March 24, 2022

Avanti Centrae, Bestselling Author of The Doomsday Medallion

On today's 55th episode of The Thriller Zone, I'm joined by International Bestselling author, Avanti Centrae, where we will discuss her latest thriller, The Doomsday Medallion.

Described as "The Da Vinci Code meets Tomb Raider," heroine Maddy Marshall leads this action-packed, high-stakes journey through a roller-coaster thrill ride that provides a "mashup" of historical suspense and political thriller.

As BestThrillers.com puts it, "Perfect for fans of Steve Berry and James Rollins."

Join us as we discuss what the life of a former Silicon Valley IT Executive turned international author is like. Avanti is funny, smart, and has the marketing savvy of ten women. Also, I 'm excited to report, she's one of the biggest fans of our show that I've had the honor of meeting.

To learn more visit: AvantiCentrae.com, Follow on Twitter @avanticentrae or Instagram @avanti.centrae.author, or simply go to: Vanops.net

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube.com/DavidTempleAuthor channel in order to be alerted of all the new shows coming your way. And as always, listen to the podcast on TheThrillerZone.com or wherever you get your podcasts!

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Thanks for listening to The Thriller Zone. If you enjoyed it, please consider leaving a 5-Star Review. CLICK HERE to leave it on this website, or wherever you get your podcasts. It helps more than you know! - David 


Avanti Centrae



[00:00:00] David: Hello, and welcome to the 55th episode of the thriller zone. I'm your host David temple and on today's show special guest Avanti Sentra. And the book is the doomsday Medallion. Ooh, I'm shaking in my I'm shaking in my shoes. This is a van ops thriller. This gal is a marketing genius. She's an exceptional writer and international bestselling author, and she's got some really great insights that I think can help you as an upcoming writer, or if you're just an avid reader, let's get into the thrillers zone.


[00:00:37] Avanti: good morning, David.


[00:00:39] David: Good morning, Avanti. How are you? It's so good to see you. Yeah,


[00:00:45] Avanti: you too. You have a little a grape juice for the morning or starting early. That


[00:00:51] David: is actually a double espresso.


[00:00:53] Avanti: Oh, I'm doing some hard stuff too. Agua mineral.


[00:01:03] David: Oh, that's


[00:01:03] Avanti: funny. I'm ready to rock and roll whenever you are thrilled to be here.


[00:01:07] David: I'm thrilled to have you, ever since the, I'm trying to remember, how did we connect?


[00:01:12] Avanti: I think I had been checking out your work on Instagram and I believe I liked one of your posts or something like that.


[00:01:21] Avanti: And you invited me to review your show and I think we went from there. Yeah.


[00:01:26] David: And we both become a huge fans of one another.


[00:01:29] Avanti: We sure have, I just absolutely love your show hands down. It's fantastic. I was just, and I'm over the moon to be on the show with such guests that you've had.


[00:01:39] Avanti: I've been listening to your Jeffery Deaver podcast. You've had Ted bell on here and to be walking among those giants, just thrills my little soul to no end. You know what,


[00:01:48] David: It's really fun. I'm having the time of my life. Fortunately I've got a little bit experience with this in the background and yet we've Jeffrey Daver you've mentioned two of my favorites right there, Dever and Ted bell Ted was an early guest and, and I just, I think w yeah, my most recent one was a brand new up and coming author.


[00:02:07] David: So I'm trying to do a little balance of getting a brand new authors, a chance every once in a while, but that new discovering new authors.


[00:02:16] Avanti: Yeah, that's fantastic. That's fantastic. And the Dever show was that was a masterclass right there. Any aspiring author should check out that podcast that was worth its weight in gold.


[00:02:26] David: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for saying that. I thought that too. I said Jeffrey at the end of it. He lets me call him Jeff now. Hey, Jeff. You've just given like a master class right here. He goes. Yeah. Okay, cool. When you can run across guys that big and that kind and unaffected and giving it just really.


[00:02:50] David: God, it blesses my soul Avanti. I've got


[00:02:52] Avanti: to say, doesn't it. Do you like David?


[00:02:57] David: I liked David. If you call me Dave, it's not gonna, it's not gonna break my heart. Yeah. But,


[00:03:02] Avanti: I'm fine to acquiesce with whatever your little heart desires


[00:03:05] David: and by the way, you have the single coolest name that has arrived on the show.


[00:03:13] Avanti: Thank you. Thank you.


[00:03:15] David: Where in the wide world of thrillers did that come from? Can I ask that right out of the gate while we're here in the Greensboro?


[00:03:22] Avanti: Yeah, absolutely. It's a pen name. I was born with a boring Midwestern names. And I always wanted to be a writer and back in my wild and young twenties, I got to thinking about that.


[00:03:34] Avanti: And yeah. It's a bit of a story. Actually. I had a conversation with somebody who said, I think you're going to change your name someday. And I said, I'm not going to change my name. And they said, yeah, I think you are. And I forgot about the conversation. And months later, this was again in my wild twenties when I was a raft guide for a couple of summers and I'm Rowan down the river.


[00:03:57] Avanti: And all of a sudden I recall the conversation and. The word Avanti pops into my head and I said, oh, that's way too. Pretty, that's not me. I just, I can't live up to that name. And I made the mistake of telling a few friends about the story and sure enough, next thing you know, everybody's calling me Avanti.


[00:04:18] Avanti: Then I had to have some last name to go with Avanti because I just was not destined to be.


[00:04:26] Avanti: So I between then, and then I learned that Avanti means to go forward and Italian and I had no idea that this was the case when this name popped into my head while I'm rafting down the river. So to go forward, that seemed very unilateral. And so I came up with the Sentra part to bring it back spiraling back in, in the center.


[00:04:47] Avanti: So energetically it's more of a spiral instead of just a going forward type thing. Okay.


[00:04:54] David: Okay. Fair enough. I love it. Yeah. I love that story. [00:05:00] I wondered. I'm like, wow. Her parents must have been some kind of cool hippies back in the day.


[00:05:07] Avanti: One would think but no, no boring Midwestern upbringing.


[00:05:12] Avanti: Okay.


[00:05:12] David: And so your real name will remain a secret with with all of us


[00:05:17] Avanti: until I become Uber famous, then, I'm sure somebody will stick it out on Wikipedia, but in the meantime, yeah, you can just call me Ivanti.


