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.
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?
The cover artist is Don Sipley. You can read a little about him here: http://dbanks.me/donsipley. 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 Awake, Fringe, Supernatural, 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 http://dbanks.me/DBtwit
My Social Networks
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That's 9 extra entries possible.
The Giveaway ends April 1st. (Since this was put up a day later than intended.)
Comment below & Good luck!