When we last checked in with my fellow NorCal resident Avanti Centrae, the first book in her new VANOPS thriller series was just hitting bookshelves. For today’s edition of the Creativity and COVID-19 Special Project, I touched base with her again to see this pandemic is impacting her work on the rest of the series.
OM: How has this situation impacted you as a writer?
Centrae: It’s been distracting. My heart is heavy for all those who have lost someone they love. The images coming out of Italy and New York take my breath away. I’m also concerned for our industry. Many bookstores are struggling to pay rent and have already had to lay off workers. The collective angst can easily pull my attention away.
OM: Have you been able to maintain your creativity during all this? If so, have you done anything in particular to keep your mojo?
Centrae: Last week, I finally began writing my third book. The outline “For Kiss of The Cobra” had been started over a year ago, and now that my marketing efforts for VANOPS: The Lost Power are winding down, it’s a good time to write. Although today I’m distracted in a good way: I’m celebrating another award for “The Lost Power,” which won a shiny bronze medal late last night for a U.K. based contest called, “The Wishing Shelf”. To keep my muse happy, I’ve been turning my phone upside down while I write, limiting my news consumption to a few times a day, and being conscious of where I choose to put my attention. I’m also meditating more often, which always help me deal with stress.
OM: Do you have any advice for someone struggling to tear themselves away from the news and back to their creative projects?
Centrae: I can offer a few other suggestions that work for me. I try to remember why I write and that helps me stay focused and motivated. I set a daily creative goal, usually aiming for a chapter a day. I subscribe to a news source that delivers breaking news. I use several, including the New York Times, so I know I won’t miss anything important. When I mute my phone, I set “favorite” contacts to ensure I won’t miss a call from family. Yoga has been a lifelong companion, making good times better and bad times bearable. It’s a great time to try a video yoga class!
OM: Do you have a new project you are working on, or one that is coming out soon, that we can share with readers?
Centrae: The next VANOPS book, “Solstice Shadows,” is in the editing queue. It has a different type of twist and the heroes travel to ancient archeoastronomy sites to track down clues. I had a blast researching that one. Here’s the logline:
A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse?
Readers who need a distraction can check out the first six chapters of “The Lost Power” for free at avanticentrae.com.