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

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Interview & Giveaway with Dakota Banks - International! You can win Books 1-3 Signed in the Mortal Path Series + Swag Bag

Welcome back Dakota! It's almost been two years since you've last visited.

Impossible! I remember it like it was yesterday. Thanks, Natasha, for having me back on A Good Book is the Cheapest Vacation. With gas prices the way they are, this is doubly true.

Can you sum up the last two years into three words? *evil grin*

Location, location, location. Hehe. Seriously: Busy, emotional, rewarding.

Spring is finally here and soon it will be summer! What are your plans for this summer?

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Deliverance promotion, so I’m looking forward to immersing myself in writing this summer. That is, after I take a couple of weeks off during which I will sleep 12 hours a day and eat breakfast in bed with fresh roses on my tray. Promotion is great fun because I get to communicate with so many readers. That doesn’t mesh with the long hours of solitude I need for writing, though. I’m ready to crawl back into my office cave and type my poor fingers to the bone. To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Oh, I do have something exciting besides writing planned for the summer. I’ll be having a “Put Yourself in the Next Mortal Path Book” drawing. You get to name a character after yourself or someone else. I make you promise not to cry when you get killed, because you will. Woohoo! You heard it here first.

Natasha: *Does a jig* That's awesome. Count me in for sure! 

Maliha is a unique character. I love her style. She's definitely a kick ass heroine, alongside of Gin(Jennifer Estep) and Mira(Jocelynn Drake). I get engrossed into her world and her feelings very quickly. Where did you get the inspiration for her character?

I admire Gin and Mira too, and am fans of those series! Maliha’s origin, stripped down to its basics, is very simple. I wanted to take a character from good to evil and back to good (sort of) again, and find out what kind of life journey she would have.

Maliha starts out as a sympathetic wife and healer in Colonial America. Her life is changed abruptly when she is falsely accused of being a witch, and other crimes. Sentenced to burn at the stake, we feel her anger and bitterness rising in a way that is uncharacteristic of her normal life. As she burns, she cries out for help from any source,  and the answer to her cries comes in the form of a brutal, almost incomprehensibly evil Sumerian demon. She has two choices: continue burning alive or sign on as the demon’s immortal assassin. It’s the first of many moral dilemmas Maliha will face over the course of her twisted life. It wouldn’t be much of a series if she chose to burn to death, so she gives her soul over to the demon and no longer is the gentle wife planning the birth of her first child. As a soulless assassin, the demon’s evil flows through her as she carries out his orders to remain young and beautiful; innocents die at her hands.

Ok, stop.

Did the entire reading audience just fling the book across the room in anger and have no feeling of attachment, no way to feel anything for Maliha except hate? That was a great challenge of this character: how to portray her as ruthless yet convince readers she was worth their attention because she had the seeds of change deep inside her. This is what gets a writer’s heart racing. You feel deeply for the tragic figure of the woman betrayed and burning, but how do I keep you from forgetting all that when she gets mean? After three hundred years of assassin duties, Maliha can’t take the kind of life she’s living anymore. She defies her demon, becomes rogue, and sets out to earn her soul back. But there’s no turning back the clock on those black years of hers—they’ve marked her in large and subtle ways. Killing is still a part of her life, because fighting for justice sometimes requires it. How can she shape her future now given the influence of her past, and will she ever be worthy of redemption? This is something a writer can sink her teeth into (though there are no fangs in the story)!

Natasha: Well said. 

Last time you stopped by you said you had something in the works, but it was very early on. Are you still working on those projects or something new altogether? 

Same project, and it’s gotten to the point of submission as I write this. The Mortal Path uses mythology and history to tweak its stories, but it’s definitely reading for grown-ups. I wanted to do something vaguely similar for younger people, ages 8-12 years. I took a lot of time putting together the Living Then series, with the first book written and proposals for others. No demons, no blood oozing out of the books when you squeeze the pages, no entanglements with lovers—these are middle grade books. They immerse kids in a culture and time period by following the lives of a boy and a girl at some dramatic turning point for them. The characters don’t continue from one book to the next, because the next book is in a different time period and halfway around the world. It’s a series because of its concept. Many books for this age are written from the girl’s viewpoint only, but these books alternate points of view and have plenty of action to interest boys. (I write action well; it’s just tamed down. J) I’d like to see these books in school and public libraries. I found this project rewarding and I hope my agent sells it. It makes a nice sideline to the Mortal Path. I would have to use a pen name to disconnect these books from my adult work.

Natasha: I can't wait!

