Current Reading Mood: Urban Fantasy
Quote of the day: “I’d have been dead a long time ago if not for my friends, one of whom had just jumped off the cliff after me.
I’d have been a lot more appreciative if he hadn’t pushed me first." Cassandra Palmer ― Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Interview & GIVEAWAY with Dakota Banks



About Dakota

I have to believe that growing up in a converted turn-of-the-century funeral home, complete with blood gutters and a drain in the basement floor, warped my mind.
[dakota+banks.jpg]I set aside all those macabre thoughts spawned by reading books in the basement at night with a flashlight and undertook a relatively normal life. College, science fiction, husband, computers, Star Trek, mortgage, fantasy, Star Wars, kids, mysteries, writing, thrillers, horror, and cats. I'm not sure in which order all those things happened, but I haven't killed off enough gray cells yet that I've forgotten any of them. That brings me up to now, or at least the last decade.
I wrote short stories in high school and college, submitted them, and got rejection letters. I still have some of them. Writing was shelved while life ran amuck, and I came back to it in the 1990s. I published six books, all hard-edged suspense thrillers dealing with virtual reality, one of them set in a future world. None were written under the Dakota Banks name. I enjoyed these books because they were my first taste of the writing life, not to mention that they brought in some money and put 600,000 published words under my belt.
Something was missing, though, and it took me six books to find out what the missing piece was. Although my books were highly imaginative and extrapolated then-current trends in forensic science, computer simulation, and virtual reality, they didn't go far enough. I felt hemmed in by reality.
I needed to get back into the basement with a flashlight.
I took a deep breath and thought about what I really wanted to do with my writing career. I had an idea that had been playing around at the edge of my mind for a while, and I decided to see what I could make of it. Combining my love of archaeology with the freedom that comes from using mythological elements in a story, I came up with the basic concepts for the Mortal Path series. Developing that world and the characters who bring it to life has been tremendously rewarding for me, and I hope the books provide pleasurable reading for you.
I live on the western fringe of St. Louis, Missouri with my husband. Our two sons, one adopted from Peru and the other from Ethiopia, are in college. My cats Peanut and Marble sometimes ghostwrite my books. Good stuff, too, if you speak Cat.





Welcome Dakota! Thanks for stopping by today!
Thank YOU for inviting me to your blog and letting me chat with you and your followers.

Fall is here, and soon it will be Halloween. What are your plans for the week of Halloween?

I love Halloween! Lots of good memories. The day I see pumpkins for sale is the day I get geared up for fall. Since my kids are too old for trick-or-treating, and it's not our turn to host the Halloween party, my week will be quiet. I miss the days when I had all the school involvement with the Fall Party (goodness, don't call it Halloween, that might imply witchcraft in the school system).

I have one party to go to on Halloween eve, so all the parents can be home on the night of the event. It's a mask party more than a costume party; we wear ordinary clothes but nicely decorated masks. We used to give a prize for the best mask, but did away with it after we couldn't find any volunteers to be judges. No one wanted to be the target of ill feelings, and some people take this mask stuff very seriously. I have to say I'm not one of the ones who would be in contention for a prize. I generally go out the day before, buy a white or black mask, and glue some sequins to it. I consider myself highly "crafty" if all the sequins haven't fallen off by the time I get home. 


Which costume of your teen-age/adult hood was your most favorite? (that is, if you ever dress up!)

I never had a princess costume when I was a little girl. My costumes were homemade and tended toward the cut-eye-holes-in-a-pillowcase variety. When I was sixteen, I made a princess costume with items from a second-hand store, complete with tiara. I made a wand with a star and streamers and put glitter in my hair and on my cheeks. I know it sounds a bit silly now, but I'm so glad I got to be princess for a day. 

Most people would ask where you came up with the title of your books, but I'm wondering, how did you choose your series title?

