Monday, March 19, 2012

Author Interview with Dakota Banks


Please welcome today's guest author Dakota Banks. Banks is the author of The Mortal Path series featuring Maliha Crayne as the main protagonist. The books in the series include Dark Time, Sacrifice, and Deliverance which releases on March 27, 2012.

I guess you can say I'm a bit biased when it comes to interviewing Ms Banks since this is one of my all time favorite female characters in the Urban Fantasy genre and I absolutely LOVED Deliverance!

Hi Dakota! Welcome to Gizmo's Reviews! I am honored to have you here today, especially being a major fan of your series the Mortal Path.

Thanks, Shelley. I’m delighted to be here and I appreciate this opportunity to visit Gizmo’s Reviews.
     Let's get right into the questions. My first question is a soft ball question, when did you start writing?

Like many writers, I’ve been interested in writing from an early age. I wrote my first short story when I was eight years old. It was a science fiction story about a strictly governed society with no room for individuality, driving the main character to leave the city and head off alone into the wilderness seeking freedom to be an artist. It turns out he’s an ant. Overdone material at the time, but what did I know? My story was published in the school newspaper and my parents glowed like twin searchlights. I figured all I had to do was wait for the money to roll in. Then reality set in! I wrote short stories throughout high school and college, getting handwritten rejection letters, very nice, but still rejections. Then I started on a career in computers and didn’t come up to breathe for twenty years until I decided that if I was going to be a writer, I’d better take it seriously. I wrote and published thrillers at first. 

      2. What brought you to the paranormal genre with the Mortal Path series?  
It isn’t that thrillers were unrewarding to write. I loved them. I just found my elbows getting crowded within the boundaries of a straight thriller. I needed to get into what I call “the larger world,” the one where the writer is free to bring in elements of the paranormal. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could make a fresh entry into the crowded ranks of books about vampires, werewolves, and so on—I’d have to find my own way. I fell back on the definition of urban fantasy, which is world-building in which the contemporary world is familiar and recognizable to the reader, except ... except for the few little twists that make it different from our reality. In the world I built for the Mortal Path series, that crucial twist is that ancient Sumerian gods and demons live in the current world.

     3. Where did you get your inspiration from for writing the Mortal Path series, especially an assassin like Maliha who I adore?
I love mythology and I’m an amateur archaeologist. A particular interest of mine is the time period of Mesopotamia and Sumer, as far back as 8,000 years ago. At that time, the Sumerian civilization had a large number of advances that moved humanity so much closer to the way we are today: written language; Hammurabi’s Code of Law (not a very fair code, but a start); belief in life after death (the Egyptians weren’t first); astronomy; art, painting, and architecture; wheeled vehicles like wagons; a math system and tools for measurement; and most important of all, flush toilets. They had a large and interesting set of gods, goddesses, and demons collectively known as the Anunnaki, whom the Sumerians claimed to be extraterrestrial. (Google planet Nibiru for all sorts of fun reading on the home world of the Anunnaki and the destruction of Earth in December 2012 due to a collision with Nibiru—belief is left up to the reader!.)
Sumerian gods weren’t generally kind, so their demons were much worse. Since Maliha spent nearly 300 years as an assassin for one of the demons, she’s done evil things over the course of her life. But she started out as a good person, and she’s on the path now to redeeming her soul. Still, when you have all that assassin training crammed into you, it can’t help but leak out.

     4. If you could be any paranormal character or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?
Maliha reads auras to get an emotional fix on the characters she encounters, and it’s very useful for her. I’d go one step further for myself and choose mind-reading, as long as I could control when I used it. Better watch out when I’m around! J


     5. Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release?
I’m hoping readers will enjoy Deliverance because it brings them inside both Maliha’s heart and mind as she deals with losses and moral dilemmas. The stakes in this book are very personal as one of Maliha’s inner circle of friends is in deadly danger from people who’ve shown they don’t fool around. There are intense action sequences in this book (sewage, anyone?) and a villain you will hate—deeply. Also, Maliha learns more about Jake’s mysterious past.

     6. How would you feel if this series (Especially Deliverance) was bought and turned into a major motion picture? 

Ecstatic! Anyone know a producer?? The Mortal Path series is a highly visual experience, partly because when I write the books I have a movie screen running in my head, visualizing each scene. The other part is that Maliha is cool, sexy, kick-ass, powerful, and seeking redemption, and she deserves a movie or a TV series. Well, just sayin’.

     7. What actress would play Maliha?
The person I think would be perfect is Milla Jovovich, from The Fifth Element, Ultraviolet, and Resident Evil.

     8. What is your favorite place to write?
I have an office at home, a former bedroom as far away from household noise as I could get. I have Real Office Furniture, and I don’t use the room for anything else, so it’s usually easy for me to get in the working frame of mind as soon as I enter the room. My desk is always cluttered, and I’m comfortable with it that way. Just looking at my pen cup, I notice that I have 2 red pencils, 3 permanent markers, and 14 pens, including my favorite Fisher Space Pen Apollo 11 commemorative engraved with my name and an intimidating Mont Blanc. Do I need them all? No, but I like office supplies. Artwork and posters of my book covers are scattered around the room and outside my window, a flowering tree is starting to bloom. There’s a coffeemaker at the end of a table, but I’ll just as often have tea. Next to my desk is a cat tree, frequent home to my two kitties Marble and Snickers, when they’re not lying on my keyboard. Their favorite toy on my desk is a purple windup Chomper from the Land Before Time kids’ movies. When you wind it up, it scoots across the desk clacking its teeth. Sometimes I find it knocked on the floor, the result of a nocturnal feline hunting adventure.

