Isn’t it fun to get obsessed about a book, or a book series? It’s a great feeling to get lost into something exciting. And my latest addiction happens to be A.W. Exley’s Artifact Hunters series. If you missed it, please check out my review of the first book Book Review: Nefertiti’s Heart By A.W. Exley, and earlier this week I did a review of the entire series Series Review: The Artifact Hunters. Now it’s time to get a peak at the author herself. Check it out below.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! First, I have some questions about the Artifact Hunters series.
This is a fantastic series that brings together an amazing cast of characters. All of the characters loveable with their own quirks. Did you find one character that you liked the absolute most, and why?
Jackson! He didn’t have much of a role in the first book and he was supposed to be this thug in the background. But as the series progressed, he grew on me. He’s got this really tough exterior, and as the story unfolded, I discovered why he was like that. As Cara says he’s a crème brulee––crack that tough outer shell and he’s all soft and gooey inside LOL
I love the way you brought Cara and Nate together. Their stories so intertwined, especially once Nefertiti’s Heart became involved. What gave you the idea for this complex and fascinating artifact? And does it prolong their life in any way? How long will Cara and Nate be around (if you can say without ruining any potential new books in the series)?
Oh gosh… I wrote the book so long ago, I’m going to have to scrap the memory banks! Lol I remember trying to decide what to write and I pulled out my Egyptology books, a stack of true crime, and decided I was going to mash them together. That got me thinking about Nefertiti and what sort of artifact she would inspire. As to how long Cara and Nate might be around… I’ve tried killing them both off already and it didn’t work, so its safe to say they will be around for a bit longer yet 😉
This series is set on the backdrop of cool steampunk artifacts in the Victorian age. It’s a great world you built with lots of history, but with your own personal spin complete with mechanical hearts and beasts. Where did you get your inspiration to create this impressive world? Did you find it difficult to walk the line between fact and fiction?
I’m a bit of a history nerd and love stories that are grounded in real historical periods and events––or maybe I’ve watched too much Dr Who, and I know there are some events you can’t change. So I normally use actual events as the skeleton of the world, and then I ask myself “what if?” questions around the invention of technology or changes in society and figure out how they would change/impact other aspects of daily life.
So far you have five novels and two novellas in this series. Will you be continuing Cara and Nate’s story, or perhaps pick up with Rachel (as the end of book 5 might imply)?
I’m not sure at this stage, as potentially I could go in two different directions – another adventure for Cara, or I could pass the baton to Rachel. They’re still arguing about that in my head…
You also have several other series you have put out. Can you talk just a little about the series you are working on now, and what plans you might have for the future?
There’s nothing new in the pipeline unfortunately as I’ve cut back my writing in recent years. I am giving an old YA steampunk novel a light rewrite (it was originally trad published and I got the rights back) and I dug out the sequel I started nearly 10 years ago. After that I’m just going to see what life throws at me.
So let’s talk a little about you as a writer. What first drew you to becoming a writer?
I know it’s an old cliché, but I’ve always written. I wrote my own stories from a young age and I can remember scribbling in a journal at night. Over time, I experimented with different genres (I dabbled in epic fantasy and thrillers at one point), until I found my comfy spot with historical fantasy.
What is your favorite part about being a writer?
Not wearing pants at work…
Is there one book, author, or event that has influenced you the most as a writer?
Definitely Anne McCaffrey. As a young teen I devoured her books set on Pern and I desperately wanted my own dragon! Falling in love with her stories made me to have more adventures in her world and that lead me to creating my own fanfic set on Pern. From there, I grew the confidence to create my own worlds and characters and my own unique stories
So let’s do some fun questions. If you could relocate and live anywhere in the world (money not an issue), where would it be, and why?
Scotland. I went there some years ago now and I fell in love with it. The scenery is rugged and the sense of history soaked into the very soil blew my mind, as New Zealand is such a young country. Not to mention around every corner was a castle! Lol I’d relocate to some small, picturesque village where the residents are hiding all sorts of secrets.
What is your favorite time of the day, and why?
I’m a morning person. There’s something about the early hours, when the house is silent (apart from the dog’s snoring) and the potential of a new day stretches in front of you.
Are you more of a chocolate fan, or a wine person?
I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I’m a wine person. I am very fortunate in that I live in a wine growing region and we have some incredible wines available in New Zealand. There’s nothing like sitting on the verandah in the evening with a glass of Riesling.
Who is your favorite author?
Elizabeth Hunter. I loved her Elemental series and I recently devoured the Irin Chronicles.
What is currently your favorite TV show?
Carnival Row and I can’t wait for season two! I tell everyone that Carnival Row is basically what goes on in my head 😉
If you had a long weekend free to do whatever you wanted, what would you do? Where would you go?
I have a friend who lives a 3-hour drive away from me in an area called the MacKenzie country and it has the most incredibly scenery and its where some of LOTR was filmed. There’s mountains, a gorgeous lake, hot pools, and a bakery that does the best BLT I have ever had. It’s my favorite quick escape spot.
And the biggest question of all? Are you a dog person? A cat person? A fish lover? Or a no pet person?
I’m a dog person at heart, but we have a menagerie here. I love my boxer, then we have 2 devon rexes (who are crazy cats), chickens and horses.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Would you please provide a blog, website, or any social links you have so readers can keep up to date with you and your work?
Thanks for having me!
I would like to offer all your readers a free copy of Nefertiti’s Heart, that can be claimed here: