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Byline: Elizabeth Wellington
Jun. 27--L.A. Banks' story of Damali Richards, the spoken-word artist who splatters sulfuric vampire guts in Philadelphia alleys and Los Angeles nightclubs, was supposed to be one book, Minion (2003). That's all.
But Banks' publishing house, St. Martin's Press, split the coming-of-age novel about the vampire slayer Damali and her drug dealer-turned-vampire lover, Carlos Rivera, in two: The second book was called The Awakening (2004).
Readers demanded more.
So the West Philadelphia author continued on with her fast-paced saga, writing two 400-plus-page paperbacks a year. Carlos and Damali's love story took center stage, and Banks developed the interpersonal relationships of Damali's 12-member multicultural guardian team, weaving in lessons of forgiveness, faith and choice against the backdrop of fangs and fear.
"Around the time of the fourth book, The Bitten , I thought it was all gonna come to an end," Banks said, her voice on the cusp of euphoria.
"I was gonna end the series with Carlos dying... Well, chile, I was four pages from the end, my editor called me and said, 'Don't kill him! We are going to book five!' "
The seventh paperback, The Forsaken, goes on sale today, …