I had the series title Mortal Path very early when I was designing the concept for the books. It comes from the idea that when Maliha no longer wants to be a demon's assassin, she has to surrender her immortality. Her perpetual youth and beauty were dependent on her willingness to kill at the demon's orders. To turn her back on that evil way of life, she has to let go of immortality and walk the Mortal Path, a method to achieve redemption by saving as many lives as she's taken under the demon's control. No rogue assassin (meaning one who has turned against her demon) has ever completed the Mortal Path, and the penalty for failing is eternal torture by the demon. The stakes are high for her! 

Maliha Crayne is a kick-ass heroine. Do you have anything in common with Maliha?

As far as weapons, leather, and a great body, sadly, no. But I do have a strong desire to see justice done. I can be tough when the situation calls for it, a no-nonsense type focused on getting the task done. One thing I share with Maliha is her sense of humor. Mostly, though, Maliha is the person I wish I could be, now that she's fighting for good. Authors can live vicariously through their characters and in my case that's definitely true. The fact that she has a seriously troubled past just makes her more real to me.   

Have you always been interested in Mythology?

I remember going through a phase of reading nothing but the mythologies of different world cultures. I think I was about nine or ten at the time, and the books were a mix of adult and children's books. It must have bonded with me like oxygen to blood cells, because I started writing about existing mythologies and making up some of my own for fantasy stories. When I read the Epic of Gilgamesh, about a 26th century B.C. Sumerian king who was most likely a real historical figure but was also viewed as a demigod (his mother was said to be a goddess), I was hooked on the idea of the intersection of reality and mythology. It's taken a long time for me to find the right situation to put my love of writing, mythology, and archaeology together in the Mortal Path series.

Have you got an idea of how many books will be released in your Mortal Path series?

In addition to the thriller situation Maliha has to solve in each book, there's a story arc going on that spans the books. It's about Maliha collecting shards of an ancient diamond lens that have been scattered around the world. Keeping this story arc in mind, there should be 6 or 7 books in the MP series for a satisfying conclusion. I'm ready and eager to write them. I hope the publisher sees it that way, too!

Can you tell your readers a little of what to expect in Sacrifice? Will it have more or less action than the previous book?

In my opinion, there is quite a bit more action in Sacrifice. In the first book, Dark Time, some time was spent introducing important characters such as her group of close friends, and establishing the relationships among them. In Sacrifice, there are references to this background information, enough so that a new reader starting on book two will feel comfortable with the characters. But it isn't all repeated, so that left plenty of room for more in-depth development of the action-oriented thriller story. Maliha also faces a new challenge, an Ageless named Lucius, whose demon has ordered him to follow her and steal any shards of the diamond lens she collects. Lucius is interested in a lot more than shards, though. The villain in Sacrifice is a really nasty one! Get a taste of Sacrifice by reading the first fifty pages at the publisher's website, http://bit.ly/first50.

Have you any other series that you will be starting in the near future?

I have two other series I'm working on, but they're both early in the design stage, so we're not talking near future. One is another dark Urban Fantasy based on mythology and the other is a lighter series based on zombies. Gasp! I didn't actually say the z-word. You must have heard me wrong....

Seeing as it's a big thing for all kinds of authors lately, would you see yourself ever writing a YA novel?

An excellent question. I have had a YA series in mind for some time. Right now it's just a thought I'll run by you. A boy (or girl) has trouble with his homework and decides to go to the sources for answers. He brings historical figures to life, they help him, and then return to the grave. Examples: Sir Isaac Newton to help him learn science, Richard the Lionheart to learn about the Crusades. Then on a dare from his girlfriend ,to prove he can really do it, he calls upon a bad guy (nothing too yucky, this is YA), and the bad guy refuses to return to the grave. The boy has unleashed an old horror on a new world. A dud, or some possibilities?

If you had to choose one supernatural being to be, which one would you choose?

