Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Interview with Sabrina Benulis - December 20, 2011

Please welcome Sabrina Benulis to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Archon (The Books of Raziel 1), Sabrina's debut novel, will be published on December 27, 2011.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Sabrina:  My most interesting writing quirk is that I'm developing the bad habit of needing to be in my pajamas when I sit down at the computer. The weather also affects my writing. When it is sunny, I tend to be more enthusiastic, and, well . . . cheerful!

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Sabrina:  Some of my favorite writers include Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn), Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Stephen King, and Anne Rice. I also love the classics The Lord of the Flies, Wuthering Heights, and anything by Edgar Allen Poe. H.P. Lovecraft has also influenced any creepiness in my stories. Besides books, a lot of inspiration comes to me from movies, and also from Japanese anime and manga which is a personal hobby of mine.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sabrina:  I'm a mix of plotter and pantser. I need to know the overall framework of the plot, and most especially the end or goal I am working toward, but I find that the small details tend to develop best spur of the moment. In that sense, my subconscious tends to do a lot of the work.

TQ:   Describe Archon.

SabrinaArchon is the first installment of a trilogy called The Books of Raziel, a gothic paranormal fantasy series centering around the existence of a dark messiah known only in higher occult circles as the Archon. This person is suspected to be the reincarnation of a vengeful angel who created an artifact that could determine the ultimate victor in Heaven and Hell's eternal battle. The story begins in Luz, the Vatican-owned island city of a future where people with red hair are suspected to be this dark messiah. My protagonist Angela Mathers has suffered for her red hair all of her life, and arrives in Luz to begin a new life after the untimely death of her family. Little does she know, she is about to enter a world of dangerous intrigues and shifting alliances, where even angels are not quite what she has been led to believe.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Archon?

Sabrina:  I first began Archon six years ago in college, merely writing for the love of it. I always wanted to write a story about angels, but I knew it was going to be drastically different than anything that had been done before. Once I thought of my characters and fell in love with them, the story continued to evolve into its present form.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Archon?

Sabrina:  I have always loved reading about mythology and different religions of the world, so much of that was in the back of my head when I wrote the book. I did, however, do a lot of reading on angels in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and then created my own world from that and ran with it.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Sabrina:  The easiest character to write was Troy. She sprang fully formed into my head from the first instant. Unfortunately, you only get a small glimpse of her in the first novel. Her role increases drastically as the story continues. Angela--the main character--was the hardest at first. It took me a while to really get into her head and figure out just what made her tick. She is a very reserved person, guarded, and admittedly damaged. Perhaps it is very similar to getting to know such a person in real life. They make you work for it.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Archon?

Sabrina:  I love the scene where Angela and Troy finally meet. There, the terrible beauty that is the supernatural is in full display. Archon is not a book the glorifies the supernatural as much as it reminds us just what makes angels and demons so alien, powerful, and perhaps dangerous to humans in the first place.

TQ:   How many books are planned for The Books of Raziel series?

Sabrina:   Two more books are planned in the series. The story should be complete by book number three, but I suppose prequels and separate sequels are always a possibility. I like tightly contained stories where most of the sub-plots are resolved by the last book.

TQ:  What's next?

Sabrina:  I have just finished the first draft of Book 2, and I am very excited about where the story is going. The Books of Raziel are like nothing you will have read. Archon is a very gothic, dark novel, but the progression toward the light is becoming an amazing journey. I can promise you'll have no idea what will happen next.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sabrina:   Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure!

About Archon

The Books of Raziel 1
Harper Voyager, December 27, 2011
Hardcover, 400 pages

Angels and demons do battle for a girl possessed by the spirit of a powerful, dead angel in this fabulous paranormal debut by Sabrina Benulis. Archon is the first of the Books of Raziel, a truly fantastic and very hip new take on heaven’s warriors that readers of the angelic novels of Danielle Trussoni, Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Alexandra Adornetto are sure to adore. Archon is new wave urban fantasy, a tale of the supernatural that brilliantly blends passion, obsession, horror, and suspense in a way that will appeal to dark fantasy fans and paranormal romance readers equally. Sabrina Benulis’s angels are creepy, sexy, and totally awesome—and, like Anne Rice’s amoral, ambiguous, and addicting vampires, they will seduce and terrify you at the same time.

About Sabrina

Sabrina Benulis lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, a scruffy cockatiel, and a yard full of adorable wild birds. Peacocks from a nearby farm have also made an appearance. Sabrina loves fantasy that makes you think and challenges the norm. Unable to visit the worlds she imagines, she often resorts to letting her typing fingers do the dreaming for her.

Sabrina's Links



  1. I enjoyed the interview; it was a great read.

    I've added this to my must have list.

    Tracey D

  2. Thanks for a fantastic interview! I love the cover and I've been hearing buzz about this book starting about 6 months ago. I've added it to my wishlist and I'm thinking about preordering :)

    Happy Holidays!

  3. It was a great interview. And the cover, I love the cover, awesome. This book must added in my wish list.

  4. I was sold at the cover - wow it is lovely. The storyline definitely sounds unique an I am intrigued. Thank you for taking the time to share with us today.