[00:05:25] David: Alright. Avanti. We're going to get to doom's day medallion. Look at that thing.


[00:05:30] David: Doomsday, a van ops thriller. Whenever I see this, I just want to kick into. It's doomsday medallion event ups, thriller,


[00:05:38] Avanti: absolutely.


[00:05:41] David: It brings out the thriller voiceover and me, but we're going to talk about that, but I do want to talk about what you were doing before you became this international best-selling author.


[00:05:49] David: Now you mentioned river rafting and I did. I was privy to that. So what else were you doing that full time before that one day that you woke up and you said, and I shall be a craftsman of words.


[00:06:04] Avanti: So that happened more when I was about five. My, my mom started reading to me when she was teaching me to tie my shoes.


[00:06:12] Avanti: We, we learned to read very young and I was one of those obsessed with the encyclopedia I grew up in, in the day before, the world was our oyster on the cell phones. So I had the whole set of encyclopedias there and I was that kid that for fun would read the dictionary, I'd flip through it, oh, what does this word mean?


[00:06:30] Avanti: And if I came across something, when I was reading and I didn't know what it was, mom would say, go look it up. So I'd go. And then I'd get distracted in the dictionary, okay. That word means this. Oh. But look at that word. That's cool. Oh, what's this? So there was the encyclopedias too.


[00:06:44] Avanti: But my parents in their wisdom steered me toward a more Financially stable path. And so I went to Purdue university and got a degree in computers and did that for a couple years and then said, oh my God, I went to school for four years for this, to sit in an office building.


[00:07:04] Avanti: Wow. I just don't know that I can do this the rest of my life. And that's when I saved my pennies, paid off my student loans and went traveling around the world, did that with a buddy. We had a blast six, six months of hanging out in Europe, all over everywhere from Germany to Norway all the way down through Yugoslavia, Greece, Spain, and yeah, there's some stories from all that.


[00:07:28] Avanti: And I wanted to be a writer even then I remember sitting on the beach in Greece. Reading some, pulp fiction thinking, wow, I could probably do a better job than this, but I don't know where to start. I don't know what to write. So I made a conscious decision at that time that I needed to go live a while.


[00:07:44] Avanti: And then circle back to the whole writing. And in the meantime I studied craft, I subscribed to writer's digest, read all those books about how to write a bestselling novel. And when I came back from Europe, a couple of years later was when I was rafting. But I quickly realized that as much fun as that was, it didn't really pay the bills or, allow me to buy a house or a car or any of those things.


[00:08:06] Avanti: So I went back into the computer industry and did that off and on along with flipping houses. I've flipped quite a few houses in my day, too. And so when I woke up one day and said, you know what it's now or never to do the writing thing. I was actually an executive for silicone valley.


[00:08:22] Avanti: It outfit.


[00:08:23] David: Wow. Wow. And you never, yeah. And you never looked back, did you?


[00:08:28] Avanti: No. That's stressful world right there.


[00:08:31] David: Yeah. I can't even fathom that world. I can't balance my checkbook, so I can't even imagine what.


[00:08:42] David: All right. So let's talk about doomsday medallion and this world, because your book has been described and this is perfect by the way I ripped through it. It was such a hoot. And I'm going to say this, and I'm going to probably say this again later, cause I was just mesmerized. You can flat out write an action scene.


[00:09:03] David: Holy Simolian.


[00:09:07] Avanti: Isn't that weird, I'm a boring girl from the Midwest. But I've had these dreams my whole life, even last night, I had dreams where bad guys were chasing me. Somebody was, I had to sneak out here and sneak out there and the guns and yeah. So there's something going on with my subconscious that really is drawn to action.


[00:09:27] Avanti: I've always loved. My dad was in military intelligence in North Korea and I think he loved James Bond, all those kinds of books, had some Clive Cussler sitting around the house. And so for whatever reason, I've always loved. Yeah. And, I think it's also some of that might get on with it.


[00:09:45] Avanti: Personality. I also love character growth. So I try to balance the two, but I find myself just getting caught up in. Oh and then this, the bad guys could do this and then, the heroes could have to escape this way and [00:10:00] yeah, I just get caught up in that action. It's just so much fun.


[00:10:03] Avanti: I


[00:10:03] David: was going to say, I'm just going to pick a jumping off point. I would love to have sat here and read a chapter or two because, but it would just, I couldn't stop somewhere around 80, 85, 86, 87. It gets to the point in the, in this helicopter skiing chase. It's like right out of James Bond.


[00:10:22] David: While I'm watching the movie in my head as I'm reading it, I'm like, oh my God, this is what's the movie. Not to put either one of us on the spot. What's the mood to James Bond movie where he schemed and the slope. And I won. I want to say it was Roger.


[00:10:36] David: Doesn't matter. Yeah. Doesn't matter. Ah but my mind was turning back to that and it's just the way that oh no. Oh shit. Oh, holy Omar. And that's why,


[00:10:46] Avanti: yeah, that one was a lot of fun. And also the extended chase scene in the beginning of the book Jeffrey Deaver was talking about being an outliner.


[00:10:55] Avanti: I am a total outliner. And when I outlined that stretch of the novel I knew it was going to be a lot of fun, but when I started writing it, I realized it, it was just one big action scene. Transpired over the course of, I don't know, 10 chapters or something. It was Maddie's perspective and she's getting shot at, in the library and then, Will's getting shot at, in the Harbor.


[00:11:19] Avanti: And then, yeah, so that, that was, I think the longest action scene I've ever written and it was just a blast. It's


[00:11:27] David: going to be expensive when it goes to the big screen. But we'll talk about that in a minute. All so DaVinci code meets tomb, Raider. I think you probably coined that phrase and it's absolutely perfect because it's a little piece of both.


[00:11:41] David: So we're blending, intrigue and history and science and mystery and pulse pounding page, turning knuckled, whack, and thriller. Did you originally questioned that kept running through my mind originally to set out, to create a book that blends. All of these where you're heading this way, like I'm heading to Dan brown to borrow a phrase, a route, and then all of a sudden, Ooh, let's put in a dash of James Bond and, or did you know?


[00:12:11] David: So question one is, did you start out that way? Question two is with all of that. Do you ever say, you know what, maybe I need to stretch myself and do another form of.


[00:12:22] Avanti: Yes to both of those actually. When I sat down in 2013 and decided, you know what, I'm not getting any younger here, and if I'm going to make this dream come true, I better get on the ball with it.


[00:12:33] Avanti: And I've had those life experiences that I wanted to have in my twenties. And now I know much more about what I want to write about. And I picked the Dan brown, James Rollins, Steve Berry sub genre. Because I thought I could I thought I could access. And it brought in a bunch of the interests that I've had throughout my life.


[00:12:52] Avanti: And there's a lot of creativity in there. You can take it to the Matt Riley extreme and go completely comic book over the top. Or you can, take it more, the Steve Berry, focusing more on the history side. So there's a lot of latitude in there. I didn't intentionally set out with the lost power to combine all of those things.


[00:13:17] Avanti: Mostly, I had an ending in mind, I started like I used to advise people when I was a Silicon valley. It executive start with the end in mind, and I had this ending in mind. And I worked backward from there. And then as I was putting together, all of the marketing parts of it, I. Kind of decomposed it and realized that it did contain those different elements.


[00:13:38] Avanti: And I asked some early readers of my first book, what movies it reminded them of and, and they were thinking, DaVinci code. But because we have a female heroine and there's quite a bit of action that happens in temples and those sorts of places, the tomb Raider idea came up.


[00:13:55] Avanti: And and that that phrase, when I first started marketing the lost power, I marketed all kinds of different. I tried all sorts of different hooks with different ads and that one stuck into this day with the doomsday medallion it's still captures. Because they can see right away.


[00:14:13] Avanti: Okay. So this is a fun action oriented. Maybe there's some archeology in there, but there's also some clues. And maybe, some fascinating mysteries, so when I talk about entry, history, science, and mystery, it's not necessarily the who done it kind of mystery it's.


[00:14:31] Avanti: Human mystery. So there's some of that in there as well. And so with the series, yes, I've tried to stick within those boundaries. And there is just a tad bit of paranormal in there too. Just just a bit, the van ops was worn like a Phoenix from the ashes of the CIA's paranormal activities.


[00:14:51] Avanti: So that's what van ops has. I started another series or it might be a standalone that maybe the next book that I published that doesn't have any of the [00:15:00] paranormal in it. It's got a it's more of a classic thrill. As I was writing it, I couldn't help myself. And I ended up pulling in some Cleopatra history kind of stuff.


[00:15:10] Avanti: I had wanted it to be more of just a straight thriller. And I was like, no, but it would be so perfect if I pulled Cleopatra in here. And so then it ended up being a little more similar to the, the van op series than I had originally intended, but it's such a fantastic book and it has just quite the twist at the end that I just couldn't resist.


[00:15:31] Avanti: So we'll see. I'm actually in that in-between books type, trying to figure out if I want to what I want to do


[00:15:38] David: now. And it's so funny that you referenced that starting with the end in mind, because referencing back to the Jeffrey Deaver conversation, he's a big fan of that, know what the end scene or the incentives or the end theme or idea is, and then work backwards.


[00:15:53] David: And I'll tell you, I have often vacillated Avanti, I've often a vacillated between plotting and pantsing. And I can say having now done eight books that it really does serve you well to outline, even if it's just a sentence, just a skeleton, because with a quick glance, you can tell if it's going to work or where you're going to, people who and I applaud the guys who can just sit down and bang away and I've certainly done it that way.


[00:16:31] David: But yeah. I think outlining in some form or fashion is gold.


[00:16:36] Avanti: It really works for me, David and I started reading your book, the poser and nicely done. I really liked your Norelli character. Last night I was awakened by, those gremlins that inhabit your smoke detectors. Yes.


[00:16:52] Avanti: Yes. And at three in the morning, the battery, they decide it's time for the battery. Yeah. So last night I was awakened by that little gremlin and laid there in bed for awhile and pulled up your book that I had started yesterday. And I'm so Relic kept me company until I could, fall back to sleep.


[00:17:08] Avanti: But yeah, outlining for me, and I really admire the people that can just sit down and pants it away. But that is not how I've ever worked. I ended up with like probably a six page outline with one paragraph per chapter. So by the time I'm done with my outline, I add description and dialogue.


[00:17:27] Avanti: So I do a lot of my research. And I think a little bit about the marketing too, how am I going to market this when I'm done? So I like doing all that research upfront. I've got little character bios, so I know all about my characters. I even pick out little pictures for my characters. So gal Gadot is Maddie, I think is just perfect.


[00:17:46] Avanti: And so then when I'm describing my character, I can reference back to the picture. So I've got a little, method that works for me, but I think that one of the things that I've seen. As I've been in this industry is that it's different for everybody, and, for you and your writing, maybe it's a mix, maybe you have a really brief outline and then you just love to pants away. For me I just, I have to have that very extensive outlining. And even then, as I'm writing, I find that things come up, I get to be creative when I'm tackling that chapter or two for the day and I do end up having to go back.


[00:18:20] Avanti: And and what I do is I keep my outline up to date. So if I get halfway through the book and I decide, oh, this would be perfect for such and such, then I'll go in and update my outline and go back and, change it in the other places prior to that point, that, that outlined for me is my map.


[00:18:39] David: First of all, thank you so much for the nice words about the poser. It's very That book was outlined because there's so much going on there. So I don't know how far into it is and I'm on, this is your show, but I will say that there's so much going on. And so many red herrings and little overlays that if you didn't have some kind of a sketch, you could get lost converse.


[00:19:02] Avanti: I'm only at about chapter 30 or something, but I'm having a great time with


[00:19:05] David: it. Thank you. The follow-up to that, the imposter it's that was, I knew where I wanted to start a new, where I was going to end, but I pants the entire thing. So we'll see how that, we'll see how that goes. You made a couple of comments that are really liked and went, and that is this, you and I have a God.


[00:19:22] David: There's so many little coincidences between you, your life and mine and it's, and I. I can actually say that with all sincerity, because I've been watching you for so long and I'm like, oh my God, how funny is that? Here's a case in point a, if I may, your designer, I bet you, you got from Reedsy.


[00:19:43] David: Yes, because he did the cover of knuckle down, which David Sure of on nasion or something like that. Yeah. Yeah.


