Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Aestrangel the Fallen by Maria DeVivo Virtual Book Tour


Bewitching Book Tours Interview

What inspired you to become an author?

I don’t think it was any one specific thing, but more like a string of events that shaped my life. My dad was first and foremost the initial source of my inspiration. He read to me constantly as a kid, and eventually reading turned into him creating his own stories. It totally blew my mind. I wanted to emulate what my dad did, and wanted to be a master story-teller like him.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book? 

Aestrangel came to me in a dream. I literally saw the letters form in my mind right before I woke up. A-e-s-t-r-a-n-g-e-l. It was so strange, yet made so much sense. I don’t remember the dream, but when I woke up, I wrote the word, and a poem just kind of flowed right after. That poem eventually became the basis for the entire story.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

Aestrangel was the outlier, of course, because I usually start with a concept. A general idea with a basic premise and some characters to play their parts. From there, I come up with the title. Then once the title takes root in my mind, the story kind of fleshes itself out.


Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

I always throw my personal experiences into the mix. I think it adds to the realism of the story, even if it’s magical or in a fantasy setting. There’s a lot of “me” in my pages, if that makes sense. And while I often embellish on those experiences, there’s always an underlying hint of reality.


Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?

Not necessarily genre, but structure. I’ve never written a graphic novel before, and I think I’m ready to dip my toes. I have a story that’s been brewing in my head for a little while now that would lend itself to the comic form. I’m not an illustrator, and the process of graphic novel scripts is so different from long-form novels, but I think I’m up for the challenge.

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

Aestrangel the Fallen is book one in the Aestrangel Trinity. Book 2, Aestrangel the Chosen sees the characters thrust in more morally ambiguous situations. The last book, Aestrangel the Risen, is due out sometime this summer. The third book really goes off the rails in terms of concept and content. But there are no surprises here. I literally tell you the ending in the Prologue of Aestrangel the Fallen. This series is the quintessential villain cycle.


What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

 I have a crush on Kenny Rogers. Yes. The country singer Kenny Rogers. But the pre-plastic surgery, robust, younger, Kenny Rogers. Circa “Islands in the Stream” Kenny Rogers. He was hunky. 


What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?

This year, I have plans for four releases: Aestrangel the Risen in the summer, two in my Dawn of the Blood Witch Saga, and the re-release of my very first novel, The Coal Elf. I’m currently writing Book 6 in the witches, re-editing books 2 and 3 in The Coal Elf books, and in the planning stages of my comic. I’m doing all this while hitting the convention circuit for appearances and book signings and meeting readers and writers in this crazy, amazing community! 2024 is definitely shaping up to be jam-packed!



Aestrangel the Fallen 
The Aestrangel Trinity 
Part 1
Maria DeVivo

Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
Publisher: 4 Horsemen Publications
Date of Publication: September 2023
ISBN: 1644509261
Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 63K

Tagline: Hell hath no fury like an angel scorned!

Book Description: 

Aestra, favorite teenaged angel of The Lord, has been sent to Earth to ensure that high school senior, Jake Parker, pursues the correct path. He is teetering between two options that may seem innocuous, but only one will lead him to positively impact the lives of millions of humans.

But what happens when the heart chooses love over responsibility? For Aestra, one fateful night will set into motion a chain of events unforeseen by even her infallible Creator.

Excerpt

From Chapter One: Learning the Ways

They tell me I should be dreaming by now, that the images and scenarios should be well-embedded into my brand-new subconsciousness, but for me, all there has been is color. No. That’s not right. When I close my brand-new eyes, all that consumes me are the shifting shades of grays and blacks, and I’m not sure if this is something I should be worried about or not. I’ve been in this human simulation environment for quite some time now, and I’m guessing that part of my “humanness” hasn’t kicked in yet. But I’ve heard the others talking and describing their dreams, and I’m getting anxious for my first one. Revalia, the closest thing I have to what humans call a “best friend,” has told me the fabulous tales of her dreams. She says sometimes she doesn’t even want to wake up. She says the images and sounds and smells are so overpowering, so overwhelming, that when she wakes up, she desperately longs to go back to that dreamy, lazy place between the conscious and unconscious mind. I wish I knew what she was talking about.