I'm loving the blue and yellow theme for Deliverance. Who's the cover artist? 

Deliverance.jpgThe cover artist is Don Sipley. You can read a little about him here: Don and I have a strange kind of bond, even though we’ve never spoken. He took my suggestion to only show Maliha from the back (at least so far, he’s taken it!), looking forward into some compelling scene. So instead of seeing her face, we see what she’s seeing instead. I think it’s a little more mysterious, and you can form your own idea what her face looks like. On the first cover, Dark Time, he gave Maliha a tattoo across her shoulder blades. It looked more or less like a hawk, so during the copyediting of that book, I added a scene that Maliha’s martial arts instructor rewarded her with the special art when she passed all of his tests and became a disciple of the school. So Don’s work inspired a change in the story. On the second book, Sacrifice, when I got my first look at the cover art, I was dismayed that the tattoo was missing. I asked my editor to pass along the request to him to please, please put the tattoo on, and he did. It looks a little bit different from the one on the first book, but close enough. Whew! Deliverance, book three, has the tattoo from the first book. I think I have him trained now. You wait and see, book 4 will show Maliha from the front and I will faint.

Are you currently reading anything rave worthy?

Yes—a middle grades book, Dark Life by Kat Falls. I was attracted to it first by its cover and the fact that it was published by Scholastic, one of the publishers my agent is submitting my MG book to. I suppose I wanted to study the book, take it apart, see how it was written, and oh yes, see if mine stacked up. I quickly forgot all of those objectives and just fell in love with the characters and world in this book. It takes place in the future when global warming has raised the levels of the ocean and flooded a lot of the land area of the U.S. and other countries. The remaining land area is very densely populated, and many settlers have taken to living in habitats on the ocean floor. I highly recommend checking out this book for any middle graders you might know who are into science fiction/fantasy.   

Completely off topic. Spring shows are finally blooming and I have many favorites being aired.  Have you gotten into the Game of Thrones fever? Which spring shows are you looking forward to most?

Game of Thrones—no. I have watched a few episodes but discovered I couldn’t just watch every 5th episode and expect to keep up with the story. I’ll have to buy DVDs of a season at a time, starting at the beginning, and watch several episodes in a row when I can fit that in. I think I’d be very interested in the story. My TV watching for other shows is kind of pathetic, as in little time spent. I never watch anything live, so I can skip through the commercials and save time. The few shows I watch are AwakeFringeSupernatural, andPerson of Interest. You mean there are new shows starting? Sigh. Missed that.

Natasha: Supernatural is a must. Eureka, Bones, etc. Love them all. I heard Awake was good, but I haven't checked it out yet. 

Nosey? Yep. :

Blue or Yellow?

You did this on purpose, since blue and yellow are both featured on Deliverance’s cover. Blue is mysterious and is the perfect color to fade to black. Yellow is the color of sunshine and warmth. I’ll go with yellow, except when I want to fade from sight.

Natasha: You caught me. I did do it on purpose. *laughs*

TV or Movies?

Definitely movies, although not IN the movies. I haven’t gone to an actual movie theater in a couple of years. But I do have a large collection of movies for every mood, a microwave for popped corn, and pillows to cry into if necessary.

Pepsi or Coke?

Coke Zero for me, please. Nothing else. Pepsi tastes like crap, Dr. Pepper like prune juice, and with Mountain Dew I can’t get over the fact that it looks like I’m drinking pee. I prefer the taste of Coke Zero to the regular, sweet caffeine Coke. And why is this important?

Natasha: Why? You're talking to a Soda lover. Diet Pepsi lover in fact. :O I love Pepsi, but Coke Zero is okay... lol :P 

Beer or Spritzer?

Wine spritzer, yum. With lots of ice. You can even leave out the club soda and I’m still okay. The only time I have beer is when someone else is buying.

Natasha: *Buys you a beer* 

Summer, Winter, Fall or Spring?

All of the above. I love four distinct seasons and I get them where I live. My preference would be to have Fall and Spring each be twice as long, and Summer and Winter only half the length they are now. I guess I just like transitions.

Natasha: We have the Seasons here as well. I love Fall most, but summer is a close second, only because it's so short here. I just love the option of the changes. lol 

Beach or Pool?

Pool. No beach, unless hunting for shells. The reason: I don’t like picking sand out of various orifices for days.

Natasha: I LOVE beaches and pools. Although, I agree with you. When two days and three showers later your like, "How the hell did sand get there?!?" happens, I tend to get annoying. lol  

Paperback or Audio?