[00:19:52] Avanti: If you guys are looking for a good cover, go to, I think term 33 33


[00:19:57] David: design. Yeah. So he did that for me. [00:20:00] So that's interesting then you and I share this very interesting little idea that I do the same thing.


[00:20:05] David: I now I'll work. I'll build the structure in Scrivener so that I can know, all the elements, the chapters in the sidebars, and I'll pull in the little photograph I go to, I do exactly what you got to pull actors. And I use them as inspiration because I'm like, and then I, the, those faces remind me of characters that they played.


[00:20:26] David: And of course it's not just the look, it's the, oh, that guy played in west wing and he was so good at that. And he reminds me of this character named Bob. And that just fits. But here's the little funny thing I'd like to challenge you to do this. This is interesting. I use so many different pieces of software.


[00:20:45] David: So Scrivener can, there's a learning curve. It can be a little hefty, but it's great for organization, but whenever I'm hitting a bump or as a, some call it writer's block, it's not a block. It's just a, ah, where am I going? And I'll open up. Yes. I'll open a program called vellum. Are you familiar with that?


[00:21:08] Avanti: I've heard of it. I've not used it. I think it's Mac only right where it used to be. Yeah.


[00:21:13] David: Now, Dave, Chesson, I'm not doing commercials here, but I know that Dave Chesson is going to be on the show coming up. He's a, the Kendall preneur. And I want to bring guys in who can help us writers with a lot of the mechanics of writing besides just being a good thriller writer and he's come up with a software called Atticus.


[00:21:34] David: So it's kinda like a, it's it's V it's vellum for PC as well. The point being, the reason I do that is you can literally start writing inside of it and it looks like a book. And so I have this little piece of joy that I get when I'm writing that it already looks like a book. So it gives me that little, extra bit of confidence.


[00:21:57] David: Yeah. This looks good. Laid out as a book. And there's my chapter ahead. And I'm banging away and little secret tricks that we all


[00:22:04] Avanti: use. There you go. Yeah, I'm a word girl. I don't use Scrivener. I've looked at it. I don't use anything fancy. As a matter of fact, here's a confession before February, I was a Blackberry girl, loved my keyboard.


[00:22:19] Avanti: I had a key to, and I'm sorry, Samsung. I miss my Blackberry. I wrote books on that Blackberry. I loved being able to just be on a hike because I think better when I'm moving whip out. My Blackberry, the keys for my little kinesthetic thumbs worked so much better than, because I like to feel the keys.


[00:22:39] Avanti: So if somebody ever brings back that that, that's my tool of choice for writing right there. Yeah.


[00:22:47] David: Delightfully old school of audio.


[00:22:49] Avanti: Yes, it's dinosaur.


[00:22:51] David: All right. So first came lost power then Soltis soul solstice, shadows, and then doomsday medallion. And. Two-part question. I do this all the time.


[00:23:02] David: Sorry. Bear with me. What did these three bestsellers have in common? That little common thread and what's four going to be like, now you've already made a reference of a possible four, but you also led me to believe that. I was going to do this completely different, but now I wanted to bring in Cleopatra.


[00:23:18] David: So it might or might not be


[00:23:21] Avanti: number four. It's not going to be van ops, number four. The, so the common thread is care. There's some different different plots in each of the first three van ops novels. The, my fourth novel will either be a standalone or the start of a different series.


[00:23:37] Avanti: That's one of the things that I'm mulling over right now is do I want to take those characters on another adventure or not? So these three books, the van ops thrillers have at their core, Maddie Marshall who's she looks like gal Gadot. She's tall, long legs, dark hair, green eyes. And her brother is her twin.


[00:23:56] Avanti: They're in the early thirties, he's also tall. He's got curly hair tan skin, big, wide smile, long eyelashes, like a girls. They both have long legs and their third Primary character. If you guys are starting with the first novel, and I'm not going to tell you too much, except that this guy bear Sorenson he had a crush on Maddie throughout high school, just an unrequited crush.


[00:24:20] Avanti: He was too short. Maddy's tall, right? She's five 11, something like that. Bear's only five eight. And so in high school she was like, oh, forget about it. You're cute and all, but I just can't go there. Their paths cross again in the first book and continue to cross over the course of the next three books.


[00:24:38] Avanti: So you've got the conflict between Maddie and will as twins. I don't know if you've ever known twins. My mom and my aunt are twins and they absolutely love each other. And they will be the first to tell you that they butt heads on almost everything all the time. So I really liked the idea of having twins as the centerpiece of this [00:25:00] particular series.


[00:25:01] David: Yeah, that is awesome. And I did like that and bear, bear's an interesting character. I'm not going to ruin it, you, there's something that and I wanted to say this out of the gate is that has so impressed me about you is your marketing savvy. So I would like to take a short break and we come back.


[00:25:18] David: Avanti is going to share her secrets to marketing her craft, stay with us. All right. I was just sitting here thinking about something if it had come to the time when I needed a website and I was just going to rely on my own skills for it, I would probably still be tinkering with my website, Dave temple here for author bites.com.


[00:25:43] David: Yeah. I have built websites in the past. I've used Typepad WordPress Squarespace, Wix GoDaddy, you name it, and that's well and good. And yes, you can save money by doing it yourself. You can also get hacked once or twice like me, but seriously folks, if you're looking for a website host, go to author bites.com, use the code, the thriller zone and get three months free hosting with your one-year contract.


[00:26:17] David: You, and that means that's three months free with a one-year contract. You're going to spend the money one way or the other. You're going to spend it upfront. You're going to spend it on the back. You're going to spend it on this software, that software, getting somebody to help you to fix it or save your, but one way or the other.


[00:26:34] David: You're going to spend the money. And if you're an author today, whether it's traditionally published or self-published, you need a presence, you need a website. Author bites.com. Tom David temple sent you from the thriller zone. Use the code, the thriller zone three months free one year.


[00:26:53] Avanti: Hey, I'm Avanti. Send Trey here on the thriller zone with the fantastic David temple.


[00:26:57] Avanti: We're talking about my latest book, the doomsday medallion, and I'm really grateful to be on the show. Thanks for having me, David. You're listening to the thriller zone and now back to the.


