Storytime for Grownups – Author Spotlight: Gwen Banta, Author – The Fly Strip, Inside Sam Lerner, With Wanton Disregard

In cooperation with Waldorf Publishing, we are pleased to continue our Author Profiles series. The next author in the series is Gwen Banta.

How did you get your start in the literary world? The funniest thing that has happened in my career is when a reader asked me if I had ever spoken to Richard Nixon (mentioned in The Fly Strip) after he died. Uh, no – that would be a hard negative.

Can you tell us a little more about what you do?  As a day job, I am a real estate agent for Sotheby’s International Realty in Los Angeles. Many of my clients are music celebs. I think their creativity rubs off on me. They are often a great source of inspiration.

What is your favorite part about being an author? My favorite part of being an author is the rich internal life that writing provides. I am never alone because my characters are always speaking to me. (No, I am not on medication for this and I seldom wear a tin foil hat!)

 How do you get your inspiration? One of my greatest sources of inspiration is reading. Other stories stimulate my imagination and motivate me to write. I think it was Stephen King who said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

Of all the characters you’ve created, which one would you like to see come alive on the silver screen? The character I would love to see come alive on screen is seventeen-year-old Weed Clapper from my novel, The Fly Strip, which takes place during the racial and social turmoil of 1960. His coming-of-age story is both hilarious and poignant. Weed is a lovable but troubled genius. 

What is the funniest thing to happen to you in your career? The funniest thing that has happened in my career is when a reader asked me if I had ever spoken to Richard Nixon (mentioned in The Fly Strip) after he died. Uh, no – that would be a hard negative.

Can you tell us a bit about your book? My book has been described by one critic as The Catcher in the Rye meets The Help. Another critic said the ambiance was similar to To Kill a Mockingbird. Whereas I would never be so presumptuous (or delusional) to include my name in the same sentence as those authors, I think the comparisons are at least a good description of storyline and time period. Seventeen-year-old Weed Clapper’s journey to manhood and his painful struggle to deal with racial and social challenges is told from his wry and intelligent perspective in the way that Holden Caulfield documents his story. The setting—rural Indiana in 1960—is the same time period depicted in To Kill a Mockingbird.

What is your next big project? My newest novel, Inside Sam Lerner, will be published this summer. It is a departure for me, as it is a different genre than The Fly Strip. It is a thriller that takes place in current day New Orleans. The mysterious and dark overtones of the novel and the intriguing setting work well for a crime drama. The story follows an ex-L.A. Detective who becomes involved in the investigation of missing escorts. It is full of plot twists and will keep the reader guessing until the end. Thus far, the reviews have been very positive, thank God!

Anything else you’d like to add? The only thing I would add is that authors are forever grateful to our readers. The written word elevates us all and enriches our lives. Every book you read is a silent conversation with the author. And every author sends a silent, “Thank you.”

 

Several of the books published through Waldorf Press can be found at your local library. The Palm Beach County Library System has dozens of electronic books, printed books – both novels & non-fiction, audiobooks, and DVDs or Blu-ray discs to help you understand how powerful reading can be! Travel to your closest branch or find them on the web!