Guest Blog by Tes Hilaire, author of Deliver Me from Darkness
“Paladin?” Karissa asked sharply, gaze lifting from the meal Logan had made her.
Logan’s eyes narrowed. “How much do you know about us?”
She pushed away the messy remains of her uneaten sandwich in exasperation, folding her arms across her chest. “I have no idea what you are talking about. I thought Paladin were some sort of elite warrior back during the Crusades or something.”
He shook his head. “The name was hijacked. The first Paladin came into being centuries before the Crusades started.”
“Came into being?”
“Created, by the one God. Each Paladin warrior was chosen from volunteers who stepped forward from His ranks of angels. They were given various gifts and sent to earth to protect His children from the evils seeping into the world.”
Whoa. God? Angels? Karissa fidgeted on her stool, unable to make eye contact. He was waiting for some sort of answer though, so she gave him the only one she could. “That’s…I don’t know.”
“Hard to take in?”
Excerpt from Deliver Me from Darkness © Tes Hilaire, Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2012
Oh yeah, I’ll say, and harder still for Karissa to learn that Roland, her “kidnapper” and a vampire, had once been one of these elite warriors. The only person who may have been more surprised by these revelations was perhaps me. No really, when I started writing Deliver Me from Darkness I had no intention of writing a warrior story. Nor did I have any thoughts whatsoever that my vampire hero was in fact a fallen angel. At that point I was merely trying to iron out who my protagonists were and at the very beginnings of my brainstorming for Deliver Me from Darkness all I had was a vampire hero, Roland (badly in need of redemption) and a heroine, Karissa (who, though spunky, hadn’t yet made it beyond her basic role of typical damsel). It wasn’t until I’d made it through the first couple chapters that I came to terms with the fact that though my hero and heroine sizzled on the page, the actual story wasn’t going to go anywhere without help.
Luckily I’d already inserted within the pages the one thing that had the ability to create the conflict I needed: Logan, Roland’s honorable best friend and the one man who’d stuck by my hero’s side after Roland became a vampire. I hadn’t considered Logan all that important before, and had even considered cutting him from the pages though thankfully hadn’t as he quickly became the focus of those driving questions that kicked my plot in gear. See, what if Logan had done more than “stick by” Roland? What if Logan was some sort of hunter whose life goal was to eradicate the likes of his best friend from the world? What if Roland had also been one of these hunters? And, oh, better, what if Logan had been assigned to kill Roland after he was turned, but hadn’t because Logan believed in his friend’s inherent goodness? What if that loyalty was now challenged because of the arrival of our heroine Karissa? My story was coming together with all kinds of potential for conflict. Now all I had to do was to hammer out the details, which meant, ugh, research.
By this point I knew I wanted to find some sort of legendary group of men of which I could use to form the basis for my warrior/hunter culture, but other than that I was pretty much adrift. I’m not sure what started me on the crusades, other than it’s a bit of history that’s always fascinated me. Regardless, it was during my dredging of information that I stumbled upon The Song of Roland. One of the oldest surviving major works of French literature, the song romanticizes the 8th century Battle of Roncevaux Pass in which Roland, commanding the rear guard of Charlemagne's army, is betrayed by Ganelon and ambushed by their enemies.
The song is embroiled in political and personal intrigue and paints none of the players as angelic visages or infallible warriors, but there was something of interest: It is the first literary work to mention the twelve Paladins. Twelve religious warriors, a number representative of King Author’s round table and the number of disciples in Christian scripture. I thought, what if these men had been in this battle, not as a product of political or cultural intolerance of the time, but on their own mission? What if they were taking orders directly from a higher power, their goal to keep religious artifacts (a coveted prize often at the foundation of the Crusades) out of the hands of true evil? What if my Paladins were actually volunteer angels come down from Heaven to protect His children from Lucifer’s evil army?
I turned back to the song, reading again of Ganelon and his sense of jealousy, his paranoia that Roland had set him up to be killed. The character imperfections I’d originally been frowning over became useful rather than a detriment to my goal of creating a band of heroic warriors. For what is more heroic than a man who overcomes his faults? So my Paladins developed human foibles and emotions. And these human qualities—foreign to these volunteer angels until now, but necessary to understand the war of temptation that Lucifer wages—became one of the greatest challenges they face. And something that they must learn to embrace if they have hope of winning their war against evil and finding true love.
DELIVER ME FROM DARKNESS BY TES HILAIRE – IN STORES FEBRUARY 2012
A STRANGER IN THE NIGHT...
He had once been a warrior of the Light, one of the revered Paladin. A protector. But now he lives in darkness, and the shadows are his sanctuary. Every day is a struggle to overcome the bloodlust. Especially the day Karissa shows up at his doorstep.
COMES KNOCKING ON THE DOOR…
She is light and bright and everything beautiful—despite her scratches and torn clothes. Every creature of the night is after her. So is every male Paladin. Because Karissa is the last female of their kind. But she is his. He may not have a soul, but he can't deny his heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daphne Award-winning author Tes Hilaire started creating whole new worlds to escape upstate New York’s harsh winters before finally fleeing to sultry North Carolina. Her stories are edgy, exciting, and bring a hint of dark fantasy to paranormal romance. And no one ever has to shovel snow. For more, visit www.teshilaire.com.
GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of Deliver Me from Darkness for 2 lucky winners from US or Canada. Enter by leaving a comment! Last day to enter: Feb 24, 2012.