[00:27:08] David: Welcome back Avantis and Trey is with me. And we're talking about the business of being a writer because it's great to sit in a room and come up with these cool ideas and sit and write for hundreds of thousands of words on any given day.


[00:27:21] David: But, it takes a lot to be able to market ourselves, to be able to craft that that query letter when it's time to come find an agent, if that's what you want to do or how. Work on the marketing of our self published book. If you want to go that way. And I have watched you, your website is a stunning example of this, and, if you ever want to know what Avanti is up to go to her website, which is Avantis and trey.com.


[00:27:46] David: And just look at the plethora of places, she's been both in research and Ben to talk about her books, but I've seen that you made it into the ITWs big thrill magazine with an excerpt syrup and thriller fixed.com and Newland books.com. And I just want to find out what your secret sauce is to, to being everywhere and having so much great traction on your work.


[00:28:13] David: Can you share that with us Avanti?


[00:28:15] Avanti: I think it starts with having a good novel, and that means having a good day. Andrea Roberts Robinson has been my editor on the last two books. And she's fantastic if anybody, any writers out there looking for an editor. So you've got to have a good book.


[00:28:29] Avanti: Then you need to have some connections, right? It really helps to get some blurbs for your work. And I've been just blessed with the outpouring of support from other authors. So you reach out to other authors and you say, Hey, I absolutely love your work. We have a similar audience base and I do a lot of marketing and, it will be good for you to learn my book because I do a lot of marketing.


[00:28:54] Avanti: So would you like to blur my book? And I've been just very grateful for the overwhelming support from my fellow authors. And then it's a lot of hard work, right? The public relations part is one part. The marketing is another part. And underpinning all of those is. So it's not cheap doing a launch or marketing your books on an ongoing basis.


[00:29:16] Avanti: A good editor costs money. You guys should be prepared to spend money for a good editor. And then there's the copy editor, right? So it's not just one editor, it's two. And if you are in a place where you're doing your own work, or even if you're querying, I think it's really good to hire an editor before you query put your best foot forward.


[00:29:36] Avanti: All the marketing and public relations, you can do some of that stuff yourself. Dana K has a great PR program where she teaches people, authors specifically how to. Do their own public relations, how to reach out now I'm fortunate enough to have an excellent public relations person. I do some of the marketing myself and some of those placements you can [00:30:00] buy with enough advanced notice some of them you cannot, right?


[00:30:03] Avanti: So you have to just put yourself out there and, taken on a case by case basis. And, see if, those particular places will accept you or not. And once you start getting some traction, then it becomes a lot easier, right? Because as you mentioned, people can now go to my website and they can see, oh, I was on an NPR program, I've been featured in ITW a few times.


[00:30:24] Avanti: So you get some credible. I had one post go viral and Newsweek picked it up, that was really fun and fantastic. Wow. Yeah. So all of those things they add up and they add your credibility. So the hardest thing is starting from scratch. A lot of non-fiction authors have a platform.


[00:30:41] Avanti: A lot of fiction authors do not, were former attorneys, former doctors, former it executives, former waitresses, former lifeguards, former, whatever. And we're trying to put our work out there so whatever you can do to get some initial credibility. Really helps. Whether that's finding a publisher, black Opal books published my first novel.


[00:31:02] Avanti: So whatever you can do there if your great aunt nailing knows, James Patterson have great aunt Nellie asked James Patterson for a blurb. So what, so you pull out those stops, you dig through your connections. You find out who knows who the world is. Six degrees of separation. So you do what you can for all of that.


[00:31:22] Avanti: And then there's all the ads, right? There's, BookBub Facebook, Amazon and all three are very different platforms. I still do not feel like I've mastered Amazon at all. It's very expensive cost per click. And I'm not at all happy with my results there. BookBub, I've got a pretty good money in sales out Facebook with this book, I'm finally doing some Facebook ads and thanks to some words of wisdom from other authors on different Facebook groups and like that I've been able to figure out finally how to get Facebook ads to work for me.


[00:31:57] Avanti: But until you've got quite a few books to where you have a back list you're better off. Spending the farm.


[00:32:05] David: That is a really let's stop there and put a pin in that because a, not a pen because it isn't stopping, but that's such a great piece of advice because you can get wrapped up in, let's say you have one book, maybe two books and you start pumping money into BookBub and Facebook and Amazon and so forth.


[00:32:23] David: And if you'd not really, cause I blew through all a lot of money when I didn't know what I was doing at all and it can be daunting, scary. Then couple that with the fact that some of these companies like to continue to change their algorithm and then you are right about the time you get used to this, they're over here in your leg.


[00:32:45] David: And it's great. When you have friends like you have that have given you insight on how to do certain things, how to master, or maybe even not just mastered, be able to understand it.


[00:32:55] Avanti: Yeah. Oh, what's his name? Robert Ryan with Amazon ads unleashed. He's got a Facebook group for authors out there. Go check that out because there's an amazing number of authors that share their words of wisdom out there.


[00:33:11] Avanti: David Ogren, I'm probably gonna mispronounce his name. He wrote the book on BookBub ads and has a marketing newsletter. That's free to subscribe to full of wonderful tidbits and tips and tricks. And and I made the same mistake. You did, I put out the lost power. I got some great blurbs, won a couple of words and thought the whole, world's going to love this book.


[00:33:32] Avanti: It's going to be a million copy bestseller if only I spend enough on advertising. I have sold a lot of that book. But it's not a million copy bestseller, I'm here to say it's sold a lot and has hit a number of bestseller lists. That's different than, the million copy bestseller.


[00:33:47] Avanti: And so the advice I would give to my younger writing self is to wait until you've got 3, 4, 5 books, because that's what the guys that are spending a buck, 50, a click on Amazon. They've got a back list of, their, the Kevin Tomlinson's of the world who have 40 books out there. So they're able to spend 10, $12 total or more for that first reader, because they're hoping that reader is going to go through and read some if not all of their backlist.


[00:34:16] Avanti: And if you've only got three books, you need to really watch your.


[00:34:21] David: Oh, yeah, it disappears quickly and back to David Gaga. And however you say his last name, he is a hoot and a half Scottish. I believe I'll sometimes just find myself going down a rabbit hole, watching his YouTube videos because he's so engaging and so bizarre and so interesting, but he does so much stuff for free by just wanting to help there.


