Demons be warned there's a new Queen in town and her name is Dakota Banks! Author of the adventurous series Mortal Path agreed to undergo a bombardment of varying questions, from the peeps that be sheeps. Katie and I welcomed our nerdy heartthrob Richard on this interview, can he handle all the estrogen swarming around? Read below and find out. ;) We hope you all enjoy! (and if not, please keep that information to yourself :P lol)
Traveling the world. Saving mankind. 3 Sheep and 1 Assassin meet.
Amber: As a child what was your favorite series or author?
When I was young, I read widely in science fiction. It’d be hard to pin down just one author, so I’ll name Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, and Frank Herbert. And Orson Scott Card, but he came along later.
Katie: If you were stranded on a deserted island name one item you could not live without?
Water. A computer with solar batteries so I could write. I can’t seem to stick to the rules about naming one thing.
Katie: lol. Yes I see, but I’ll let it slide
Amber: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Ever since I stopped holding books upside down and pretending to read, and started holding them right side up and actually reading. Words were wonderful all by themselves, and if I put them in the right order, people could understand the thoughts I had. Therefore, writing = mindreading, a powerful notion at a young age. I started writing short stories when I was eight years old.
Katie: What’s the craziest thing you did in college?
I didn’t do anything crazy in college. I was an engineering student, and we all pegged zero on the scale of crazy things. Unless you count rolling across the open spaces of the computer center late at night on wheeled chairs trying to smash into each other. See? Zero.
Katie: I don’t know Dakota, I myself have played a little wheeled chair bumper cars. It can get a little nuts!
Richard: If you could choose any figure from history to hit in the face with a pie, who would it be?
Depends on the contents of the pie. If the pie is the basic yummy lemon cream, I’d go for Harriet Tubman, the inspirational former slave who helped many escape on the Underground Railroad. I admire her bravery, steadfast belief in freedom, and her resourcefulness. I’d like to think that if I lived in her era, she and I would have been good friends and co-conspirators. So after I tossed the pie, we’d laugh, she’d wash her face, and we’d sit down to a meeting to plan the escape of more slaves.
Now if the pie is the sort that has razor blades hidden in the mound of cream, I’d be delighted to launch it at Adolf Hitler. In fact, I’d build a pie-launcher for maximum speed and accuracy. Oh dear, do I sound too nasty?
Amber: I like your style!
Amber: Are Maliha’s personality and traits inspired from someone you know personally?
Absolutely not. Well, she does share with me a desire to see justice done, but you can say that about many characters, so that’s too generic. Maliha is what I would like to be, except for that part of her life when she was a demon’s assassin. I wonder what choice I would have made, if I were in her place, tied to a stake, burning, betrayed and bereft? Would I sell my soul to the demon or let the flames consume me? How can any of us know unless we were in her shoes? I don’t think she was wearing shoes at the time, so maybe we could never know.
Katie: If you could be any fictional character who would it be and why?
I would be Frodo Baggins, because I strongly admire his ability to rise above his normal role in life to meet a challenge he couldn’t even envision at the start. I know that he wasn’t technically successful; in the last few moments of his quest he was overcome by evil and refused to destroy the ring. I understand that and can still admire a character who isn’t 100% perfect. Doesn’t “Dakota of the Nine Fingers” have a nice ring to it?
Katie: Lol. Why yes it does!
Richard: If your life story were optioned to be a movie, what genre would it fall under and who would you tap to direct it?
Are you kidding? Who let you in here, anyway? You ask weird questions. My life is so boring it would have to be a documentary, and I don’t think Clint Eastwood would be knocking at my door. I did think about an animated feature based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The seven dwarves represent the books I’ve already written and Prince Charming who comes to wake me up with a kiss is my latest book, Sacrifice, which I so hope will become a best-seller. I think the Farrellys could do justice to Dakota’s Quest, don’t you?
Amber: With all the science fiction out there that is based mostly on vampires and aliens, what made you choose demons?
I wanted to stick with ancient Sumeria, and they don’t have much folklore on vampires. None, actually, that I could find. Aliens, though … I have that one covered. The Sumerians believed that their gods were aliens who came here about 450,000 years ago from their planet Nibiru. They fixed things up nicely on Earth (like a vacation home, I suppose), and after a while created humans as slaves to do the tedious work of plowing the fields, making beer, and so on when they got tired of doing it themselves.
When their planet came around again on its long elliptical orbit, the gods left the vacation home in charge of the freed humans. I propose in my Mortal Path books that the gods left behind seven demons on Earth to keep all the humans in line by creating chaos, death, and destruction. After all, how can the human race progress with this kind of anchor around our collective feet? While they were gone, the gods didn’t want their creations getting uppity.
The Sumerian gods are due to return to Earth when their planet (Google Planet X for details) has its next close approach. That is supposed to be in December 2012, the time when other cultures have prophesied big changes on Earth. Could it be that the Sumerian gods won’t be happy with the way we’ve messed with their vacation home?
I didn’t say I believe all this. It’s just interesting. I don’t even bring out the alien part in the books. I don’t want to be on the shelf in the store where the people shop who wear aluminum hats to protect themselves from alien transmissions.
Amber: Haha. That is the best part of the store! Lol
Katie: Growing up was there a teacher who inspired you?
