Interview and Giveaway with Dakota Banks, author of the Mortal Path Series!

Please welcome the awesome Dakota Banks, author of the Mortal Path urban fantasy/thriller series, to the blog!
Dakota took the time to answer a few questions and is also generously offering a *signed* copy of Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2, to one lucky winner!
**Giveaway Details**
Fill out THIS FORM to enter.
Open Internationally.
Must be at least 13 to enter. 
Ends 4/4/11
My Bookish Ways: For those that haven’t read the Mortal Path books, can you tell us a bit about them?
Dakota Banks: In the 1690s, Susannah Layhem was a wife and healer, and about to become a mother for the first time. It’s the height of the Salem witch hysteria, and Susannah is accused of being a witch because she is so knowledgeable about using herbs for healing. The real reason is that a jealous woman wants Susannah out of the way so she can move in on Susannah’s husband. Embittered by her betrayal, Susannah accepts an offer from an ancient Sumerian demon to remain alive and Ageless to carry out his orders as an assassin. She does so for hundreds of years, living a decadent life, caring for no one. Gradually her conscience begins to haunt her until she finally defies the demon. This starts her on the Mortal Path. She takes a new name as Maliha Crayne for her new quest. To redeem her soul, she needs to balance lives she’s taken with lives saved. If she dies before doing so, she’ll end up as the demon’s plaything in hell (take it from me, that is not good). She has to learn what it’s like to be human again, by reaching out in friendship and struggling with love that she’s closed her heart to for 300 years. In addition, she’s searching for shards of a diamond lens left by a Sumerian god that will allow her to eliminate all the Sumerian demons left on Earth.

It’s obvious that a lot of research goes into your novels. How long does it usually take you to complete a novel from start to finish? Do you do all of your research yourself?
I do all of the research myself, and the books are very research-intensive, from information about the Sumerian pantheon of gods and goddesses (Sumeria was located where Iraq is today) to weapons both ancient and modern. I’d like to say that all the martial arts in the books come from experience, but sadly no. I have expert advisors, but my own venture into martial arts has been limited to sticking some throwing stars into a tree. I also like to take Maliha to locations around the world when searching for diamond shards or working on her current case. I really believe in providing the reader with an authentic experience, with everything from locations to action to emotions to paranormal abilities, inside a consistent world that I’ve built. From conception of the idea to the first book published was almost five years, due to piecing together the world where Sumerian gods and demons survived to the present day and developing characters to populate that world. It takes about nine months to write a Mortal Path book, and then it goes into the editing and production cycle. I’m not in a hurry to rush them out. I want to get everything right.

Are there any particular authors that influenced you growing up?
When I was growing up, I favored science fiction. I read Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card. These authors put great care into world-building, and I both admired that and studied it. My first books (written as Shirley Kennett) used virtual reality as an experiment in this kind of world-building. But that wasn’t enough for me! I wanted to create a world that you or I would blend right into, except that there’s an undercurrent of activity we know nothing about. As far as the Mortal Path books, it’s a good thing that we don’t know about it, because Maliha is the only thing standing between us and demons intent on chaos and destruction.

Did you always want to write?
Always! When I was eight years old, I had a story published in my school newspaper. I figured that was it–my career was launched, let the money roll in. I wrote all through high school and college and got very nice, handwritten rejection letters, the key word there being rejection. I got on with living, periodically having fits of story writing, but I had a lot of living to do before I said: “It’s now or never. Give it a shot.” And here I am, eight books later with a ninth on the way.

Is there anything that you absolutely have to have in order to write?
I assume you mean besides the Internet and my laptop. Hmm. Coffee. One or both of my cats on my desk. As few distractions as possible. My writing day is roughly 11pm to 6:30am. I love the dark, quiet house that totally frees my imagination, and I love to see the sunrise at the end of my writing session. I have a nickname of Night Writer.

When you’re not writing about kick-ass chicks, what do you like to do to unwind?
Mostly sleep. 🙂 I like to go out with my husband and talk over all the usual stuff plus story ideas (he is marvelous at getting me out of corners I’ve written myself into) over a late lunch or while walking in a park. I don’t have time for an exciting social life, but as long as I can connect with family I’m okay. I do love photography, though I’m not very good at it. I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve taken with my finger or my shadow in the picture. Every once in a while I manage a shot that’s halfway impressive.