[00:34:43] David: So that's another thing about this community that we love so much, right? Avanti is that. They just want to help and be of service in a very few businesses I've ever been involved in, which is mainly show business. You don't quite find that recipe


[00:34:59] Avanti: [00:35:00] facets with the, with it. Yeah. Yeah. But I think we all love books.


[00:35:04] Avanti: We all grew up as readers. We all want to share the love of the written word. When we find somebody whose work we resonate with, we're rabid about it, it's oh, this is the best book ever. What do you mean? The guy only wrote one book. Oh, who am I thinking of? I am Pilgrim Terry Terry, somebody, I think it was the only book he wrote, it was a great book.


[00:35:22] Avanti: But he, for whatever reason wrote one,


[00:35:25] David: that is the, that is a kick in the shorts and it you've just laid it. Yeah. You lay it down yet. Oh my God. You're like, I love this. I cannot wait for the next what's that. Oh, you didn't write anything else. Okay.


[00:35:37] Avanti: Oh yeah. It's a hard industry. Yeah. It is a hard industry to make money in, a hard industry to break into from a traditional publishing standpoint.


[00:35:48] Avanti: And from a supply and demand standpoint, there's the proliferation of Amazon and self publishing has been a blessing and a curse because there's I feel like what's happening in the industry is the sub genres are becoming more and more defined. But I also feel like there's a lot of people, a lot of readers, maybe, like me who don't necessarily want to read just.


[00:36:13] Avanti: That little itsy-bitsy niche can get boring. You read four or five books that are all exactly the like alike and it's huh I could see the end of that coming. So it's fun to ma mash up the genres a little bit, like I do. Or I really appreciate other authors that are, at the top of their game that can really are either masters of that genre or are able to do something a little bit different,


[00:36:38] David: And to that point mashing up there's something I couldn't help, but feel a a spiritual influence in the character.


[00:36:47] David: Maddie Marshall, it was. It was sick. And I grew up an a, in a very strategically and strong Christian background. Something in there resonated with me and I went, wait, what is that now? So first of all, am I right? And and secondly, what's the background or against again, that that secret sauce to adding that extra little layer that I couldn't quite, and I think you referenced it earlier as paranormal, and maybe it is paranormal, but there was a spiritual aspect in there.


[00:37:18] David: And I cannot put my finger on it. Exactly. But I remember going out about,


[00:37:24] Avanti: Yeah. I too have been a spiritual seeker. I grew up Catholic and that didn't didn't wet. My appetite. Maddie Marshall is she's. She gets to take advantage of. 20 or 30 years of seeking if you will for spiritual answers.


[00:37:41] Avanti: And she's a little bit of a dichotomy in the thriller world because instead of judo or Krav Maga, or, just being born with a gun in her hand, she actually has a background as an Akido practitioner and Akido is something I studied for a little while. And it's a martial art that is more of a defensive martial art.


[00:38:07] Avanti: Okay. So there's the whole point of Akido is to bring things back to a peaceful resolution. So you use the opponent's energy against themselves, but not to hurt them. Okay. You're just trying to get them to stop being. Yeah, you're just like, whoa, dude, why did you just throw that punch at me? Let me grab your wrist and twist it and bring it around your back and make you realize the error of your ways, just chill out.


[00:38:35] Avanti: So that's a Quito in a nutshell, and Maddie started studying this in high school and by the time the books start, she's a black belt and trying to progress. And I've always been really fascinated by the Steven Seagal is of the world and the spiritual, energetic aspect of martial arts.


[00:38:52] Avanti: So there's some Akita practitioners that can do all of those things. I just talked to. Without actually touching the person, they can see the person's energy coming and they can work with the person's energy and, bring about that peaceful resolution in that way. And so all of my fascinations with those things are able to, live in Maddie and Maddie while not necessarily being a spiritual seeker.


[00:39:21] Avanti: She has to confront throughout these books fear. And that was part of why I wanted to write thrillers is because they're all. Beer and overcoming fear and overcoming the fear of death. So in, in some of the earlier books, Maddie has to deal with her fear of claustrophobia in the doomsday medallion.


[00:39:39] Avanti: She's already dealt with that, but readers of the whole series will, when she walks into this cave at the end, she's oh yeah, no claustrophobia here. Because it's really big will, likewise has to deal with some of his fears in the first book he's afraid of Heights and has to, in order to save the day he has to climb [00:40:00] something very tall at the end of the book.


[00:40:01] Avanti: And I'm pulling in some pop psychology, some mysticism. And and the doomsday medallion was just so fun to write because it's all about Nostradamus. And for those of you listening, if you know this much about Nostradamus, that's about how much I knew too. When I first had the idea to pull in, to use him, to tie some of the other story elements together, I wanted to dig into Maddie and Will's backstory when their mom died, when they were young.


[00:40:32] Avanti: I wanted to dig into the backstory of van ops, which had this this focus on the paranormal and out of body experiences based on CIA, true story. So I wanted to pull those things in and I thought, oh, the history element, Nostradamus, this guy I knew this much was that he had theoretically prophesied a bunch of things that came true.


[00:40:54] Avanti: So I, that was all I knew as I started to research Nostradamus. I'm like, how did this guy do that? Did he really do that? Did he, was he really wanted, was he really a prophet? Was he really able to predict the great fire of London? Was he really able to predict the cutting off of Henry the eighth's head?


[00:41:12] Avanti: Was he really able to predict Hitler or the gall? And the more I researched, the more, I was just fascinated to golf, for instance, who was a three-time French president Nostradamus had a quatrain or a four line poem that actually mentioned the name, the goal hundreds of years earlier. Not just like 20 years, the goal wasn't even born.


[00:41:35] Avanti: She was like a couple of hundred years earlier. So I'm just fascinated by how did this guy do that? And what if he had. What if he had a way that he codafide how he did that. And all the military superpowers of the world wanted that formula. Wouldn't that be fun? And yes, that's a super fun premise for the novel.


[00:41:56] Avanti: But it his background and his, how he does that when I first was trying to figure out how I wanted to play that I didn't really know what his formula was or could have been. And so the twins are arguing about, did he use herbs of some sort or meditation of some sort?


