New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Leslie Esdaile Banks, also known as L.A. Banks, lost her battle with adrenal cancer and died last Tuesday morning, August 2. She was 51.
Banks has penned over 40 novels and 12 novellas in a wide range of genres and is the recipient of the 2009 Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention Career Achievement Award for Paranormal Fiction and the 2008 Essence Magazine Storyteller of the Year Award, as well as the 2008 Best 50 Women in Business Award for the State of Pennsylvania. She was a featured speaker on the HBO Special on Vampire Literature and Legends as a prelude to the True Blood cable series premiere.
Former Daily News columnist and author Solomon Jones said that Leslie “was a mentor, always willing to help. You don’t see that a lot among authors. She was also helpful to me on the business side. She was very familiar with the business world and that helped with her success.
A native of Philadelphia, Banks is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania Wharton undergraduate program, and alumnae of Temple University’s Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking program. She writes under the pseudonyms; L.A. Banks, Leslie Esdaile, Leslie E. Banks, Leslie Banks, and Leslie Esdaile Banks. She has won several business as well as literary awards, and writes in genres as diverse as romance, women’s fiction, crime suspense, and paranormal.
She has contributed to magazines, newspaper columns, and has written commercial fiction for a variety of major publishers: St. Martin’s Press, Simon and Schuster, Harlequin, Kensington Publishing, BET/Arabesque, Dark Horse Press, Genesis Press, Parker Publishing, Harper, and Tor. Her non-fiction work includes the riveting and motivational story of Bank’s life journey in her contribution to the ‘Chicken Soup for the African American Soul’ anthology.
Banks’ writing career took a new twist when she won the coveted contract with Paramount/Showtime in collaboration with Simon & Schuster/Pocketbooks to write a book series for the popular cable network television series, Soul Food.
Banks was also contracted to write the Universal Studios/Dark Horse Press novelization of the movie, Scarface, which takes a look at the main character Tony Montana’s life two years before he emigrated from Cuba to American in 1978. In addition, Banks penned a four-book crime thriller for Kensington/Dafina, beginning with Betrayal of the Trust, under her alternate pseudonym, Leslie Esdaile Banks.
From there, Banks transitioned into another hot genre, the world of paranormal fiction, where she has penned a 12 book Vampire Huntress Legend series under the pseudonym, L.A. Banks, for St. Martin’s Press, as well as a hot new werewolf series, Crimson Moon novels (a six book series.) Banks had also moved into ebooks with Red Rose Publishing, graphic novels, comics, manga and even a new YA, entitled, Shadow Walker, for her thriving Vampire Huntress Legends series, as well as a young adult paranormal series that is under development.
Ms. Banks is survived by her daughter Helena and her sister Lisa Peterson as well as the rest of her family, friends, colleagues and many fans. In lieu of flowers, she requested that contributions be made to the United Negro College Fund.
A memorial service for Leslie Esdaile Banks will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, Aug. 13, at Holy Apostle and the Mediator Episcopal Church, located at 51st and Spruce streets in Philadelphia. Banks’ writing group, the Liar’s Club, will host an event in honor of her Saturday at 7 PM at Smokey Joe’s Bar, 208 S. 40th St. Tickets are $20. Advance tickets are available at http://labanks.eventbrite.com.