Paperback almost all the time, audio books for long-distance driving only. Unless the book has a lot of sex. Then audio in the car while driving isn’t a good idea. I speak from experience.

Natasha: Oh really? Do tell. *jokes*

Did I annoy you enough yet? 

Not nearly enough. Is this all you’ve got? Pfff!

Natasha: I'll know to amp it up next time. 

Thanks a bunch for stopping by again! You rock! 

I enjoyed my visit. See you later!


Check out the trailer for Deliverance!

Now, onto the giveaway! 

Dakota has generously decided to giveaway a fantastic swag/books pack for one lucky winner. 

The giveaway is a Mortal Path Swag Bag, consisting of a tote bag, 3 signed books, pens, bookmarks, magnets, and a calculator. One of the photos shows the whole deal. I mail internationally.

To enter, please follow my blog through GFC, if you don't use GFC you can follow my blog through Twitter.  Please leave your name and how you follow in the comments below. 

For bonus entries: 
For each extra entry you do below, you get +1 entries. 

Dakotas Social Networks

Twitter: @dakotabanks or

My Social Networks

If you followed through GFC and not twitter, or vice versa, you can follow both and gain an extra entry for following the other. 
Follow my reviews on Goodreads: Natasha Jennex
Follow me on Google+

That's 9 extra entries possible. 

Open Internationally! 

The Giveaway ends April 1st. (Since this was put up a day later than intended.)

Comment below & Good luck!


Barbara E. said...

Great giveaway! I follow via GFC: Barbara E. and Goodreads: Barbara Elness.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

Nicki J Markus said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I follow via GFC (Nicki J Markus) and Goodreads (Nicki J Markus)

nickijmarkus AT y7mail DOT com

[email protected] GREAT read said...

Awesome giveaway!

GFC Follower


Na said...

It sounds like you'll have a busy but fun summer, Dakota. You are a new author for me so thank you for the chance to read one of your books. Fantastic giveaway.

Google+: Na S
Facebook: Fiery Na
Dakota's Facebook: Fiery Na
Dakota's blog via Linky: Na


donnas said...

Im really looking forward to Deliverance. Congrats on the release!

follower - donnas
FB - Donna S
twitter - @donnas1
GR - Donna S

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Jet said...

I'm also a paperback over audio kinda girl, and a pool over beach person, sand, so much sand, everywhere! lol

GFC: Jet
Twitter: @Jet_BDR


June M. said...

I have not read this series yet but I am very eager. I too am generally a paperback girl, but I am getting into audios for times like when I am walking on the treadmill (helps to pass the time).

Thanks so much for the great giveaway!
A Great Book entries:
GFC follower: June M.
Twitter follower: @JuneAnnM
Goodreads friend: June Manning
Following on Google Plus: June M.
Following on FB: June Manning

Dakota entries:
Website/Newsletter subscriber
Blog GFC follower: June M.
FB follower: June Manning
Twitter follower: @JuneAnnM
Goodreads fan/follower: June Manning

Thanks so much!
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Dakota Banks said...

I'm loving these comments! Need more ... give me more...

nat said...

Thanks so much for the chance. I loved the interview :) The trailer is awesome too.

For Dakota
Website:Signed up for the newsletter
Blog: GFC as nat cleary
Facebook: Like as Natalie Cleary
Twitter: @natcleary
Goodreads: as nat cleary

I follow this blog GFC as nat clearuy
Follow on Goodreads: as nat cleary
Follow on Google+ as Natalie Cleary
Like A Great Book Is The Cheapest Vacation on Facebook as Natalie Cleary

Thanks so much Dakota for the giveaway and thanks A Great book for hosting.


Mel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mel said...

I would go for a Pool over the beach as well - the sand is real put off! :-)

For Dakota & Natasha
GFC - Mel S
FB - Melissa Symnds
Goodreads - Mel Symonds


sienny said...

i loooooveee Fringe. i watched the entire first season in 3 days, but i haven't manage to scrap enough time for the second season :(

for the blog :
GFC : sienny
G+ : sienny
Fb : sienny zne
GR : sienny

for dakota's blog :
GFC : sienny
email subs/newsletter : [email protected]
FB : sienny zne
GR : sienny

[email protected]

Aurian said...

