(See my other author Interviews) – I have had the opportunity to read two novels by author Avanti Centrae. The first was “VanOps: The Lost Power” and the second, earlier this year, “Solstice Shadows”. They were both enjoyable reads so I reached out to Ms. Centrae and asked for an interview.
Myself: When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
Centrae: Mom taught me to read along with tying my shoes, and I wrote my first story when I was quite young, maybe six years old. Becoming a published novelist was a life-long dream.
Myself: What is the first piece that you remember writing?
Centrae: That early story was about a bull and a red cape. My writing has matured since then. 😊
Myself: What is your academic and work background?
Centrae: To fund my addiction for international travel and fast BMW’s, I studied computer technology at Purdue University and worked in IT for twenty years. I eventually led a team as an executive at Hewlett Packard before leaving the corporate world to pursue my writing career.
Myself: My career was in IT as well. What part of the world do you currently live in?
Centrae: Northern California is my current home. I was born and raised in the Midwest, and have lived in California since I finished college.
Myself: Do you think that living there has affected your writing?
Centrae: A bigger influence has been all the international travel. Besides the United States, I’ve enjoyed most of western Europe, and parts of Canada, Central America, and New Zealand. Walking around with only a backpack on my shoulders and exploring other cultures has been a huge inspiration.
Myself: You have had a wondeful opportunity to explore the world. I can see how both your technical background and your travels have been woven into your novels. How do you relax? What are your hobbies?
Centrae: We just returned from a holiday in Lake Tahoe where we hiked nearly every day and spent some time at the beach. Quite relaxing! My German shepherd and little black dog provide constant entertainment. I also enjoying riding my road bike and pursuing the scent of adventure.
Myself: What else would you like to share about yourself?
Centrae: One of my favorite jobs was working as a white-water raft guide, saving passengers from the rapids of the American River. One midnight, my fellow raft guides and I dared a moonlit run. The river ran high, a boat flipped, and we all nearly ended up in a rapid aptly named Satan’s Cesspool!
Myself: That sounds like quite the adventure. Did you read much growing up?
Centrae: All the time. I’d bring home stacks of books from the bookmobile and devour one almost every day.
Myself: What book that you read as a child stands out in your memory?
Centrae: Mom helped me memorize The Night Before Christmas when I was young, and we’d recite it together during the holiday season. Later, I read The Chronicles of Narnia, and pieces of those stories still come to mind.
Myself: What have you read recently?
Centrae: I recently listened to The King’s Deception by Steve Berry and really enjoyed the blend of action and history. Another fun read was The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe, featuring Thea Paris, a kidnap and ransom specialist. It was a blast.
Myself: What is your favorite genre and author?
Centrae: I love action thrillers. All the Sigma Force books by James Rollins rank up there, and lately I’ve been appreciating Ernest Dempsey’s Sean Wyatt character.
Myself: Where is your favorite place to read?
Centrae: I love to curl up on the couch in front of a fire in the winter, or during the summer, I like to be outside on the back patio in a hammock.
Myself: Do you listen to audiobooks?
Centrae: These days I mostly listen to audiobooks while I drive or do chores. Tim Campbell is the “Voice of VanOps” and has done an amazing job bringing my stories to life.
Myself: What books do you recommend to others?
Centrae: I was saddened to hear that Carlos Ruiz Zafron recently passed away. His Cemetery of Forgotten Books series makes an excellent gift for readers who like atmospheric suspense.
Myself: What makes you sit down and want to share your stories?
Centrae: Authors have always been my heroes and characters my best friends. I want to return the favor and keep readers company on dark nights.
Myself: I like that sentiment. Is there anyone who has influenced your writing?
Centrae: Besides the authors I’ve noted above, I’ve also been influenced by Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Robert Jordan, Terry Pratchett, Clive Cussler, Dan Brown, J.R.R Tolkien, Gregg Hurwitz, and Ian Fleming. My tastes are eclectic, and I’ve also enjoyed a lot of non-fiction.
Myself: That list contains many of my own favorites. How did you pick the genres for your stories?
Centrae:I’ve always been fascinated with psychology, mysticism, mysteries, conspiracies, history, and science. Toss in a lust for adventure, and it was pretty easy to choose action thrillers.
