What inspired the premise for your story?
I always enjoyed reading about angels, demons, and other paranormal creatures. Almost ten years ago when I was in college, there were hardly any fantasy novels dealing with those themes. Now these stories are everywhere. But I think what really makes Angelus and the other books in The Books of Raziel series stand out from the others is the story itself. I really wanted to write something different, something not done before. And I hope I've succeeded. If you're asking me, though, what the inspiration for Angelus is in particular, I can only answer so much without spoiling the story. I'll say 'a mother's love' and leave it at that.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Since I was a child I loved animals of all kinds, so until I was in highschool, almost every occupation I contemplated had to do with them. I went from paleontologist (age 6) to marine biologist (up to age 11) and then ornithologist (till college). But in the background I was an avid reader and always loved to write my own stories. By the time I was in college, I figured out that was my true calling. I guess it only took about 20 years!
How long did it take to get your first book published?
From idea stage, to writing a draft that would never see the light of day, to getting an agent, and then rewriting the book again (and in total I did that two times before splitting what was one book into two, and then rewrote the series again to make two books into three), and finally snagging a publisher it took about five years. It seems that's typical for a first time author straight out of grad school like I was.
What were your aspirations as an author and have any of them come true?
My top aspiration as an author was simply for people to read my novels, and hopefully, enjoy them. In that sense, I've accomplished what I set out to do in a way that satisfies me. Anyone who sets out to write just to make money is on a fool's errand. And any author worth their salt knows that!
What have you learned about the publishing industry since you’ve signed that first contract?
I've learned so much I could probably write an essay. A lot has changed in the past decade in the publishing world. When I signed my book contract, e-books were a brand new detail on the publishing horizon, and no respectable author started out by self-publishing. You can see how that's different now! But the most important life lesson I've taken away is to be more forgiving of myself. Authors are only human, and we always deserve to go easy on ourselves, to know we have the right to grow and learn over the years. That's hard to keep in mind when you have the pressure of performing to expectations, but it's a writer's strength and tenacity that determine whether they'll continue in their career over the years, or just eb a flash in the pan. Your dreams never have to be over anymore.
Books of Raziel Trilogy
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Paranormal
On-Sale: February 9, 2016
E-book ISBN: 9780062069436
A Harper Voyager Trade Paperback Original
In the heart-pounding conclusion to The Books of Raziel trilogy, Angela discovers that she holds the keys to both Heaven and Hell, and that angels, demons, and all the creatures in between will stop at nothing to possess her...
The war started by three powerful angel siblings - Raziel, Lucifel, and Israfel - has divided the kingdoms of both Heaven and Hell. Now the destruction is spilling over into our world.
The last hope for a crumbling world is the Archon, also known as the human Angela Mathers. Angela alone can successfully oppose Lucifel and open Raziel’s Book for the power of good rather than evil. But to do so would mean murdering her best friend, a fact Angela refuses to face.
Now Angela sits on the throne of Hell, fulfilling a prophecy of ruin. But ruin does not always mean destruction.....sometimes it means revolution.
Genesis – The Story So Far
Before the beginning of all things, there was a Mother who sang and carried the stars within her.
Worry consumed her because often the stars near her heart burned and jostled, as if fighting one another. Then the unthinkable happened, and she gave birth to twins long before the appointed time. These children were meant to be equal in every way, but from the stars one twin decided to claim dominion over our universe. He attacked his sibling, murdering him, and from then on a fragile balance weighed toward the side of shadows.
The Mother who has carried these gods fell into the deepest despair and took her punishment to the depths of the eternal Abyss.
Innumerable cycles of time passed before an angel named Raziel found her again.
Raziel was one of three powerful sibling angels, and they had also been told their purpose was to share equal rule over the universe. Yet the jealously and rivalry between two of them, Israfel and Lucifel, grew to a feverish pitch, and upon returning to his home in Heaven, Raziel found his sister, Lucifel, instigating the infamous War that would divide the angels forever into two opposing kingdoms.
It was a dreadful time of blood and feathers falling like the snow.
Raziel was the last to fall. Horrified and determined to end the bloodshed, he had confronted God and begged for intervention to stop Lucifel’s rebellion. Instead, he plummeted to his death in full view of his siblings, one of whom loved him more than life itself.
The glorious time of Israfel’s rule as Archangel in Heaven was over.
Lucifel too had failed to claim the crown she so desperately desired, and she fled to her new kingdom of Hell. But the Throne of Hell was little more than a prison, and Lucifel found herself swiftly jailed by the angels who had once worshipped her. They called themselves demons, and though their kingdom remained forever dark and dismal, they never forgot the glories of long ago.
This truce between angels and demons could not last. Instead, Lucifel’s influence grew from the darkness, and her twisted ideals seeped throughout the universe. Seeking the mysterious power contained in Raziel’s Book, one of his greatest treasures, it is claimed she means to destroy the universe that mocks her suffering.
The last home for a crumbling world is a being called the Archon, also known as Angela Mathers. Angela is human, but her soul is protected by the spirit of Raziel. She alone can successfully oppose Lucifel and open Raziel’s Book for the power of good rather than evil. However, the Book is not a thing but a person, and Angela knows that to open the Book would mean murdering her best friend, Sophia. She has refused to do so, seemingly sentencing the universe to a fate of silence worse than death, because it would be one without resurrection.
Angela Mathers firmly believed that even Hell could not separate her from her friend. She suffered, and bled, and fought in a twisted demonic maze to save the Book from destruction, only to unwittingly allow Lucifel to escape back to Heaven.
Now Angela sits on the Throne of Hell, fulfilling a prophecy of Ruin. But Ruin does not always mean destruction. Sometimes it means Revolution. Crowns pass from one person to the next, yet it takes a special soul to heal the burdens of all.
The Mother’s song no longer echoes throughout the universe, and new notes wait to be revealed. Now, the moment of change has finally arrived. The end of a cycle of pain has begun.
For through souls have hurt, and bled, and cried, the light ever returns in a rushing, relentless tide.
Praise for Sabrina Benulis and The Books of Raziel Trilogy:
“[Benulis’] unique take on religion and angels is truly innovative. With just enough left unresolved, Covenant perfectly leads into the upcoming final book of the trilogy”
— Romantic Times Magazine on Covenant
“These angels can be vindictive and cruel, more human than you might expect and oozing supernatural abilities…. If you think you have the guts to take on this novel pick it up.”
— Boulder Examiner on Covenant
“A dark, bold story.”
— Lexington Literature Examiner on Covenant
“Benulis writes a no-holds-barred tale of destruction, love, power, and friendship. Everything you thought you knew about God, the Devil, angels and demons will be wiped away and replaced with a world so terribly beautiful that you will yourself gazing out into the night sky, hoping against hope that magic is real. Her characters have depth and 3-deminsional personalities, while her scenery, complete with candlelight and stain-glass windows, emphasizes the primal battles that humans go through on a daily basis.”
— Tulsa Books Examiner on Archon
“… Benulis uses lush descriptions and larger than life characters to tell the story of a battle between Heaven and Hell…She proves herself as a force to be reckoned with… I will definitely be on the lookout for the next installment in her book of Raziel series so I can grab it up and pour over each page.”
— Suspense Magazine on Archon
About the Author:
Sabrina Benulis graduated with a masters in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She currently resides in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania with her husband and a spoiled cockatiel.