Creative Spotlight on Author Avanti Centrae
Tell our readers briefly about yourself.
My name is Avanti Centrae. I wanted to be an author from the time I learned to read. As a child, I haunted the elementary school library and the neighborhood book mobile. Life got in the way for a long time and in 2013 I decided it was do or die, now or never, time to write that bestseller. It took me a few years to write, edit, find an agent, find a publisher, and in 2019 VanOps: The Lost Power finally hit bookshelves. We've since published three other novels full of intrigue, history, science and mystery. I'm honored that readers compare my work to that of James Rollins, Steve Berry, and Clive Cussler while also saying my work is unique and "unputdownable."
Can you tell us about your most recent release? Album? Song? Art piece? Etc.?
Cleopatra's Vendetta is a multi-award-winning standalone thriller. It's a fast-paced bombshell of a story about truth and courage.
What inspires you?
I'm inspired by the big things in life: spirituality, kindness, forgiveness, and love.
What is your creative work routine like? Do you balance it with another job?
I tend to focus on one thing at a time. I just wrapped up the marketing phase of Cleopatra's Vendetta and when I'm in that phase it's hard for me to create. Now I'm in the creative phase and working on a new novel. I try to get out a chapter or two a day based on a generous outline.
Do you plan out your creations? What is your process before you create?
Yes, I'm a big outliner. It can take me months, or even years to plan out a novel. I love baking in twists and red herrings and prefer to think on all that ahead of time. By the time the outline is complete, I just add description and dialogue!
Do you have a self-care routine or want to have one? What do you do or wish that you did to take care of your mental health?
One of the things that makes me super happy is my meditation practice. I learned to meditate over twenty years ago and use it as a tool to return to balance when I'm out of sorts, and I also enjoy dropping into that blissful space before I fall asleep at night. Many of my main characters also meditate.
What is your favorite creation thus far?
There's something, or someone, special about Cleopatra's Vendetta. I know parents aren't supposed to have favorite children, but I love that book! It has fantastic conflict. Tim and Angie Stryker are fighting, the cult leader and his son are fighting, the cult has tentacles throughout society and culture is fighting back. That makes for rich storytelling.
Do you have a character that is your favorite over others you've written into creation?
Maddy Marshall, the heroine in the VanOps series is the front runner. She's an intelligent, independent truth-seeker with special martial arts abilities. Suddenly, she's thrust into a dangerous world where her non-violent martial arts skills aren't enough to save herself or her country. To survive a series of arcane tribulations, she must look deep into the past, and her emerald eyes become dark with anger when the lives of those she loves are on the line. Can she see the truth and access her power in time to save her boyfriend, her twin brother and the foster boy she's considering adopting?
Are there any recurring themes in your work?
Each story standalone with its theme. In THE LOST POWER there's a violence vs non-violence theme. CLEOPATRA'S VENDETTA has themes of truth and courage. I look at the theme as the scaffolding or the framing of the story and it's one of the first things I decide on with the outline.
What does success look like to you considering your creative passion?
Success to me is not only winning awards and achieving international bestseller status, but also hearing from fans that they escaped into my stories when they were having a rough day. I also feel successful when I get a review from someone who really 'got' the story. Today a NetGalley reviewer posted about Cleopatra's Vendetta and said "Holy heck, what a book!"
What is something your fans/readers/followers don’t know about you or something unique about yourself?
I tend to do my best creative work on the move, when I'm walking or hiking. I carry my phone with me so I can jot down ideas. Later, I return to my desk and pull all the ideas together.
What advice would you share with new or aspiring authors/singers/artists/etc?
Unless you have a huge publisher behind you, wait until you have a few books out before doing a ton of marketing.
Where do you get your ideas for world building?
I read memoirs from covert operatives. They're fascinating and a perfect source for adding authenticity to my work.
What genre do you prefer to read?
I prefer reading international and domestic action thrillers that contain well-rounded characters.
What hobbies do you have?
Anything outdoors. Hiking, biking, swimming, walking, and playing with my dogs are all scads of fun.
Do you have any outside experiences that influenced your work?
I've enjoyed a spectrum of professions, from raft guide to Silicon Valley IT executive and they all provide fiction fodder. Besides work, I've traveled extensively and those experiences have been strong influencers of my writing.
Where can our viewers/readers/listeners find you and your work?
From my website at VanOps.net, readers can find retailer links for ebooks, print, and audio formats of my work, along with Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook links. The first six chapters of THE LOST POWER are also free on my website. https://www.avanticentrae.com/