[00:42:14] Avanti: So throughout the book there, they're arguing about what his formula is all about. And as I wrote the book, I came up with a different hypothesis on how he might have been able to do that. That involves a more spiritual way of being rather than something, a little more mundane. So yeah, there is some spirituality in the book and the reader feedback to that because it's more of a universal spirituality, so it's not a dividing type of spirituality.


[00:42:41] Avanti: It's more of a unifying type of spirituality, which I think is what true spirituality is all about. Yeah.


[00:42:47] David: We don't need any more divide in spirituality. We got plenty of


[00:42:53] Avanti: that. We have plenty of that. And it's so ironic because you look at the underlying tenants of all the world's major religions and they all are about love,


[00:43:03] David: right?


[00:43:03] David: Yes. I was having a conversation with someone just this past weekend. And they asked when they found out. This particular gentleman found out some of my religious background after he lifted his jaw off of the bench. He said. And how did you get out of that? How what made you, where did what was the solution?


[00:43:30] David: I said when I woke up, but that begs a whole nother conversation. The point being I said here was a little bit of my beef and it's always been my beef and being a preacher's kid. I can say this with reckless abandon in case you're wondering I am now. And that is this. And I always want to say, okay wait.


[00:43:51] David: So you're telling me that your religion is the only way period. Interesting. Mr Muslim, Mr. Catholic, Mr. Buddhist, Mister fill in the blank there. Theirs is not really. And there in lies a lot of that equation. I won't go down that rabbit hole of auntie, but you can see where I could go co don't you well, and


[00:44:13] Avanti: there's a lot of fiction.


[00:44:13] Avanti: Oh yeah. From the crusades to modern day genocide, it's a sad state of affairs, but it's seems to be part of the human condition and it's too bad because at the end of the day, we are all human. And the only thing that really differentiates us from each other is what we think and what we believe.


[00:44:31] Avanti: And we have the power to change those thoughts and beliefs.


[00:44:34] David: And I'm having a, I'm having a flashback. My dad and I were driving home from church one day and we had overheard this argument between a couple of our brethren, our relievers, and they were arguing about something and I turned to dad and he's driving.


[00:44:50] David: I said, dad, can I just boil us down to the essence? Can I just ask it? Isn't it all just about love and he turns Migos. So that's all [00:45:00] it is. And that's where our heads. Yep. If you will turn in your hymnals to number amen brother. All right. As we start to wrap it up, I do have this question.


[00:45:12] David: It'll be perfect timing. And it, as it pertains to like focusing on our goals of auntie or whatever, do you have a mantra or a philosophy? Not a religion, but a philosophy that you kinda hold on to you live by you formulate your life by,


[00:45:28] Avanti: I have a lot of those and they eat their way into the books.


[00:45:31] Avanti: I think the one that might be most appropriate to share is the epigraph at the beginning of the statement done. Do you remember that one? It's by stun SU who was a famous military strategist and he says, if you know the enemy and know thyself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.


[00:45:53] Avanti: Yeah. Yeah. So the art of war. Yeah. So there's a lot wrapped up into that, knowing thyself and I still am learning about myself. But fortunately there's a lot of, tools and techniques that people can use to do that. And sometimes it's just a matter of sitting quietly with yourself and seeing what's, what's inside


[00:46:18] David: And the getting the client is 50%


[00:46:21] Avanti: of it.


[00:46:22] Avanti: Oh, there's so much noise that we all have. And when we're emotionally traumatized, Maddie does this in in book one, she's just all spun out. There's so much going on and she's, the pop term is she's plugged in, she's having an emotional reaction. And she needs to deal with that in order to.


[00:46:43] Avanti: Continue to on her journey to she's having to pass these tests.


[00:46:48] David: We're going to get two rapid fire questions here in just a second. But I have to ask this one question because it's something I ask all writers, especially someone with your expertise. And if you could boil down your writing advice, you're sitting in front of a brand new writers up and coming writers that are struggling, but maybe, it doesn't have to be one specific sentence, but just the gist of what your writing advice would be.


[00:47:13] David: What would that be? I think it would


[00:47:15] Avanti: be to learn, to use both sides of your brain as creative people. We tend to think about one side or the other, we've been told that the right side of our brain is very creative. And I think that's true and I think we need to learn how to harness that, so I harness that creativity. In the shower or in that in-between sleepy wakey state, on the weekend when you can sleep in and you're those in that's perfect time to access your subconscious, right. That muse, or when I'm on a walk or meditating. Those are the times when I access that creative part.


[00:47:51] Avanti: So when I have that writer's block, when I just don't know I'm working on that outline and I'm just trying to figure out how all these pieces fit together. I use one of those that creative aspect of my brain to try to figure that. But I also use the left side of the more analytical part of my brain for the structure, for the outline for trying to figure out those beats, and where to place those scenes.


[00:48:15] Avanti: And also some of the business side, the marketing side. So I think it's very helpful to to consciously feed both sides of your brain and to be aware when you're using one side or the other. So that's my writing advice.


[00:48:29] David: I like that since you're a fan of the show, you're very familiar with rapid fire questions.


[00:48:34] David: You shouldn't be because I think of my four, I'm using three that I use a lot of because. I just liked them. And until somebody writes in and says, Hey, would you please, for the love of


[00:48:48] Avanti: all things, holy use a different


[00:48:49] David: question. Yeah. But okay. Okay. Don't be so rapid fire question. Number one, you're an outdoorsy person.


[00:48:56] David: So what with rafting and water skiing, backpacking hiking, and you've planned an extended hike through the Sierra mountains. One of your favorite hots, you're going to be gone for weeks Avanti. In case you didn't know this you've packed plenty of water and raw rations. You're all good to go there, but it's time to pack some music, being a music lover and a former radio DJ for many years.


[00:49:16] David: I want you to, and I'm going to use this and phrases of a CD or an album. Of course, you're not taking a turntable or necessary as CD boombox, but three of your favorites, you guys. Yeah, exactly. I can see you doing that. You're going to add this to your gear. Just give me three to three to pop in your mind that you like.


[00:49:33] David: Yeah, there you go.


[00:49:35] Avanti: Yeah. So maybe some REM some cowboy junkies and maybe some, mix from K rock of the eighties. I remember that. Were you in LA with the K rock? This yes.


[00:49:50] David: Katie rock. Yeah.