Thanks for the interview ladies, that was fun!
For Dakota
Website:Signed up for the newsletter
Blog: follow by email - auriansbooks at gmail dot com
Twitter: @xAurianx

I follow this blog on Twitter as well.

alicia marie said...

thanks for the fun interview!! you're a new author for me and this sounds like a book i'd love to read : ) and thanks for the awesome giveaway!
for a great book:
i follow gfc: alicia marie ezell
facebook: alicia marie ezell
twitter: @bamayankee
google+: alicia marie ezell
goodreads: alicia marie

for dakota:
newsletter: ame1184 at gmail dot com
gfc: alicia marie ezell
facebook: alicia marie ezell
goodreads: alicia marie
twitter: @bamayankee

Bex said...

Thank you for the entertaining interview and for hosting this mega giveaway.
I can not wait to read The Mortal Path series.

I follow in several ways;
Twitter - @beckyhjohnson
FB, Networkedblogs, GFC, Goodreads & RSS - Becky Johnson

Thank you :-)

Barbara said...

Fun interview, ladies! Thx for the AWESOME and VERY generous giveaway! :)

GFC: Barbara
FB: Barbara Battaglia

Dakota's Website (newsletter0
Dakota's Blog - GFC, Linky, email

barbbattaglia @

molly.frenzel said...

Awesome giveaway!

GFC: molly.frenzel
Dakota's Blog - GFC: molly.frenzel
Dakota's twitter: @dg_molly
Dakota's Facebook: Molly Nudo Frenzel
Dakota's Goodreads: Molly Frenzel


Lauren B said...

Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.
GFC: Lauren Berman


RK Charron said...

Hi Natasha & Dakota,

Thank you for the wonderful interview. Especially to Dakota for the indepth & interesting answers. I, too, watch tv shows later so saving time in my life from commercials. Also I enjoyed how you explained Maliha's character growth.

I am RKCharron everywhere I Follow.

All the best,

Pamk said...

Thanks for the great giveaway. Follow
GFC Pamk
Twitter Pamk258
Facebook Pam Harmon Kinsey

Dakota Banks said...

Hi RK,

I appreciate your comment about the interview. It's really neat to visit A Great Book is the Cheapest Vacation, because it seems like no matter what I write, Natasha makes it come out sounding brilliant. :-)

Denise Z said...

I have followed this tour and have had loads of fun. Thank you so much for hosting this awesome author and for the lovely giveaway opportunity.

A Great Book entries:
GFC: Denise Zaky
Twitter: @ZDz59001
Goodreads: Denise Zaky
G+: Denise Zaky
Facebook: Denise Zaky

Dakota entries:
Website/Newsletter subscriber
Blog GFC / Linky: Denise Zaky
Facebook: Denise Zaky
Twitter: @ZDz59001
Goodreads: Denise Zaky

janhvi said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
I follow via GFC-Janhvi Jagtap

justjanhvi at gmail dot com

emmad said...

I follow via GFC

Natasha said...

Aww Dakota. *blushes*

Melanie said...

Thanks for the fun interview and giveaway!

GFC (Melanie)
Twitter (@Melanie_Vautour)
Facebook (Mélanie Vautour)
Goodreads (Melanie)

A Great Book
Goodreads (Melanie)
Facebook (Mélanie Vautour)
Twitter (@Melanie_Vautour)


Felicia the Geeky Blogger said...

Oh gosh I follow you all over the place :) (nice way of saying stalking isn't?)!

Not entering but AWESOME giveaway!

Good luck everyone!

Natasha said...

Haha! I'm the same with you Felicia! Thanks for stopping by!

Maria pronounced Mariah said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I almost missed it!

I follow You:
GFC: Maria pronounced Mariah
Twitter: @Maria_Smith_76
Goodreads: Maria pronounced Mariah
Google+ Maria Smith

I follow Dakota:
Blog GFC: Maria pronounced Mariah
Twitter: @Maria_Smith_76
Goodreads: Maria pronounced Mariah

Thank you!
mmafsmith at gmail dot com

throuthehaze said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Following You:

GFC: Throuthehaze
twitter @raelena85
Goodreads: Raelena aka Throuthehaze
G+: Throuthehaze reads
FB: Rae Pavey

Following Dakota:

GFC: Throuthehaze
FB: Rae Pavey
twitter @raelena85
Goodreads: Raelena aka Throuthehaze

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Dina said...

I follow Dakota here:


Blog: Dina
Facebook: DinaStornello

Twitter: @dlscapy

Goodreads: DinaStornello
follow you GFC: Dina

dlsmilad at yahoo dot com

Jacqui said...

Right I follow you via
ggf as Jacqui
twitter justapuzzle

I follow Dakota via

Thanks for the chance to win
ticklebear2 at yahoo dot com

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