 I'd definitely be a shapeshifter. I'm an animal lover and curious what it would be like to live as a big cat, an eagle, or a dolphin. Sometimes when I meditate, I imagine myself in the viewpoint of a cat prowling my house. A very different perspective--you should try it sometime!
Quick, before you go.. I have a few quickies to ask:

Cats or Dogs?
Cats


Night or Day?
Night

Swimming or Snowboarding/skiing?
Swimming

The Simpsons or Family Guy?
The Simpsons

Beer or Spirits?
Spirits

Sugar candy or Chocolate?
Chocolate, mmm ...

Turkey or Chicken?
Chicken

Pepsi or Coke?
Coke

Writing or reading?
Writing

Heavy Metal or Pop music?
Pop music, but my real choice would be classical

Thanks for stopping by Dakota! 







Now on to the giveaway! 


I'm excited that Dakota has graciously given a signed copy of Sacrifice up for an international giveaway!


To Enter:
You HAVE to be a Follower. 
You also have to leave a comment below with you extra entries(if any)and a way to contact you.(email is preferred, please) 


Extra Entries:


+2 Follow me on Twitter-@AGreatBook
+2 Follow Dakota on Twitter- @dakotabanks
+2 Tweet
+5 Make a post about the giveaway
+3 Follow me through network blogs
+2 Subscribe to my blog through email
+3 Comment on another one of my interviews
+1 add them up yourself




18 comments:

JenM said...

I love that Dakota admits she's not "crafty". I'm totally hopeless with that stuff also. Gluing some sequins on a mask and calling it done sounds exactly like what I would do.

I've read Dark Time - I love characters that are assassins, or reformed assassins, and I'd love to win Sacrifice.

+2 email subscriber
jen at delux dot com

Misha1989 said...

Thanks for the interview!I would love to enter this contest.
2 Follow me on Twitter-@Misha_1989
+2 Follow Dakota on Twitter- @Misha_1989
+2 Tweet
http://twitter.com/#!/Misha_1989/status/27198737079
+3 Follow me through network blogs
+2 Subscribe to my blog through email
+3 Comment on another one of my interviews (ElleJasper)
+1 add them up yourself - 15

Misha
mishamary@gmail.com

FairyWhispers said...

+3 commented on interview with Tate

+1 tally all

4points

goddessbloom@hotmail.com

vickyvak said...

Thanks for making this giveaway international!

GFC follower

Extra Entries:
+2 Follow me on Twitter (@vickyvak)
+2 Follow Dakota on Twitter (@vickyvak)
+3 Follow me through network blogs (Vicky Vakou...)
+3 Comment on another one of my interviews (http://bookmarkyourthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/10/halloween-extravaganza-interview-with.html)
+1 add them up yourself
Total: 12

vicky.vak8(at)gmail.com

Dakota Banks said...

JenM,

I once made a beaded necklace from a kit a friend gave me (curses!). When we went out to lunch, I wore the necklace to astound her with my ability to follow directions in the kit. The necklace broke (I swear I was not pulling on it or anything) and scattered beads all over the table and floor. She no longer gives me kits for the craft-challenged. Yay!

yllektra (force-oblique) said...

Whohoo!
Thanks so much for this giveaway!
I'm a GFC follower (Kelly A.)

@Dakota: Hehe, I am so glad you got to be a princess for a day!! I think every girl should feel like a princess and pampered like one at some point in her life! *g*
If it was up to me, I'd say her whole life...but there you go! lol

Oh, nice.. I think A "Z" book would be awesome! I love Zombies and the YA idea sounds really good. I am not a YA but I'd read that! ;)

+2 Follow on Twitter-@AGreatBook (@yllektra)
+2 Follow Dakota on Twitter- @dakotabanks (@yllektra)
+2 Tweet http://twitter.com/yllektra/status/27275552897

