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Review: Solstice Shadows

Solstice Shadows Solstice Shadows by Avanti Centrae

This was the second entry into the VanOps series and I feel the first set the bar very high. I enjoyed this one overall and it definitely had strong Indiana Jones/Da Vinci Code vibes. I enjoyed seeing how our main protagonists grew in this one and will be curious to see where it goes next.

Audiobook was well performed and well paced.

I also had a chance to do an email interview with the author!

Books with Bircky: What is your writing process? 

Avanti Centrae: My writing process is a lot like building a house. I start with the vision—in house terms that would be things like Ranch vs Victorian. For me with writing, that means genre. I write international thrillers that combine intrigue, history, science, and mystery into pulse-pounding action. Next, as with construction, I create the blueprint, although in my case that’s a detailed outline. I take an initial idea and layer on until I have a multi-page outline with a bullet per chapter than contains the location, point-of-view character, and the conflict in that scene. Once I finish the story’s blueprint, I run it by a chosen few for feedback, make adjustments, and I’m ready to add dialogue and description. At the end of the draft, my editors get to add their suggestions, and presto…next thing you know, we have a book.

BwB: What was the inspiration for the series? 

AC: The characters were the inspiration for the VanOps series. I wanted to have several main protagonists, and ended up with a strong female, and two male heroes. Green-eyed Maddy Marshall holds a black belt in a form of non-violent martial arts called aikido and often struggles with doing the right thing. She’s a computer app designer and truth-seeker. Her boyfriend, Bear Thorenson, has always wanted to carry the weight of the world on his sturdy shoulders by being a covert agent. He seeks justice for all. Maddy’s tall twin brother, Will Argones, is an engineer and skeptic who reluctantly discovers he’s good with knives while pursuing revenge. The three of them have the sort of camaraderie and conflict that stems from knowing each other a long time.

BwB: Where do you see the series going next? 

AC: The first book in the series, THE LOST POWER, dealt with the hunt for Alexander the Great’s mysterious Egyptian weapon. Next, in SOLSTICE SHADOWS, our heroes had to decipher an encrypted ancient star chart before extremists triggered a high-tech apocalypse. The third book in the series in is that blueprint creation stage, so it’s too early to share.

BwB: Who are your favorite authors? 

AC: As you might expect, some of my favorite authors are those to whom my work is often compared: James Rollins, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler. I also love thriller writers Gregg Hurwitz, Preston & Child, KJ Howe, and Carlos Ruiz Zafron. In the fantasy genre, I appreciate Robert Jordan’s world-building and Terry Pratchett’s humor.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of the audiobook. All opinions are my own.


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