A demon's assassin for centuries, Maliha Crayne has gone rogue, determined to save a life for every one she's destroyed in order to free herself from an eternity of enslavement, damnation, and excruciating torment. But as the powers that sustained her in the past fade, she is wary of trusting those closest to her-especially her lover, Jake. Should Maliha listen to her heart or the alarms going off in her head? Then her closest friends begin to disappear, one by one. Amid her anger, suspicion, and sorrow, she feels her life spiraling out of control.
Worse still, a beautiful, Renaissance murderess is recruiting Maliha as her new assassin. Maliha is turning into a lethal puppet with an evil Immortal pulling the strings, forced to kill innocents or see her missing friends die horribly. Suddenly trapped in a moral no-man's land, Maliha is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't…and time is rapidly running out.
Follow the Mortal Path with Maliha.It’s the adventure of several lifetimes.
Our Interview with Dakota Banks!
First, I’d like thank Julia and Rex Robot Reviews for the wonderful opportunity to visit this blog!
Deliverance is book three of the Mortal Path series. Maliha Crayne, heroine of the series, was born in 1672. She was a wife and healer in the American colonies when she was falsely accused of being a witch by a jealous woman. While burning at the stake, Maliha was snatched from the flames by an ancient Sumerian demon and offered a chance at immortal life—if she agreed to serve him as an assassin. With her body afire, it seemed like a good idea, but hundreds of years later her conscience re-emerged. Rebelling against the demon, she became a rogue with the dual goals of redeeming her soul and eliminating all the Sumerian demons from Earth. She’s had to feel her way back to being human and opening her heart to friendship and love.
The Mortal Path series is based on Sumerian mythology. I love studying cultures and mythologies of the world, and Sumeria’s is one of my favorites. The people of Sumer lived about 5,000-8,000 years ago in the land area that is now Iraq. They believed their gods came from another planet, Nibiru, that came close to Earth every 3,600 years. When the planet was in its close location, the gods came to Earth to look for gold. They stayed for hundreds of thousands of years, and returned to Nibiru on another one of its 3,600 year approaches. Ancient astronaut theories abound, due to artwork left by the Sumerians that seems to portray space ships, alien shapes, and diagrams of the solar system which the Sumerians couldn’t have known about. Next up, Alien Autopsy! One explanation among many for the end of the Mayan calendar this December is that Nibiru is approaching Earth again, and the Sumerian gods are coming back to judge how we’ve been doing in their absence. Hmm, I hope we measure up. That was probably way more than you wanted to know about Sumerian mythology.
Since Deliverance is urban fantasy, I needed a way to make all those past events relevant to our current time. So I imagined that when the Sumerian gods left Earth, seven nasty demons were left behind and still live; it was one of them that recruited Maliha.
If Maliha Crayne had a playlist, what songs would she include?
Since Maliha is nearly 350 years old, her playlist would reflect the music she came to love over her long lifetime as well as her current favorites. Here’s a small sample of her eclectic list.
- Antonio Vivaldi – The Four Seasons (1725)
- George Frideric Handel – Messiah (1742)
- Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 (1807)
- Giuseppe Verdi – Requiem (1874)
- Louis Armstrong – Stardust (1930)
- Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
- John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1965)
- Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone (1965)
- John Lennon – Imagine (1971)
- Grateful Dead – Brown Eyed Woman (1972)
- The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want (1973)
- Michael Jackson – Thriller (1984)
- Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You (1992)
- Mariah Carey – Hero (1993)
- Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On (1997)
- Rihanna – Disturbia (2008)
- Enrique Iglesias – I Like How It Feels (2011)
- Adele – Set Fire to the Rain (2011)
- Paul McCartney – My Valentine (2012)
Who would you choose, from another series, to kick ass with Maliha Crayne?
That would be another assassin, of course! Gin Blanco, from Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassins series, could partner up with Maliha for her missions. They both like edged weapons! Gin, though, is a bit hard and dare I say, bloodthirsty compared to Maliha, who’s focused on redemption. I don’t think redemption is even a fleeting thought in Gin’s mind.