[00:49:53] Avanti: Yeah. Yeah. I'm an alternative eighties girl all the way. Nice.


[00:49:57] David: Okay. All right. On that same [00:50:00] trip question number two, you've packed the three tools that you're never without.


[00:50:07] David: What are the three and why?


[00:50:09] Avanti: I wish I had that Blackberry, but I'm going to have to bring my cell phone. I'm never without my cell phone on a trip like that. Another couple of tools. I don't know, my boots got to have my boots and some sort of knife. I've got a couple of really cool knives.


[00:50:28] Avanti: My dad's pocket knife would probably be excellent for that tool. In case you need to whittle chop, stab, whatever you need to do,


[00:50:37] David: hopefully more, a whittling and less stabbing, hopefully. All right. Number three, Tammy. And I have invited you to a dinner party at our home here in San Diego.


[00:50:48] David: You can bring the shepherds if you'd like to, is it two.


[00:50:51] Avanti: One and a mix once a child Shepard mix. Yeah.


[00:50:54] David: Okay. You can bring them along. Now. I have asked that you invite someone you think would make an interesting conversationalist that would add to our dinner party. And by the way, my dead my Carolina dog Dexter will be there giving your kids some company.


[00:51:08] David: So it can be one or two. I'm just going to go with a one. Cause it's pretty easy. It can be living or dead. Somebody you've always looked up to. But who would that be? That you would invite and why?


[00:51:19] Avanti: Oh, let's invite gala DOE because I want her to blurb my next book.


[00:51:26] David: I think you've mentioned her no less than four times during the show.


[00:51:30] David: Yeah.


[00:51:31] Avanti: Yeah. My, my next book is either going to be called Cleopatra's vendetta or kiss or the Cobra. And from what I hear, gal Gadot is making a Cleopatra movie, a remake of the biopic. And I have a feeling she's going go in a similar direction with that as I'm going with this novel, which is a What was happening at the time between Cleopatra and Caesar and the war that they had.


[00:51:57] Avanti: And how does that affect us today? And I think if gal Gadot was able to read my novel, I think she'd blurb it in a heartbeat.


[00:52:04] David: Yeah. And


[00:52:06] Avanti: she'd be a great conversationalist too. It would be fascinating to hear some of her stories.


[00:52:11] David: Absolutely. And a lovely gal to boot. No. Sure. Yeah. All right.


[00:52:16] David: And number four, last question. Hollywood has optioned doomsday medallion for a big blockbuster film. We are all very excited about that. Finally


[00:52:25] Avanti: got a clue.


[00:52:25] David: They got a clue. They said, we're going to put all our money on this one. You get to help a book, the lead who's going to play, Maddie will say, and in your perfect world, who would that be also?


[00:52:38] David: And I'm not sure if you're interested in acting, but something tells me you could act up a storm, but if you could play a role, would you, and who would it


[00:52:47] Avanti: be? We've mentioned her name four or five times in the conversation as recently as 30 seconds ago. So gal. Perfect Maddie, her acting and in wonder woman red notice she's got the, she's got the looks, she's got the Maddie look and I think she's got that twinkle in her eye that is ordinary enough to play Maddie.


[00:53:08] Avanti: Let's see, in doomsday medallion, who would I play? We have a young character of real who's only 16. I couldn't play that. Be fun to play the blind Asian woman that would take some doing wouldn't it?


[00:53:21] David: Yeah.


[00:53:23] Avanti: I could, we've got those masks now, right?


[00:53:26] Avanti: The, the mission impossible masks


[00:53:29] David: and you can adapt its movies. You can adapt and you can even tweak the character a little bit if you need to.


[00:53:36] Avanti: True. Yeah. True. We can put a lot more gray in my hair and, I could be an old blind Caucasian woman for that matter. Yeah. Yeah. That would be a lot of fun.


[00:53:46] Avanti: And I would love for Hollywood to to recognize that these would make, I think, fantastic films. They're just James Rollins said they're written in a cinematic style.


[00:53:54] David: You can't beat it. That's why I think I enjoyed it so much is because it was like watching them. And I hope you get that out of my book as well.


[00:54:02] Avanti: I hope so too. I'm, only a third of the way there and it's a lot of fun so far. And


[00:54:06] David: when it comes to the sequel, you let me know. I'll send you a copy. Okay. Okay. Fair enough. All right, folks, if you'd like to learn more, visit Avanti centraide.com. You can follow her on Twitter. As I do at Avanti Sentra or Instagram, where she likes to mix it up with Avanti, Dotson, trade.author.


[00:54:23] David: To make it fresh and keep you on your toes. Yeah. Or


[00:54:27] Avanti: van ops.net. If my name is challenging to spell is as most people on the phone have a hard time with that, just go to van ops.net, and that will refer you over to my website. And from there you can connect with me. You can get the first six chapters of the loss power and check out my work or drop me a line I'd love to hear from you.


[00:54:47] Avanti: That's


[00:54:47] David: awesome. I that's a little thing I did not know. So we'll make sure that it gets on the screen, but Avanti, thank you so much for the gift of your time. This has been as delightful as I had hoped it would be. Okay. Oh,


[00:54:57] Avanti: David, thank you for the gift of having me on your show. [00:55:00] I'm walking among giants today and just on cloud nine.


[00:55:03] Avanti: Just super happy that I've been able to share your time. Thank you so much.


[00:55:07] David: Absolutely. Once again, a big thanks to Avanti Centra and the book doomsday medallion. What a fun time learned a lot. Didn't you now let's talk about next week, Erin, Phillip Clark is going to be talking about his book under color of law, man.


[00:55:22] David: This one I got into instantly, it's a cop thriller reminds me a little bit of my detective Patton. Burelli I got to admit, but if you're a fan of Michael Conley, you're going to like Aaron Phillips. Clark's under color of law. Folks. Do me a quick favor. Would you stop on by a YouTube channel?


[00:55:41] David: youtube.com/david temple, author and subscribe. If you like to watch the show, subscribe, give us a thumbs up. And of course you can always leave us a review on any of your favorite podcast channels, including the thriller zone.com or apple, Stitcher, Spotify, et cetera. Those five stories. Really do go a long way and helping us grow our show.


[00:56:03] David: That is it for now. I'm David temple, your host. I'll see you next week on The Thriller Zone.