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  • Goran Yerkovich

Avanti Centrae: #1 International Bestselling & Award Winning Author - How to Make Success Inevitable


Today we interview Avanti Centrae, a ten-time award-winning and international bestselling author with plenty of accolades. We'll dig into Avanti's personal journey in becoming an author, how she landed her first agent and book deal, and the best advice she can give to first-time authors. We also dig into her latest book, all below!



Avanti Centrae awards and accomplishments:

  • #1 Category Bestsellers – Ancient Historical Fiction, Espionage Thrillers, Occult Suspense, Women’s Adventure Fiction, Technothrillers, Espionage/Intrigue, Suspense, Action Thrillers, Action & Adventure, Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue, Spy Thrillers, Technothrillers

  • Top 100 Amazon Kindle Store – U.S., Canada, Australia

  • Top 100 Barnes & Noble Nook Store

  • Paris Book Festival Runner-up

  • Global Thrillers High Stakes Thrillers -1st Place / Best in Category



Question 1 – Avanti Centrae, where are you from? What’s your story?


I always wanted to be an author. I remember being quite young and falling in love with books, haunting the silver neighbourhood bookmobile, and even reading the encyclopedia for fun. But instead of pursuing writing as a career, my parents encouraged me to go to college and get a technical degree, because they felt like it would be more financially rewarding in the long run.


I got my Bachelor’s in computer information systems from Purdue University and worked for a variety of Fortune 500 companies. But instead of enjoying desk work, I longed to write and explore the world.


Eventually, I saved enough money to hop on a jet and spent time backpacking through Europe, visiting places like Norway, Greece, Italy, and Germany. I tried to write while travelling but realized I didn’t know what to write about or how to tell a good story.


When I returned to the States, I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and bought books about story structure, character development, and plotting. But my muse remained elusive.


Things changed in 2013 when I turned 50 and had a health scare. Facing my own mortality forced a hard look at my bucket list. At the top was becoming a bestselling author. It was now or never.


I sat down and tried to figure out what kind of genre I wanted to write in. I enjoy a number of different types of books but really love action and adventure, so narrowed my choice down to thrillers. It took about a year to plan the story.


I got professional feedback at that stage because I wanted to do any significant rewrites at the outline level. I was working full time and it took another year to write the novel.


Then there were the years of finding an agent and publisher. After that milestone, it seemed like the editing would never end. Looking back, the process took about five years from start to finish.


I jumped up and down with joy when THE LOST POWER became an instant Barnes & Noble bestseller and went on to win three literary awards. Now I love keeping fans of modern action thrillers on the edge of their seats!



 

Question 2 – I love your story concept. Tell us about your books. Where do they come from?


THE LOST POWER is a DA VINCI CODE that meets TOMB RAIDER-type international thriller about an aikido black belt, a Russian sniper, and the ultimate race to find Alexander the Great’s mysterious Egyptian weapon. It’s the first of a series featuring VanOps, an ultra-black covert agency deep in the heart of the CIA with a mission to stop extreme threats.


The main characters are a twin brother and sister team, Maddy Marshall and Will Argones. Following their father’s murder, they are pulled into a world of assassins, hidden secrets, and international intrigue.


Part of the idea was, ‘What if Alexander the Great found a mysterious Egyptian weapon that enabled him to conquer the world? What would that weapon be like, and what would happen to it through the ages?’


To keep the fantastic premise from feeling far-fetched, I grounded the story with gunfights, daggers in alleys, and mysterious men in coats exchanging cryptic information, along with well-researched science, pathos, and character connectivity.


SOLSTICE SHADOWS, the second novel in the series, continues the Tomb Raider feel with the VanOps team needing to decipher an encrypted relic by globetrotting through a variety of ancient archeoastronomy-related ruins. Their mission is to stop fringe members of the Russian government from using a lightning-fast quantum computer to break encryption standards and spark a global war.


As the team races through the dangerous bazaars of Morocco, fallen Turkish temples, and Egypt’s perilous Valley of the Kings, they must fight to stay even a half-step ahead of sinister assassins. In the third VanOps thriller, THE DOOMSDAY MEDALLION, China is planning to invade Taiwan and wants to use Nostradamus’s prophetic secrets to gain a competitive advantage.


I also recently published a standalone outside of the “VanOps” series entitled CLEOPATRA’S VENDETTA. It focuses on the iconic historical figure Cleopatra, is told through a modern lens, and is filled with my trademark blend of intrigue, history, science and mystery.


All told, I’m humbled that my work has won ten different literary prizes and has received a host of critical acclaim.




 


Question 3 – Tell us about publishing. How did you find an agent and publishing house?


Publishing is a fickle business, rather like trying to ride the wind on a kite. I got lucky. Right place right time. My agent acquired THE LOST POWER because she liked the strong female lead. She saw that trend coming and jumped to represent the story.


Unfortunately, there are many talented authors who query religiously and never get a break. To tip the scales in their favor, aspiring authors can hire query coaches and developmental editors. Publisher’s Marketplace is a useful database that lists agents and their deals, so writers can target agents appropriately.


Perhaps the best tip is simply a reminder to persevere. I have a magnet next to my desk which says “Proceed as if success is inevitable.”


It’s great advice for first-time authors because there will be days when you want to throw your laptop at the wall. Shake it off. Send another query letter, or start writing the next book.


 


Question 4 – If there’s one piece of advice you could give first-time authors, what would it be to help them finish and publish their first book?


One of my favourite bits of advice, and this is relevant in life as well as publishing, is to “start with the end in mind.” Before I put pen to paper, I know how the thriller will end.


That helps me lay the groundwork for the jaw-dropping twists, the stomach-lurching turns, and the mischievous red herrings.


I’m a big outliner, but the advice applies to “pantsers”, or authors who write by the seat of their pants, as well.


Both structured and unstructured styles benefit by knowing the end game.


 

And that's it for today's interview. Readers can check out the first six chapters of THE LOST POWER for free on Avanti Centrae website at VanOps.net.


For more frequent updates, they can follow Avanti on any of these platforms:


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Until next time, stay inspired.


Goran Yerkovich


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