Meet A.W. Exley
Best Known for: The Artifact Hunters Series
Thank you for joining us today!
How did you get started writing, and why did you want to write?
That's kind of like asking "when did you start breathing?" lol
I have always been a voracious reader and writing and creating my own worlds has always been a part of that. A pivotal moment was when I was about eleven, we had a school project where we had to create our own world, give it a history and populate it. Everything seems to have grown from that moment.
What made you decide to go the "indie" route?
Like a lot of writers I started off on the traditional route. I queried, and queried and queried and I have enough rejection emails to paper my office. Even though my YA project garnered numerous full requests from agents they all ended in "thanks but no thanks." With the adult project I didn't even bother, I just knew it wasn't the right road for me. I sent that manuscript to a small publisher and a year later here I am, with two books out in the world already.
I write steampunk novels and have a series called The Artifact Hunters. Book 1, Nefertiti's Heart and book 2, Hatshepsut's Collar are currently available. They are action adventure books with a mystery and a bit of a romance simmering in the background. I studied Egyptology at university so I throw a bit of mythology in there just so I can say I used those papers! lol
Of the stories you have out now, which is your favorite? Do you have a favorite scene or character that stands out?
I have a love/hate relationship with Hatshepsut's Collar, that book caused me no end of sleepless nights trying to tie everything together without making it too contrived. I loved sending Cara off on a wolf hunt with the Russian court. I ride sidesaddle and in our FB group some of the women post the most insane sidesaddle hunting photos of them leaping over enormous fences. I had those piks in mind while writing that scene.
What would you like to tell your readers? What would you like to say to potential readers?
If you have never heard of steampunk before or wondered what the heck it is about, I am told my books are a great introduction to the genre. They are kind of steampunk-lite and won't overwhelm you with gadgets.
That is the hard bit and like many authors it is hard to balance time for writing with making sure your book doesn't disappear faster than the Titanic. I think it helps that I write in a smaller niche (steampunk) as it gives me a point of difference. I am active in steampunk groups but always as a participant first and an author second. Personally I hate the way many authors now spam groups and social media screaming BUY MY BOOK and it turns me off so I keep that in mind. I'm in this for the long haul and want to build a relationship with communities and readers and hopefully visibility will be a result of that.
What's your favorite part about being an author (both as writer and publishing books), and what's your least favorite part?
I love putting those words on a page and when people contact me to say they enjoyed a book or a particular character it puts a smile on my face for days. I hate the vulnerability that goes hand in hand with that. People have different tastes, some like my books and some loathe them. Authors have to separate themselves from their work. When you read a negative review you have to accept everybody has a different opinion and move on without dwelling about it for days and weeks.
Any parting words?
I think it's an exciting time to be an author and a reader. The publishing landscape and how we discover books is changing so quickly. Who knows what opportunity or great book is just around the corner.
Thank you, A.W.!