Yes. My fifth grade teacher was sure I was going to be a writer long before I became one. She gave me extra reading and writing assignments that I snarfed up, and once told me that if I didn’t become a writer, she was going to come back as a ghost and haunt me until I did. Can you imagine your elementary school teacher harping at you from beyond the grave? Sounds like a Stephen King novel.
Katie: Oh holy undead gods no! Mr. Beckmen DO NOT come from beyond the grave to harp me! Lol
Richard: If you could pick one weapon from your book to use which would it be and why?
I am in no way a martial artist, although I have successfully stuck throwing stars into a tree. (Not as easy as it sounds, for you people who are laughing out there. The stars are heavier than I expected and have sharp tippy-points.)
If I could use one weapon of Maliha’s, it would be her whip sword. This is a sword with two long, flexible blades that can be snapped like a whip. The blades separate and can work independently, depending on the skill of the user. If you are not an expert with it, the blades could fly back at you and cut off your own limbs. Maliha wears her whip sword coiled around her waist in a special holder that prevents her from being cut. When she pulls the belt buckle, the sword unwinds (like a measuring tape coming out of its coil) and is ready for use. I have seen sparring done with whip swords and my heart was in my mouth the whole time, for fear one of the men would lose control of the weapon. I would choose this weapon because of its potential for surprise and its deadliness.
Amber: Alright. This is going on my Christmas list! How cool is that?!
Amber: What is your favorite movie of all time and why?
It’s Lord of the Rings, if I can count that as one movie. I’m fascinated with the story and I’ve read it at least ten times. I thought the movie version did a great job of telling the story, was beautifully filmed, and I even loved the musical score.
Katie: I am deathly afraid of bees, irrational as that may seem. Lol. Do you have any phobias?
I don’t consider fear of bees irrational. With killer bees moving northward into the U.S., there is every reason to fear that type of bee, one that is aggressive and attacks in swarms. As for placid bees that don’t attack unless you do something to them—if you’re in an area susceptible to killer bees, how do you know the difference? By my measure, you don’t have any phobias.
I’m another matter. I have two. The first is for large biting flies, like horseflies. I’m terrified of these far out of proportion to the damage they could do. I have been bitten by a horsefly more than once (used to live on acreage) and it’s painful, but nowhere near as bad as the abject terror I have of them. They circle their prey (me) at a high speed, and like to land on the back. I have sat in a car for fifteen minutes because there was a deerfly sunning itself on my side window and I was afraid to get out. This doesn’t extend to any flies smaller than a deerfly. I can ignore those, or treat them as a nuisance. So, irrational.
The second phobia no one is going to understand because it sounds so weird, and even I can’t imagine where it came from. Here goes: I’m afraid of mossy rocks seen through clear water, as would happen when canoeing over them. The first instance was while I was canoeing. I was completely taken by surprise and sat there shaking and staring down at the rocks. This gives me chills just thinking about it. Plain rocks won’t do. There has to be moss involved. The human brain is strange.
Katie: I fell hard on my butt walking across some of those evil rocks in a lake. I totally get what you’re saying.
Amber: No worries Dakota. I can’t handle touching construction paper. I get goosebumps and cringe just thinking about the texture of it. Totally understand. Lol.
Amber: In this series there is a background flavor, for lack of a better word, of religious right and wrong. Maliha is trying to save her soul and destroy the demon brothers, who are sons of a god. With all the mythology out there, the Greeks being the most popular, why did you decide to go with the Sumerian beliefs?
I’m an amateur archaeologist with a strong interest in Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. In modern times, that’s Iraq. Near the beginning of the war in Iraq, there was a period of time when the Iraqi National Museum was unguarded, right when American troops were entering Baghdad. Looters and vandals came into the museum, stealing some ancient artifacts for private gain and destroying others as vandals do across the world. This was all over the news for a short time and then the story submerged into archaeological trade journals, where there was a kind of mass mourning for the lost pieces. This was the germ of the Mortal Path idea—that something besides artifacts had survived from the Sumerian period. It took a lot of time and research to put it all together!
And now come our “Famous” (hopefully someday) rapid fire questions! Clear your head and don’t think about it before shouting out an answer! I realize this is like telling someone not to think about a white elephant but give it a shot anyways! Lol
Katie: Mexican or Sushi
Amber: Wheat or Rye
Richard: Mashed Potato or Baked Potato
Katie: Halloween or New Years
Katie: Yes! Me too! Halloween all the way baby! Lol
Amber: Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston
Amber: Yes! I love Angie!
Katie: Shaken or Stirred
Amber and Katie: (this is also a famous question for us. Lol. Choose wisely!) Coke or Pepsi
Katie: HAHAHA In your face Amber! You rock Dakota! Score another point for Team Coke!!!!
Richard: Scrambled or Over Easy
Katie: Wolverine or Iron Man
Katie: I love you Dakota. Lol
Amber: Agreed! This man is soo sexy!
Amber: Camaro or Corvette (I love fast cars!)
Richard: Appletini or Scotch on the rocks
Thank you so much Dakota for taking the time to sit down with us and let us pick your brain! We are honored that you let us into the brilliant and wacky place that is your mind. Lol.
And now on to the contest! As per usual there are only two things required to enter into this awesome drawing for a copy of Sacrifice and a tote bag, both signed by Dakota! Here we go!
1. Your name
2. If you were a witch, what would go into your demon brew?
Contest ends Sunday, October 24th at midnight! The winner will be announced on Tuesday, October 26th. Good luck!