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.