Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Author Interview: The Riddle of Solomon by D.J. Niko

 Enjoy our interview with author D.J. Niko. She is promoting her latest book, The Riddle of Solomon.

Author: D.J. Niko
Publisher: Medallion Press
Date of publication: July 2013

Cambridge archaeologist Sarah Weston and anthropologist Daniel Madigan team up for another expedition and adventure in this second book in the Sarah Weston Chronicles. While working on the Qaryat al-Fau archaeological site in Saudi Arabia, the pair uncovers a mysterious ancient scroll composed as a riddle. As they attempt to date and decipher the scroll, a flurry of ills befalls their expedition and the scroll is stolen. A trail of clues leads to India, Jerusalem, and the Judean wilderness, where the two discover the scroll was written by the enigmatic King Solomon as a map to an ancient manuscript. Meanwhile a privileged young Briton, Trent Sacks, has invested years and a fortune looking for his manuscript. Believing he is the last descendant of the House of David in the line of Solomon, Sacks will do whatever it takes to amass the ancient relics which will prove he is the Jewish Messiah. Leaving a string of murders in his wake, Sacks vows to crush Sarah and Daniel for challenging his quest. Journeying through the worlds of the occult, corporate greed, geopolitical conflict, Judaic mysticism, and biblical archaeology, Sarah and Daniel race to uncover the powerful ancient message that could have an explosive impact on modern Israel.

Kari & Autumn:  What inspired you to become a writer?

D.J.:  Reading great books and marveling at their authors’ use of language to manipulate emotions and create vivid, unforgettable characters. The first major book I read was “Little Women.” I was in elementary school at the time so I probably didn’t fully understand it, but it sparked a love affair with the written word.  

Kari & Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books? 

D.J.: I have this “past life” as a travel writer and adventure seeker, so I constantly plumb my experiences for ideas. Many of the places I’ve seen, experiences I’ve had, and people I’ve met have made indelible impressions on me. It’s all so authentically colorful that it begs to be used in fiction.

Kari & Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings? 

D.J.:Right now, I’m working on a historical novel set in tenth century BCE Israel. Actually, it’s the historical complement to “The Riddle of Solomon”: it details the collapse of Israel’s United Monarchy and the spiritual decline of King Solomon, and brings some of the biblical tales to life. The interesting thing about this project is that it will be published as a TREEBook, an interactive book with “branches” that take you into different paths as you read. It’s a new and very exciting platform.

Kari & Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why? 

D.J.: Since childhood, I’ve loved Odysseus from Homer’s “The Odyssey.” I was born and raised in Greece, so I grew up with those stories; they feel real to me. The adventures of Odysseus influenced me in a big way when I was a kid. I wanted to hear the song of Sirens and eat the fruit of the Lotus Eaters and wander the sea for ten years. That stuck with me until I was an adult and went off on my own adventures. I blame Odysseus for my wanderlust!

Kari & Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why? 

D.J.: Totally a bird. A turtle dove, maybe. The ability to fly and see the world from above, swooping down for a closer look when the mood strikes, would be awesome.

About the author:

D.J. Niko is the nom de plume of Daphne Nikolopoulos, an award-winning author and journalist. Her first novel, titled The Tenth Saint, was released in March 2012 to rave reviews by both readers and the trade. In March 2013, it was awarded the Gold Medal for popular fiction in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. An archaeological thriller embroidered with historical motifs, The Tenth Saint takes readers on an adventure across the globe: Ethiopia, the Syro-Arabian Desert and Abyssinian Empire circa fourth century, London, Paris, Brussels, and Texas. The Tenth Saint is the first book in The Sarah Weston Chronicles series. The second, titled The Riddle of Solomon, releases July 1, 2013.

Daphne is now at work on a historical novel set in tenth century B.C.E. Israel. The epic story details the collapse of the United Monarchy and the glory and fall of the empire built by King Solomon. It will be released in early 2015.

As a former travel journalist, Daphne has traveled across the globe on assignment, or for personal discovery. She has been to some places most of us don’t realize are on the map, and she has brought them to life through her writing for various magazines, newspapers and websites on an international scale. Her travel background and rich experiences now bring authentic detail, color, and realism to her fiction.

She also is the editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine, a 62-year-old luxury-lifestyle glossy. She also is the editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group, and in that capacity oversees 11 magazines and 3 websites.

She is the mother of twin toddlers and, in her spare time, volunteers for causes she believes in—literacy, education, child advocacy, and the advancement of traditional and tribal arts from around the world. Born in Athens, Greece, she now lives with her family in West Palm Beach, Florida.

For more information, please visit D.J. Niko’s website. You can also follow on Twitter and Goodreads.

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