer. Thank you for sharing this here.
Katlen
13. Gayle Jackson Sloan
Beautiful. Just BEAUTIFUL. Just like Leslie. I am DEVASTATED by her passing.
Katlen
14. Derek Tatum
I had the good fortune to meet and work with Leslie, and while I hadn't talked to her in a while, I've always held her in the highest esteem. She always wanted her fiction to help make the world a better place. This is a very tragic day, but your remembrance perfectly encapsulates her warmth. RIP.
Carrie Vaughn
15. Carrie_Vaughn
Leslie blurbed my first book, and when we finally met in person, just before a panel at DragonCon, she gave me a big joyous hug, too. I had so much fun on that panel with her.

Heartbroken today...
Katlen
16. Diane Sismour
Leslie's hugs and smiles radiated life itself and she will be sadly missed my so many.
Katlen
17. Patti Kerr
This is beautiful, Greg. It's not only a beautiful rememberance of an amazing woman but it also captures the essence of who she was and how we, who were blessed to know her, will always remember her ~ full of live, joy and love.
Katlen
18. Solomon Jones
Leslie was a great mentor, a good friend, and she had a generous spirit. A magnificent lady who I'll miss terribly.
Katlen
19. Lynn E. Cohen Koehler
She was a wonderful person.

I'll miss her.
Katlen
20. bigalOSU
For many years I refused to read books written by women. It wasn't due to a misogynistic agenda or anything remotely sexist, but simply because I could never relate to characters written by female authors that I had previously read. With the exception of Margaret Weis's Dragonlance novels and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, I avoided female authors for more than a decade. One day about 6 years ago I was at the library scouring the shelves for a new book to try my luck at and everything seemed underwhelming or a carbon copy of other books that I previously read. I remember picking up The Awakening or Minion and laughing at the "romance-novel-look" of the cover. I don't know what made me read the summary, but it made me want to take a chance and I'm glad I did. The Vampire Huntress series was a great read and completely changed my closed-minded view of who I should read and why. Leslie made me realize that I was closing myself off from so many great authors just because I had a few bad experiences with ones that just happened to be the same gender.
I was going through my cd collection several years back and put in an old favorite by a NY rapper named Chino-XL. When the lyrics broke in for Ghetto Vampire all I could think about was the Neteru squad and I felt compelled to email the lyrics to Leslie. I was shocked to see that she replied to my email in less than a day and even more surprised to see that she loved the song and that it had "awoken her Muse". Since then I scoured every book she wrote in hopes of finding a reference to the song.
Emailing with her was great and I'm glad I had the chance to tell her how she inspired me to be more open-minded. She was such a nice woman and a great author and I am very sad that she was taken from the world at such a young age. You will be missed Leslie.
Peace.
Katlen
21. Linda Addison
You have captured in this writeup the way Leslie was with everyone who met her I'm betting. It was the same with me, meeting her when she had a mass of work out there and finding myself bought into her energy by a hug. She knew how to listen. Her compassion was off the scale amazing. I will miss her laugh, her voice, her hug.
Katlen
22. Jacqueline Turner Banks
A beautiful tribute to a beautiful person. Rest in peace L.A. Banks
Katlen
23. Frances Conwell
My condolences to her family, friends, and fans.
It was a blessing to meet Leslie. She had a good spirit, and shared her talent and joy of life with others.
I will always remember her smile as she hugged President Barack Obama, and her comments as she spoke about the experience.
Rest in Peace my Sister.
Katlen
24. Kercelia
I am stunned by this news. Ms. Banks loss to the fans of her work will be deeply felt.
Katlen
25. Jaimie Irwin
I remember some time in 2012 I wrote LA BANKS emails and she was so kind to write back so for that week we emailed eachother back and forth she's one of my favorite authors I have all her books on the vampire huntress I made sure I brought with me from Nevada to California. I just found out she died myvheart goes out to her editor, publisher, and family I'm a coming up writer and I asked her advice and she gave it to me. Now that I know one of my favorite authors is now with our lord I'm taking her advice to heart so wherever you are LA Banks THANK YOU AND I'LL MISS YOU...

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