Avanti Centrae is an international best-selling author who blends history, science and suspense into pulse pounding action thrillers. And she’s here today talking about her latest book, Cleopatra’s Vendetta.
‘Born a goddess Cleopatra died a prisoner, but the cobra’s deadly kiss was just the beginning.’
Hi, I’m your host, Jenny Wheeler. And today on binge reading, Avanti talks about how she melds ancient history with contemporary politics, how history is told by the winners and why she wants to restore Cleopatra’s reputation as a world changing woman.
Book Giveaway This Week
But before we get to that, just let’s talk about our giveaway for this week. Sadie’s Vow Book One in the Home At Last series by myself, Jenny Wheeler, free this week. We’re preparing for the launch of Susannah’s Secret, Book Two in the series, next month. This gives you a chance to read Book One before Book Two gets published.
All the books can be read as standalone stories. The offer is limited to 50 copies. And it’s for a limited time, only for one week or until all the copies are taken up.
You’ll find all the links for this episode plus the links for the giveaway in the show notes for this episode on www.thejoysofbingereading.com and remember, if you enjoy what you hear, post a review of the show on your favorite podcast host so that others get to hear about us as well.
Things you’ll hear about in the episode:
How the story combines Cleopatra’s legacy with a contemporary thriller involving Think Tank Special Ops leader Timothy Stryker and his wife Angie during an Italian holiday.
How Avanti was influenced by popular fiction heroes like James Rollins, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler.
Books Avanti recommends for thriller readers. (think Steve Berry and Gregg Hurwitz among others.)
The power of propaganda down the centuries
The party Cleopatra threw for Mark Anthony
Was Cleopatra particularly beautiful?
How Avanti made the change from Silicon Valley IY expert to best-selling international author.
Links in the episode
Steve Berry: The Columbus Affair, https://steveberry.org/books/the-columbus-affair/synopsis/
James Rollins: https://jamesrollins.com/
Clive Cussler: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_Cussler
Dan Brown: https://danbrown.com/
Andy McDermott: http://www.andy-mcdermott.com/
Gregg Hurwitz: https://gregghurwitz.net/
JF Penn: https://jfpenn.com/
David Wood: https://www.davidwoodweb.com/
Dan Brown: https://danbrown.com/
Stacy Schiff: Clepatra, A Life; https://www.amazon.com/Cleopatra-Life-Stacy-Schiff/dp/0316001945
Deep Fake – Just how good is it? https://www.creativebloq.com/features/deepfake-examples
Gal Gadot – May be doing a Cleopatra Bio pic; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal_Gadot
Where to find Avanti Online
Note: What follows is only a partial transcript… hear the full episode on your favorite podcast provider.
Introducing thriller author Avanti Centrae
Jenny Wheeler: But now here’s Avanti. Hello there, Avanti, and welcome to the show. It’s so good to have you with us.
Avanti Centrae: Hey Jenny, thank you so much for having me. I love your podcast and recently got to listen to one with Lee Goldberg and I just couldn’t be happier to be here with you.
Jenny Wheeler: Thank you so much. Look, you are a number one international best-selling author who blends history, science, and suspense into pulse pounding action thrillers, rather similar to what Lee does.
But today we are talking about your latest work, which is Cleopatra’s Vendetta. It’s going to be released later this month in the US, so we are right on the knocker in terms of talking about it as it comes out.
It’s a far-reaching adventure which links the ancient Queen Cleopatra to very much up to date events that are happening in our own world right now.
And I wondered for a start, is Cleopatra a figure who has fascinated you? Because you’ve got a tremendous depth of understanding about the woman. You’ve done a lot of research on her.
Cleopatra – the image and the reality
Avanti Centrae: Oh, she’s absolutely fascinating. One of the most powerful people in history. There’s so much to be fascinated about her and I had such fun researching her. I can’t wait to dive in and tell you a little bit more about what I found out.
Jenny Wheeler: Fantastic. Your tagline for the book is Born a goddess, Cleopatra died a prisoner, but the cobra’s deadly kiss was just the beginning, which is a great tagline.
Your book does stretch from ancient times right through to the most UpToDate cyber stuff that’s going on. And I wondered, I noticed in other books too, you do that stretch of a thousand years from way, way back to very contemporary.
Do you like to see that clash of cultures?
Avanti Centrae: Oh, absolutely. That stretch of history, in this case about 2000 years, and I find that not only does history tend to repeat itself, but we can learn a lot from history. I tend to be a big picture person with a number of fascinations including things like psychology and spirituality and history and those things influence my writing.
History as told by the conquerors
The history that happened at the time between them is pretty fascinating. And it turned out that Octavian was able to defeat her because propaganda. He started distributing leaflets around town. He had statues of her and Mark Anthony. He made them their eyes bleed.
He was passing out posters saying that she was basically a whore and evil and from Hades. He basically waged a war of misinformation, making Cleopatra look bad. And because he and Mark Anthony were dueling, they had this civil war going on and so Octavian ended up getting, people to his side because he made Cleopatra look bad.
The historians think that’s why Octavian was able to defeat the two of them in the big naval battle. And then the next summer, actually in August, he went over and invaded Alexandria. And at that point, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony had no allies left. No recourse. And so they both ended up killing themselves. Fascinating. Fascinating people.
Was Cleopatra as beautiful as Liz Taylor?
Jenny Wheeler: Now tell me was she is beautiful as Elizabeth Taylor
Avanti Centrae: Historians think she might have actually had a big nose. They, so they think that her beauty was Perhaps not. Classic, in the sense of, drop dead gorgeous, classic beauty, but she had, her nose was a little bit big. Some of the coins that they have found show her with a hooked nose.
But it sounds like her personality was just big. She just had this big personality and was charming and witty and funny to work her way into the hearts of Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. Probably through her wit and cunning and smarts just as much as how much she may have been beautiful.
Jenny Wheeler: I was thinking about that as I was reading the story because. It’s almost like a sexist thing that she got the guys just cuz she was, sexy and it discounts all the other things about her, doesn’t it?
Avanti Centrae: It does, and I think that’s part of what Octavian did for the next 40 years. So he ruled after he defeated the two of them, he ruled for another 40 some years which is a really long time. So he had plenty of time to make her look bad, to denigrate her intelligence and make it sound like she was just a slutty horror that seduced these.
He tore down her statues. And I think that destroyed her past. We are at a little bit of a loss to know exactly what her influence was, at the time, because for 40 years to make her look bad.
If you enjoyed Avanti’s books you might also enjoy Lee Goldberg’s Eve Ronin mysteries…
Like Avanti? You might enjoy Lee Goldberg’s Eve Ronin mysteries
On Binge Reading next week
On Binge reading next week.
.Douglas Skeleton’s Where Demons Hide, a Scottish thriller series with a supernatural edge, featuring crime reporter Rebecca Connolly.
Rebecca’s skepticism is challenged after a body is found on a lonely moor in the center of a pentagram. Did something scare a woman to death? Was she killed by supernatural means or is there a more down to earth explanation?
That’s next week on binge reading.