Any teasers you can give us for Book 3?
Book 3 has a working title of Payment in Blood (and may change when my editor gets the manuscript) and is due out April 2012. There’s been extra time between books 2 and 3 because of family health concerns, which my editor was kind enough to work with me about. In book 3, one of Maliha’s group of close friends is in mortal danger, and she is ripped apart emotionally in her efforts to help.

Do you have any set plan for the number of books in the Mortal Path series?
There are seven diamond shards in the lens that will destroy all the demons, so it’s logical that there would be six or seven books to bring that to a conclusion. Honestly, my editor has something to say about that, and will let me write as long as the books are selling well. (Hint, hint.)

Any future projects or news you’d like to tell us about?
I have notes for another paranormal series (don’t say the Z word), and a novel about dreaming.

Stalk Dakota: Website
Buy Dark Time (Mortal Path 1): Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Buy Sacrifice (Mortal Path 2): Amazon | Barnes and Noble

33 Comments:

  1. Great interview – I always like to find out what authors "need" while writing and coffee plus as few distractions as possible seem to be THE thing 🙂 !

  2. Great interview!!! Future projects: a novel about dreaming, it sounds very interesting.

  3. Awesome interview. I love meeting new authors. I have heard of these books but havent read any Ill have to check it out.
    THanks

  4. Another great new author to meet. Loved the interview.

  5. Love meeting new authors! I have yet to hear of this series, but can't wait to go look for them! Sounds like a great series!

  6. sounds awesome

  7. That was an interesting interview. I love to read about authors and what goes on behind the novels.

  8. Want!
    Sounds amazing, my favorite question / answer was the last 😉
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Thanks for this lovely interview and great giveaway 😉
    I haven't read the first book yet, but soon I will …

  10. Offbeat Vagabond

    Great interview hon. For once I don't have to fill out the form, I already own this one, although a signed one would be great LOL! My goodness, talk about a calling, having your first story published for school when you are 8 years old? Truly amazing. Just saying great giveaway and great series, even though I am not on the second one yet 🙁 Thank you both for this and love the look for the new form hon 🙂

  11. Good interview. Would love to read this series. Sounds very interesting.
    Good luck Dakota!

  12. Mortal Path was great! I cannot wait to read Sacrifice. Great interview.

  13. The book sounds really good.

  14. Great interview. This series definitely sounds interesting. thanks for the chance at this one. :0)

  15. Dakota is a new-to-me author. Great interview!

  16. I've *almost* bought Mortal Path on a few occaisions. After this I'll have to get the decision right the next time!

  17. Wow! what a great interview… I just put this series on my "To-read" list!

  18. Thanks for the interview!

  19. Great interview. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

  20. This sounds like a great series and I just added it to me TBR list. Thanks for the interview.

  21. Awesome interview!! I've heard of this series but haven't got around to reading it, however i find that reading an interview of the author makes me want to:) Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    holz_twilight@msn.com

  22. This sounds great ^_^ Thanks so much for the interview

    faefever25@hotmail.com

  23. Lisa R/alterlisa

    Sounds like a totally awesome series. I have book one in my TBR pile. Thanks for reminding me why!

    (\___/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
    http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

  24. I love the fact that you do all your own research. That means to me that you are fully versed & knowledgeable on the subjects you write about. This is truly appreciated as it comes through in the writing.

    marypres@gmail.com

  25. melissasmeanderings

    Great interview…it is always interesting to see what authors use to get through the process!

  26. blackroze37 AT yahoo.com

    i dont know how i missed these books

  27. Hi Kristin and Dakota!
    Great interview, I'm looking forward to read your book. I always interesting to anything that connected to mythology (and in your book is Sumerian Myth)^_^

    Thanks for the giveaway

    sawamura_foxman@yahoo.com

  28. Jolene Allcock and Family

    Great interview, these books sound amazing. Can't wait to dive in 🙂

  29. Thanks for the chance!

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  30. Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway. 😀

    claroxide@yahoo.co.in

  31. Loved the interview. I'll have to check out Mortal Path and the rest of the series. Definitely going on my TBR list.

  32. Coffee and cats! Two things I adore around me when I read, it's nice to see you need them in order to write! Also, I like the authours you used to read!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  33. Stella (Ex Libris)

    Hi Dakota, thank you for the interesting and informative interview! 🙂

    If you could spend a day with a character from any novel, who would you like to spend the day with and what would you do?

    ps: I love your book covers they are so vibrant and stand out!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

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