What is your absolute favorite scene in DELIVERANCE that you could *never* cut?
Most of my favorite scenes have spoilers in them, but here’s one I absolutely love, showing a different side of Maliha. Let me set the stage. Maliha’s invaded the home of Victoria. Victoria has a ticket to an event Maliha needs to attend, so Maliha will knock out Victoria, take the ticket, dress in Victoria’s clothing, and go to the event pretending to be Victoria. Bartlett is a Golden Retriever, and Norman is Victoria’s absent husband.
It was nearly time to leave. Maliha turned off the television and removed the prepared syringe from her briefcase. As she approached, Victoria eyed the needle.
“My arms hurt and I’m hungry,” Victoria said.
“I have to pee. You can’t leave me like this.” Maliha considered. Victoria wouldn’t like to be found in a wet bed. Norman wouldn’t like it. And I should care? She looked at Victoria, who had a pleading look on her face. Bartlett was flapping his tail against the bed. I’ll do it for Bartlett. He wouldn’t like a wet bed either—might get blamed for it. I can’t believe I’m doing this. If anybody ever finds out, I swear I will die of embarrassment.
“Stand up,” Maliha said. Victoria, who’d been lying down for several hours, stumbled to her feet.
“Hold still. I’m going to put the cuffs on in front.” Victoria swayed a bit but offered no resistance. With her hands cuffed in front, she could manage in the bathroom.
“Potty break,” Maliha said, walking her over to the door. She pushed Victoria into the room and politely turned her back near the door. She could see the woman in a mirror, so she’d have plenty of warning if Victoria decided to attack her.
“Hurry up.” “You’re making me nervous.” “Five seconds.” Ah. Success. With Victoria back on the bed, Maliha injected her. “Am I going to get high?” “No. Just relax.” When Victoria was sound asleep, Maliha uncuffed her, got dressed quickly, and went downstairs. Bartlett padded along with her.
“Hey, you’re supposed to stay upstairs.” He sat down and looked at her expectantly. “You too?” she said. There was a leash hanging up by the back door. She took Bartlett outside, and when they came in, she opened the bag of dog food she’d brought and filled his bowl. “Can I leave now?”
What kind of research did DELIVERANCE require?
The better question might be, what kind of research didn’t it require? The Sumerian mythology that forms the basis of the series needs research, as do the locations Maliha travels to, the weapons and fighting actions that she uses, the latest technical gadgets mentioned in the book, surveillance techniques, surgery suites, security measures, comas, learning about urban running, making up an entire conspiracy that fit historical facts, the floor plan of the Art Institute in Chicago, the layout of a public square in New Zealand, what happens when a man takes a really hard kick to his privates, resorts in the Greek Isles, nasty historical villains, and waste treatment plants. I’m sure I left some things out.
Can you tell us some of your favorite Urban Fantasy novels?
I’m a fan of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, Patricia Brigg’s Alpha and Omega series, Kim Harrison’s The Hollows, Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series, and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I’m caught up on some of these series and not so caught up on others, but they’re always on my must-have list.
Tell us about yourself! Three fun facts about Dakota!
I love stuffed animals, especially Beanie Babies and (rolls eyes) take a favorite with me when I travel to hotels to keep on my nightstand. They pack well in a suitcase.
I like spiders and snakes.
One of Maliha’s favorite meditation images is actually mine. I use it daily. I first had it while under the influence of a dose of medicinal cocaine in a hospital before nasal surgery, years ago. That’s medicinal. Hospital. Surgery. Are we straight?
Thanks for stopping by! Are there any other releases or works in progress that you're excited about?
I’m working on Mortal Path Book 4, and I also have an adventure series for middle graders that my agent is submitting. You wouldn’t guess it from the Mortal Path books, but I also love writing for children, especially the 9-12 year age range.
Thanks, Julia! I had a great time with this interview.
DELIVERANCE Book Trailer!
Dakota is giving away an amazing Mortal Path Swag Bag!!
Swag bag containing: a tote bag, three signed books, pens, bookmarks and a calculator!
Giveaway ends April 21st, 2012.
Giveaway ends April 21st, 2012.