     9. Do you have any advice for fledgling writers?

Have a regular writing session, and stick it out. When the words just won’t come on your work-in-progress, don’t throw up your hands and quit your writing session. It will be twice as hard to sit down and get started next time. Instead, do some research for the book, or have a second writing project going. Or push your way through a difficult writing session by adding words that you know you’ll have to revise later, or in the words of a writer friend of mine, “that pure green dreck you’ll choke on when you see it again.” It’s okay to have words down that serve a purpose to move you on, but aren’t your most brilliant expression. Just don’t leave them in the manuscript by the time you submit!

     10. What other genres do you enjoy reading?

I read thrillers and mysteries regularly, in addition to my home territory in paranormal. I’ve also developed an interest in reading biographies and memoirs, not only for their intrinsic interest but to help with character-building.

Thank you so much Dakota for joining us here today at Gizmo’s Reviews!


Please feel free to post questions or comments for the author who has been sent a link to this interview. Your questions and comments ARE being read by myself and Ms Banks for the giveaway below!
For my part, I need to send out a warm thank you to Dakota for agreeing to do this interview for me, as well as sending me an advanced copy of Deliverance. I also want to thank those who stopped by to my first author interview.

By all means, please check out the links below and enter to win a Swag Bag containing a bunch of goodies! For more information about Ms Banks books, please visit her at http://www.dakota-banks.com.




Twitter: @dakotabanks or http://dbanks.me/DBtwit

If you are interested in the giveaway portion of this interview, it is a Mortal Path Swag Bag, consisting of a tote bag, 3 signed books, pens, bookmarks, magnets, and a calculator. Just leave a comment with your email address below since not everyone has twitter, facebook, etc.

33 comments:

  1. It was a pleasure visiting with you, Shelley. Thanks for the privilege of appearing on your blog. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. great interview, and I'd love to see Milla have the lead. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :O) I think I did a happy dance when she said that. I love Milla!

      Delete
  3. Shelley, what a fantastic first interview! Thank you for letting us get to know Dakota Banks better not only as an author but as a person. Your questions were thoughtful and insightful. If there is anyone who has not read a Dakota Banks book, they should. Dakota Banks is a great author of paranormal genre with urban fantasy. I hope to read more interviews from you Shelley and more Dakota Banks books. You both have talent. Thank you for sharing this review with us. Your fan. ::Kay::

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kay, I think you've made my week, errr, month actually with your comments. Thanks! :O)

      Delete
    2. Shelley, you deserve each and every compliment you get. My pleasure telling you what an impressive job you did. ::Kay::

      Delete
  4. That's one of the reason why I read paranormal - being able to discover a "larger" world. I like reality but when there are other possibilities that also appeals to me. I notice a lot of blending between paranormal and urban fantasy stories, which I don't mind at all. If a story is good then I want to read it.

    A great author interview. Congrats on it being your first :)
    Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Na! I really appreciate you stopping by!

      Delete
  5. What a treat of an interview. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us today. I love Dakota Banks writing style and have had this series on my wishlist. I love the world building of a good UF and these certainly fill the bill I have the Kindle editions of the first two and can't wait to read the next.
    dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and participating! Makes me feel good that not only did Dakota agree to this interview, but that people actually cared enough to stop by and checked it out!

      Delete
    2. I appreciate your interest in the Mortal Path series, Denise! ~♥~

      Delete
  6. I am going to hop on the band wagon! I have not read the series but am certainly going to look them up. Sounds exactly like what I would enjoy. Thank you for the interview Shelley, and Dakota, I'm sure I will become an instant fan by looking at the comments. Can't wait to get the books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good deal Shirley! Thank you for stopping by!

      Delete
    2. An instant fan--wish I could patent that!

      Delete
  7. I love your books and the new worlds created by them-- your work space is awesome--keep up the great writing
    audie(at)wickerness(dot)com
    P.S. I want the swag bag --Please

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Audra, thanks. Shelley picks the winner, though. Butter her up. Oh, I forgot. It's random.

      Delete
  8. Great interview! I love to read what authors really have to say and your books are awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Heather! It really feels good to hear that.

      Delete
  9. I loved the first book. Awesome prize!

    b(dot)cardone(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bethany, I love that you loved Dark Time! Watch out for Deliverance--it's really intense...

      Delete
  10. Thank you for the chance to win! This looks great :) edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had fun putting this Swag Bag together a few months ago. Now that Shelley can actually give one away, it's even more fun. Plus I've got to get these things out of my office!

      Delete
  11. Thanks for the great interview and for the writing tips.

    I would love to win the Swag Bag. I actually have an addiction to totes and reusable bags. It would be perfect for me.

    stephanieleroux (at) hotmail (.) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Stephanie. I have so many totes that I have totes stuffed inside of totes, yet I never seem to have enough.

      Delete
  12. Just what I need! Another great series to follow. I love paranormal, and find that series allow for a much more in-depth experience into the writers world that stand alone books do.
    Please enter me to win the books and swag

    loribooklover62 @aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, BookLover62. if you want to confine yourself to the characters in the book, choose a standalone. If you want some insight into the author's mind, series are the way to go.

      Delete
  13. dakota banks!!! i really need to start this series ASAP.

    thanks for the giveaway

    smile_1773@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sienny!!! Please do start my series. :-)

      Delete
  14. Great interview! I'm so excited to read Deliverance but first I plan on re-reading the first two to make sure I haven't forgotten anything :)I can't wait!
    Thanks for the giveaway :)
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Would love to be entered. Not sure if this ended yet,

    Chllybrd(at)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. if we can still enter i would like to.
    thanks you for sharing with us

    all the best

    isabelle(dot)frisch(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete