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About Angela
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Author's Note

I would like to extend my thanks to those who have read and enjoyed my book and have taken the time to share their thoughts with me. One of the greatest compliments I have received from readers has been their insistence that such a place as Atterley plantation must have existed, and that The Fruits of Atterley’s main characters are surely derived from real people resurrected from South Carolina’s past. On the contrary, my descriptions of Atterley are based upon a compilation of many antebellum Low Country rice plantations I have researched, rather than on any one in particular.

As much as my literary creations have become real people to me, as far as I am aware, there never was a Gus or Promise, a Hannah or Rebecca, a Zachary or Sir Henry, as they are presented within the pages of this novel. Except for fictionalized accounts of men who were central figures in South Carolina history prior to the Civil War, such as politician Robert Hayne and prominent rice planters John Middleton and Robert Allston, my characters are solely a product of my imagination and of my intense fascination with the complexities of human nature and motivation.

To provide a realistic backdrop for my story, I studied the diaries of South Carolina planters and plantation mistresses, numerous historical documents, and slave narratives. I attempted, as best I could, to remain objective in my portrayal of the South Carolina slaveholders. To characterize them as simply villainous, incapable of human emotion or conscience, and thus vastly different from us, would have been far too simplistic and comfortable, both for me and for others. To weave a believable story that promoted understanding and encouraged self-examination was a far greater challenge. How well I have succeeded in this objective remains for the readers to determine for themselves.

 

Biography

Angela Banks was born in Rochester, New York and grew up in Texas. She attended college at the University of Texas at Austin and obtained an undergraduate degree in Business Management. Angela then enrolled in the University of Texas School of Law, and after receiving her law degree she was admitted to the Texas bar.

It was during her time in law school that Angela began writing The Fruits of Atterley. In 2003 she started Golden-Banks Publishing, LLC and released a self-published edition of her novel. Angela currently lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband Greyson and son Ronan.

 

Author FAQs

Q. How did you decide to become a writer?
Unlike some authors I’ve spoken with, I didn’t grow up with a burning desire to write. I did read a great many books as a child, but I don’t remember writing any fanciful short stories or poems scribbled on scraps of paper. I didn’t even have the discipline to keep a journal. Even as a little girl I remember wanting to be a lawyer—a lawyer or a mermaid, actually—and when I realized that the chances of me sprouting a tail and keeping my hair from kinking up under water were pretty slim, I settled on becoming an attorney.

The summer before I started law school I was going through a difficult time and had come to believe that there was nothing particularly valuable or special about me. This may sound strange, but I was at work, sitting at my desk, when I suddenly had an overwhelming desire to write. I remember taking out a pad of paper as the ideas came, and I began jotting down notes, right then and there. That was the moment when I believe I became a writer. In The Fruits of Atterley’s Acknowledgements I write that it was God “who visited me at my lowest ebb and gave me the gift of writing to prove I was loved” and I believe with all of my heart that that’s what happened to me.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for The Fruits of Atterley?
Although the election of Barack Obama demonstrates how much we have grown as a nation, whether people want to admit it or not, we are not truly “one nation under God”. That was the original vision for this county, but I believe it has yet to become a reality. Obama illustrated this point so beautifully in his speech on race, “A More Perfect Union”. You need only visit the average American church on a Sunday morning to see just how segregated, by choice, we still remain. Whenever a racially-charged issue arises, the majority of us quickly divide into two opposing camps based on the color of our skin. I have been guilty of this myself.

I began questioning how this whole mess got started in the first place and came to the conclusion that the fruits of prejudice we see in American society today are the result of the seeds planted during slavery. I decided to write a story revisiting that time in our nation’s history to see what I could uncover. We have earnestly tried to address the problem through the laws and the courts, but the roots of American racism are deep, and I am convinced that true change will not occur unless it first takes place in the hearts of men.

As I began to create characters, my story evolved. Once their personalities were fully developed in my mind, it wasn’t difficult to determine what would happen next, just like you know what a close friend would say or do in any given situation.

Q. Do you have any favorite authors? What are your favorite books?
I prefer authors who focus on simply writing a good story and creating memorable characters. I’m not fond of books that are so abstract that you have to be a literary scholar to understand them, or that dwell on the sad state of the human condition without the possibility of hope or redemption. The best literature inspires you and is ultimately uplifting, I think.

Q. Do you have any advice about getting published?
First I would concentrate on writing the best book you possibly can. That means choosing a topic you care about, researching your subject thoroughly and doing numerous rewrites and revisions. I would also suggest hiring a professional editor. Prices and experience vary widely, so get a lot of estimates before selecting one. If you think you can do an adequate job yourself, you’re probably wrong. I had two very good editors review my book, besides reading it over myself too many times to count, and still a few errors slipped through the cracks. It is best to get these mistakes found and corrected before a perspective publisher sees your work.

If you’re going to go the traditional route, you’ll need to find an agent to pitch your book to publishers. There’s a list of them in the Literary Market Place, which you can find in any reference library. Since there are so many aspiring writers out there, there are also a great many unscrupulous agents ready and willing to take advantage of you. Word of mouth is your best defense against this, I believe, and I would suggest joining a writers’ group or visiting writing websites to get recommendations. Most agents want you to send them your resume, along with a book summary and a number of chapters for them to review. Don’t be discouraged if you receive a great many rejections. There are very few writers who have not experienced the same. If you have confidence in the quality of your work, be persistent.

Q. What about self-publishing?
If the traditional route to getting published fails, or if you simply want to keep a larger percentage of the profits, self-publishing is a great option if you’re willing to invest the time and energy necessary to educate yourself about the publishing industry. I would start by reading The Self-Publishing Manual, by Dan Poynter. You’ll need to develop a business plan, do market research, learn about book production and fulfillment, and develop a plan for promoting your book. A word of caution—if you don’t do your homework, you will be easy pickings for sharks out there who know that aspiring writers typically have no interest in, or knowledge of the business side of book publishing.

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