Myself: Where do your story ideas come from?
Centrae: The idea for Solstice Shadows came from an article I read about a young man who discovered an ancient secret about a star chart. That formed the kernel of the story and I added on from there.
Myself: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
Centrae: I’m a big outliner. By the time I start writing, it’s like a just-add-water recipe where I throw in dialogue and description.
Myself: Where do you do your writing? Why there?
Centrae: Often, I write outside on my smartphone, and then edit inside on the computer. I’m more relaxed and less distracted when I’m outdoors. The prologue to Solstice Shadows came to me during a hike and I stopped, sat on a rock, and wrote most of the chapter right then!
Myself: What is your schedule like when you are writing?
Centrae: Days always seem to fill up with marketing and promotional activities, but I try to limit that to mornings and write in the afternoons.
Myself: About how long does it take you to complete a first draft? How long do your revisions take?
Centrae: The first draft of my debut novel took years, but now that I know what I’m doing, I wrote the draft of my latest novel in about three months. Revisions can take time, too. My publisher hires world-class editors and I like to get feedback from beta readers. It also helps me to set the story aside for awhile and come back to it with fresh eyes.
Myself: How much research do you put into a novel?
Centrae: Because my novels include science and history, I spend months researching the stories.
Myself: What tools (software?) do you use in your writing?
Centrae: I just use WORD.
Myself: What are the hardest and easiest things about writing?
Centrae: The hardest part for me is getting the first draft done. Once I have words on the page, the editing is a lot easier. My favorite is the research and outlining. It’s great fun when all the plot twists come together.
Myself: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Centrae: Expect to spend time learning how to market your books, or hire PR and marketing experts, because even the Big Five these days expects you to do the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing and public relations.
Myself: What novels/works have you published?
(Black Opal Books, 11/9/19) – The Lost Power: Da Vinci Code meets Tomb Raider in the instant Barnes and Noble Nook bestseller that #1 New York Times bestselling author James Rollins called, “Full of action and suspense.”
(Thunder Creek Press, 8/11/20) – Solstice Shadows: A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse?
Myself: What are you currently working on?
Centrae: I’ve just completed the first draft of a novel in a new series called Kiss of the Cobra: When a misfit team of Mensa-level operatives digs up a ruthless plot seeded in Cleopatra’s time, can they stop the countdown to a civil war?
Myself: That sounds very interesting. I look forward to reading it. Have you won any writing awards?
Centrae: The Lost Power took home a genre grand prize ribbon at the 2017 Chanticleer International Book Awards, a bronze medal at the 2019 Wishing Shelf Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival. Solstice Shadows is a Global Thriller finalist for the upcoming Chanticleer International Book Awards.
Myself: That is very impressive for your first two novels. What else would you like to share?
Centrae: Here’s a few blurbs and the buy links for my books:
“A tantalizing new series that combines historical mystery and cutting-edge science into a masterwork of international intrigue.” ~ James Rollins, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Odyssey
“Avanti Centrae packs a thriller parachute with endless suspense and a rip-cord ending. SOLSTICE SHADOWS is meticulously researched, the history, science, and locales offering a rare ‘you-are-there’ authenticity. Brew a large pot of java, as you will read through the night. Brilliant.” — K.J. Howe, international bestselling author of SKYJACK
“Fast-paced action adventure with an ancient mystery at its heart — fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry will love the VanOps thrillers.” ~ J.F. Penn, USA Today bestselling author of the ARKANE thrillers
“Avanti Centrae is a name to watch. Powerful, evocative, gripping storytelling with characters you immediately relate to, love, or loathe.” ~ Ernest Dempsey, the USA Today bestselling author of the Sean Wyatt adventure series
“Fans of complex and highly detailed espionage and action thrillers are certain to dive right into this mixture between Indiana Jones and Dan Brown.” ~ Readers’ Favorite – Five stars
Myself: How should your fans follow you or get in touch?
Centrae: I love to hear from my fans. Here are my Social Media Links:
Here’s a link to first six chapters of THE LOST POWER and/or my newsletter – http://eepurl.com/dIan8L
One thought on “INTERVIEW with Author – Avanti Centrae”
Sounds good, John!
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