The Organised Author

Interview with A. W. Exley

Welcome to Better Read Than Un-dead. I’d like to share with you a review of one of my favourite books, Nefertiti’s Heart by A.W. Exley, a steampunk/ romance novel and first book of the Artefacts Hunters Series, published by Curiosity Quills Press.

Here is the link to Amazon:

I loved this book from the very first chapter. The writing flows beautifully, the descriptions are great, and the plot is intriguing. Cara is a strong, independent woman, maybe a bit dark sometimes, but her attitude is justified by her past and the tough life she had. She reminded me a bit of Katniss Everdeen, although the two characters don’t share a common background (Cara comes from a wealthy family and doesn’t use a bow, but can shoot like Clint Eastwood.) But Katniss and Cara’s spirits and their survival instincts are the same.
Cara is back in London from one of her adventurous trips around the world (which made me totally envious) to attend her father’s funeral. The minions of the Villainous Viscount, Nathan Lyons, are after his notebook where the secret locations of ancient relics are listed. An archaeologist and collector of artefacts, Cara’s father hid dark secrets, and now Cara has to deal with them.
I love this book because, like Julie Andrews would say, it’s a mix of a few of my favourite things. 
1.       Steampunk: I love the concept of steam technology in the Victorian Era. Yeah, some people say that steampunk is dead, and that there’re too many steampunk novels around, but I disagree. Why people think that is one of those mysteries of the universe like the inexplicable success of the Duran Duran (my older sis is still crazy about them)
2.       Egyptian mythology: honestly, do I need to add more? Can there be anything more cool?
3.       And last but not least: a serial killer. Yep, a good, old fashioned, Jack the Ripper style serial killer. I’m a sucker for mystery.
And even better, this book is the first of a series!

The author, A.W. Exley, was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself and her book.
The Seven Deadly Questions: (some of the questions are totally random)

1.       The description of Victorian London is really accurate, along with the info about Egyptian mythology. How much time did you dedicate to research?

I spent some time in London many years ago, so some of it is based on places I loved and visited. For other details I rely on the internet, old maps and vintage photos. I also read a ton of non-fction history books for the general feel of the era. I studied Egyptology at university so I have a bit of a base knowledge there (kinda feels like cheating! Lol) and still have all my text books! I took some elements of Nefertiti's story and then put my own twist on it.

2.       Scientists say that we use only 10% of our brain. You could donate the remaining 90% to the Royal Zombie Society of New Zealand. Have you ever thought about that?

Hmmm…. Tempted. It would grow back, right? And would they make me their supreme overlord?

3.       Just because I live in Auckland and you’re a Kiwi as well, but why did you set the novel in London and not in the City of Sails?

Because I escaped from Auckland many years ago and I have suppressed all memories relating to that period in my life when I was a black t-shirt wearing Westie. Having been accepted by the South Island and indoctrinated in their viewpoint, I must now follow the cardinal rule of muttering about JAFAs while simultaneously denying Auckland's existence and waiting for a volcano to pop up  :p

4.       What do you like about Nat and Cara and what don’t you like about them?

I like how they complement each other, would literally die/kill for each other and more importantly, how Cara has completely turned Nate's life upside down and brought chaos to his order. It annoys me how stubborn they both are and they often refuse to listen to me and head off doing their own thing. I also get tired of opening doors to find the two of them going at it like rabbits… sheesh. Enough already!

5.       If you choke a Smurf, what colour does it turn?


6.       Ask yourself a question, give yourself an answer.

Favourite conspiracy theory: Ed Sheeran, Prince Harry and Ron Weasley are all the same person. Because 1. there cannot be that many celebrity gingas in the world and 2. nobody has ever seen all 3 together at the same time….

7.       If you were an X-woman, what would your super power be? (Please, don’t say the power to try to read a book in a super-packed bus while the guy next to you is frying his brain with hard-core rap that even you can hear despite the fact said guy wears super thick headsets, because that’s the power I’m working on.)

The ability to grow hair where ever I touch my finger. Then in crowds I would reach out and stroke people, leaving a little furry moustache somewhere unexpected… like across their cheek, or on a shoulder, down their spine maybe… And I would make a fortune rubbing the heads of bald men J

Bonus question, answer this only if you feel brave enough.
So, you’re in a locked room with a socially challenged zombie (you wrote Ella The Slayer so you should know how to deal with zombies), a thirsty vampire, and two pirates  who want to kidnap you. (I’m sure you’re going to love this).  How do you escape?
Your weapons are:
A bottle of Diet Coke
A lemon
A packet of Mentos
A very excited Labrador
Thanks for answering!

Well firstly I offer a Mentos to the zombie because WOWSER it is stinking up the room… when the vampire goes to bite me I use the Coke as a defensive weapon, its teeth punture the plastic and either the explosion of bubbles or the fact it is DIET coke will make the vampire explode, painting the room a funny brown colour. The zombie is now distracted licking the walls. The labrador will think the lemon is a ball, so I'm going to throw it at the wall until the dog reaches critical velocity and bursts through the other side. If one of the pirates is Loki, I will throw myself at him because who wants to escape his clutches…? ;-)  

Thanks for your time, Anita!
I hope the readers will enjoy the book as much as I did. Anita has recently published another novel of the series:
Paniha's Taniwha: The Artifact Hunters 3.5

 Loki pilots a long-range airship to the farthest reaches of the globe and touches down in an alternate Aotearoa under Maori rule. He is tasked with establishing a trade route with the new country but what he finds is a strange beast killing the settlers and tensions igniting between the English and Maori inhabitants. There's also a certain fierce Maori (or two) who make pangs spear through his torso and strange new emotions spring to life in his mind.

Before Loki can return to England, he needs to secure access to valuable trade goods, defuse hostilities, and find a killer. He should also see a doctor about that ache in his chest... it just might kill him.

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoy mysteries and thrillers, also be sure to check out Alice Hill's short story, "Wings of Justice" in the latest issue of the Reader's Abode.  You can sign up to our mailing list to receive the full collection for free, which also includes fiction and poetry by Barbara Russell, Eddie Cantrell, Alison McBain and Carly Marino.

Please join us in two weeks' time for a continuation of the Reader's Freebies series with Carly Marino’s post.

Hope you’ll join us again!