+3 Follow me through network blogs (Kelly Anast..)
+2 Subscribe to my blog through email (yvantis@hotmail.com)
+3 Comment on another one of my interviews http://bookmarkyourthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/08/interview-giveaway-with-kimberly-frost.html?showComment=1287003722780#c609552365594946257
+1 add them up yourself
Total: 15

mersagr said...

hi nice interview
+2follow you on @mersagr
+2 follow dacota too
+2 tweet http://twitter.com/#!/mersagr
+5 on my blog http://mersagr.blogspot.com/
on my fb http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=623309617
+3 follow you through networkblogs
+2 subscribe to your blog through
+3 comment on elle jasper interview
+1 add them up
total 20
ersy_nna@hotmail.com

Dakota Banks said...

yllektra,

I loved my princess day and I hope you had one too. Correction: at least one.

Thanks for the feedback on the story ideas.

buddyt said...

I am a Follower via GFC.

+2 I subscribe via email
+1 Add up

Total +3

A very refreshing frank and straight forward interview. I liked it.

I don't read a great deal of YA but Dakota's idea sounds good to me.

Thanks for the giveaway.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Jessica said...

Great interview! Would love to read Sacrifice. Hear good things about it!

+3 Follower
+2 Commented on Adrian Phoenix interview
+1 Adding
6 total

jessbess2505[at]yahoo[dot]com

Dakota Banks said...

buddyt,

Thanks for the feedback on the YA story. I'm beginning to think I should develop it more and see what comes of it. One thing I can say - I'd find it tough to write YA because I'd have to tone down the violence and sex. I'd be tempted to stick in a graphic love scene or a beheading or two.

Dakota Banks said...

Jessica,

I'm glad you've heard good things about Sacrifice. Sure beats the opposite, or hearing nothing at all. :)

Lucy said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
Please enter me.

+2 Follow me on Twitter-@AGreatBook (@lucy73)
+2 Follow Dakota on Twitter- @dakotabanks (@lucy73)
+3 Follow me through network blogs
+1 add them up yourself

8 total

lucybeugelingramos@gmail.com

Meredith said...

Sacrifice is on my wish-list!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

+2 Follow me on Twitter-@AGreatBook @tessaa99
+2 Follow Dakota on Twitter- @dakotabanks @tessaa99
+2 Subscribe to my blog through email
+1 add them up yourself = 8

Sharli said...

Thanks for the interview! I've read great reviews about Sacrifice :)

+2 Follow me on Twitter - @Entre_Libros
+2 Follow Dakota on Twitter - @Entre_Libros
+2 Tweet: http://twitter.com/Entre_Libros/status/29308195498
+3 Follow through network blogs (Sharli - Entre Libros)
+3 Commented on the Elle Jasper interview
+1 Total= 13

Thanks!
entrelibros_blog at hotmail.com

Cherry said...

I find that I have lots of similar answers with Dakota in the quick questions :) except the cats and dogs, I am more of a dog person than cats, although I like both species for company.

My GFC name is Cherry.

+2 Follow you on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @cherrymischivus.
+2 Twitted: http://twitter.com/#!/cherrymischivus/status/29313715824
+5 Re-posted: http://contests-freebies.blogspot.com/2010/10/win-sacrifice-at-great-book-is-cheapest.html
+3 Follow you through network blogs. My FB name is Cherry Mischivous.
+3 Comment on another one of my interviews
+1 TOTAL = 16

Cherry Mischievous
cherrymischif-warrior [at] yahoo [dot] com

Spav said...

Great interview. I've had your book on my wishlist for quite a while.

+2 Twitter follower: (@Sparima)
+2 Dakota's Twitter follower: (@Sparima)
+3 Commented on Elle's interview
+3 Commented on Adrian's interview
+1 Total: 11 entries

spav05(at)gmail(dot)com

sablelexi said...

I'm a follower

+2 Follow me on Twitter-@AGreatBook
+2 Follow Dakota on Twitter- @dakotabanks

+1 total = 5

jlynettes @ hotmail . com

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