Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Only the Lonely - Dakota Banks Writes from the Supernatural Underground!

I've heard all my writing life that writing is a lonely occupation. It's true that the only players in real life are your mind and your computer. But that doesn't mean you have to spend those long hours writing alone. You have your characters for company.

While writing a book, I become very tangled up in the lives of the characters, especially the series characters who continue from book to book. I'd love to meet them in real life. Well, not the villains, especially.

Maliha Crayne, the  protagonist of my Mortal Path series, is a complicated person, starting with the fact that she's over 300 years old. If you passed her on the street, you'd see a beautiful woman in her late twenties or early thirties, very fit, with a confident walk, and alert. Someone who wouldn't automatically smile at you or even acknowledge your presence, yet you'd be sure she'd sized you up--predator or prey--with a glance. Maliha doesn't open up easily, but if you do make it to her inner circle of friends, she'll risk everything for you. She used to be a demon's assassin, but now she saving lives, working toward specific goals. She's a powerful martial artist and can see auras, run very fast, and heal fast. I love being in her company. She's exciting, unpredictable, and does everything I wish I could do.

Maliha's friend Hound was a medic in the Viet Nam war. He came home severely injured, but this many years later he gets around well enough with his body scarred. He's a private eye with shady government contacts. Maliha uses him for investigations and he sometimes travels in the field with her. He's impulsive, argumentative, and sometimes rough, yet he can be funny too. He has a strong moral code of his own devising that seems to allow killing anyone he determines needs killing.There are a lot of fascinating stories in his life, and I'd love to take him to a bar and listen to them over a few beers.

Amaro is another of Maliha's circle of friends. He was saved from a Brazilian shantytown when gang violence threatened. He's young, a hottie, wealthy, and could have any woman he wanted. A former bad boy hacker, he now makes his living helping companies with their computer security. His skills are crucial to Maliha, since he alters computer records before and after the fact to keep her exploits hidden. Amaro is lighthearted and a free spirit, although he takes his computer work seriously. His sister Rosie nags him to settle down and have a family as she has done, but he's not ready for that. Amaro could lavish all his attention on me, and I definitely wouldn't be lonely!

Xia Yanmeng rounds out those of Maliha's friends who know about her abilities and goals. He and his wife are survivors of China's Cultural Revolution. Yanmeng and Maliha love each other deeply but it isn't the passionate kind. Yanmeng is a remote viewer who can see Maliha anywhere in the world, if she permits it. Yanmeng is an excellent martial artist, but generally doesn't go with Maliha in the field. He is a very spiritual person who is learning to spend time on higher planes of existence, and is gradually leaving behind Earthly concerns. For now, he is someone Maliha can talk to who will give her an absolutely honest answer, and he serves as a guide for her on her own quest. There is so much to admire in and learn from Yanmeng, I don't think I'd ever tire of his company.

Finally, Maliha has a friend who doesn't know about her age and her compelling backstory. Randy Baxter, corporate analyst in her late twenties, is the girlfriend Maliha can socialize with and get away from all of the burdens and serious nature of her life. She and Randy go to clubs, talk about dates, and talk to each other late at night on the phone. Randy is pure escape for Maliha, and even sets her up on the blind date where she meets her lover Jake for the first time. Jake seems wonderful, but Maliha knows he's holding something back. With Jake, she always thinks, "I love him, but...". Whether Randy is excited about her new love or in the dumps about breaking up, she's interesting and a bit of a challenge to know. I like her, and she's not so different from real life friends, so working with her in a book comes easily.

With this group clamoring for attention when I write, there's no time to even consider loneliness!  What fictional characters would you like to spend time with, and why? Anyone who's company you just couldn't stand?

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Used by Permission of Dakota Banks


  1. Hey Dakota,

    I'd love to meet and talk with Maliha. All of us wonder about the time she was living and died, only to be given a chance to become a demon's assassin. I think there must be one thing in each of our lives that would "break" us and that was certainly to be betrayed and killed, as well as, you might say, having your child murdered.

    Having the potential death of another child bring her back was a twist in her life that changed her would be wonderful for her to share and, really, to learn from her in regaining "ourselves..."

  2. Hi Glenda,

    In book 3 of the series, Maliha turns introspective (don't worry, there's plenty of action!) about the morality of what she's doing and what's really important to her when a member of her team and her love life are both in jeopardy. Plan on spending more time in her head, sharing what she's going through as she walks the mortal path, which turns out to have a lots of twists in it.