I know my lack of dreams worries Camael. He has told me many times the human experience is multi-pronged and multi-faceted, and in order for me to complete my calling, I must be immersed in the most basic of human functions. There’s no other way for me to complete my mission because there’s no other way for me to be a “believable” Guardian to the human I am assigned. And if I don’t complete my mission successfully, I will never move up the ranks and become a Guardian Angel. Camael is in a higher order of angels than I am—the Dominions. He’s my mentor, and it’s his job to prepare me for the journey that I’m about to embark upon.

Yes, I’m an angel—we all are: Camael, Revalia, the others, and me. But, my rank right now is that of angel—the lowest rung on the ladder. My goal is to move up to Guardian, and hopefully beyond. It’s the natural progression for my kind, and I’m excited to serve the Creator (or God, as the humans refer to Him) and all of His glorious wonders.

There is no time—not the way humans divide time up at least. I’ve always existed, yet there are others and elders who were here in Ilarium before I was created, and since I’ve been given the ability to communicate in human language, it seems hard for me to put into words all the thoughts and feelings that I had before. Before, there was just love and peace and a willingness to serve and please, but now there is an actual lexicon, a vocabulary of tens of thousands of words, that I’m still trying to figure out how to effectively communicate and verbalize what’s in my heart. Never having had a heart before, it takes some getting used to.
We angels who are preparing for our callings have been thrust into a human-like world in order to become accustomed to the actual life of a human. The Powers That Be have replicated the physical world and have created buildings and structures for us, given us languages, infused us with feelings, and given us body shapes all in preparation for our descent to Earth.

While angels are neither male nor female, I have the body of a woman now, and I will be assigned female attributes from here forward. I rather do like the contour of the female form, I always have, and perhaps my partiality towards women is what prompted the Creator to put me in a woman’s body. My wings are more defined too; they are heavy on my shoulders with the feathered tips almost irritating the backs of my arms and legs. As the human notion of time becomes more ingrained into our routine, the weight of my wings becomes more and more cumbersome. Camael has said that the awareness of our wings was important so when we lose them on our descent, the shock wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t know; I’m still trying to understand all my teachings. Like how we’re going to be given a set of human memories specific to us and our assignment, yet have all the knowledge of our angelic lives. The thought of blending the two perplexes me.

This leads me to right now. This time. This place. The unfamiliarity of it all. Camael says this is a school, and the human I am assigned to help goes to one. I know this. I’ve seen them, the humans. I’ve watched them from up high, but actually being in a school—the four white walls and chairs called desks filed in rows with children sitting at them—is quite an adjustment. I sit in the front of a single aisle. We’re in alphabetical order, and I’m Aestra, so that means I’m first in the row. Revalia is a few desks behind me. I turn my head to try to catch her attention, but she’s staring out the window, deep in what Camael calls a “daydream.” I look at her a few seconds longer hoping my gaze can break her trance, but she’s too far gone, mesmerized in her human thoughts. The one disadvantage to being in this human shape is we angels can no longer feel the thoughts and emotions of others without speaking them. If I had been free from this woman body, I would have been able to read Revalia’s mind, but then again, if we weren’t in these human forms, Revalia wouldn’t be having such thoughts as hypnotizing daydreams…


About the Author: 

Maria is the Author of the Amazon bestselling and award-winning series The Coal Elf Chronicles, the YA psychological horror series The Altered Experience, and the NA Urban Fantasy series The Aestrangel Trinity. When not writing about dark fantasy and horror, she teaches Language Arts and Journalism to middle school students in Florida. A lover of all things dark and demented, she takes pleasure in warping the comfort factor in her readers’ minds. Just when you think you’ve reached a safe space in her stories, she snaps you back into her twisted reality.








 




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