Readers today can also find an exclusive excerpt from SACRIFICE, the next book in the Mortal Path series. Many thanks to Dakota for this sneak peak.
Please ask questions, leave a comment or just day hi. Dakota has graciously offered some great giveaways to celebrate the launch of her book. We have two signed copies of DARK TIME available and EVERY commentator will receive a promotional pen and bookmark. Dakota will be dropping by to respond from time to time. Check for complete giveaway details at the end of the post.
And now enough of my blathering, I turn the floor over to Dakota Banks. Welcome Dakota!
Guest Dakota Banks:
Thanks, Doug, for the privilege of talking with your readers today.
I knew I'd found a kindred spirit in you the instant I saw the photos of your library—except that yours is organized and mine is, well, not.
Dark Time was written as a true work of love, with no sure sell on the horizon. At that point in my writing, I was working in the suspense or thriller field, either on multiple book contracts or contracts obtained with a synopsis and a couple of chapters, so considering something in a new genre meant 1) I had to write the whole book before selling; 2) I had to appeal to a different reading audience, and without any vampires in the book; and 3) I probably needed a new agent with strong contacts in the new genre. It was partly pure excitement and partly a challenge.
I had been toying around with the idea of a story with a protagonist who was on the side of the little guy, bringing justice to situations where it might not otherwise exist. She had to be kick-ass and powerful but vulnerable at the core, with a lot of adventurous spirit and something big at stake in each book, for her personally and for the world. She started to sound like a superhero. I know that it's possible to do character development in graphic novels, and I enjoy reading them, but writing them? Not my thing.
A tragedy in the real world gave Dark Time the background it needed to finally gel in my mind. Among the images flowing in from the invasion of Iraq were those of the looting of the Baghdad Museum. Artifacts from Sumer lay smashed after surviving thousands of years. Light bulb in head: my story needs to be based in mythology. I started digging into Sumerian mythology in every spare moment I had. Wow! It was juicy and fresh. I had an angle for my book, but I put away the idea for several years. The truth is, I found the challenge too daunting. But when pieces of the story started leaking out into scenes and chapters, it just exploded into my life and knocked everything else aside. I knew the time had come to take the risk.
By now I had a name for my character: Maliha (Ma-LIE-ah) and an overall story arc. There are two arcs, really—Maliha's personal quest for redemption and her out-of-the-box struggle to kill all the remaining Sumerian demons on Earth, whom she feels are like chains around the ankles of the human race, preventing us from achieving our true potential. Freed of those chains of chaos, destruction, and war, what would we humans do? Okay, enough of the heavy stuff.
I had Maliha's huge lifespan to work with to come up with interesting action, and I make use of her memories of that time, both when she was Ageless as a slave to a Sumerian demon and later when she rebelled and became mortal with a twist. Among all the dramatic events possible with that length of time, I never lose track of the small things that mean so much to her. She returns to the cemetery of her colonial hometown to see the tombstone of her daughter Constanta, who died at birth. She's touring the Smithsonian in modern times and in a poignant moment finds a table on display in an Americana exhibit that her husband handmade for her, with her initials carved in the corner. She kisses a guy on a blind date and wonders if he's for her. She may be tough and powerful, decisive in action, but on the inside she can be just like the rest of us at times: emotional Jello.
I ended up with a book that was an urban fantasy/supernatural thriller with a strong element of romance. Hmm … What niche was this going to fit into? Finally I decided to just trust the readers—they're smart, they'll figure it out.
And that's how Dark Time was born.
I'd like to end with a sneak peek from the second book in the Mortal Path series, Sacrifice, seen here for SciFiGuy readers exclusively. It's not from the first chapter.
Thanks again Doug, it was fun. Blog readers, thanks for sharing a few moments of your time with me.
Thanks Dakota! It was wonderful to have you visit and I can't wait to sink my teeth into SACRIFICE.
- Leave a comment, or question about the book, the series, writing or urban fantasy in general, to be entered into the draw to win a signed copy of DARK TIME.
- Two names will be drawn at random. Two books to be given away.
- Giveaway runs until Midnight, August 11. I'll announce the winners next Wednesday.
- To receive a promotional pen and bookmark all you need do is leave a comment and email your snail mail address to me at scifiguy(at)scifiguy.ca with DAKOTA BANKS in the subject line.