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Monday, July 8, 2013

Interview with Author DJ Niko~"The Riddle of Solomon"


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.

Publication Date:  July 1, 2013
Medallion Press
Paperback; 472p
Author:  DJ Niko

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


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 t

he 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.


Please join us today for an interview with D.J. Niko.  She's quite an accomplished woman!
Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to be with A Bookish Libraria today, Daphne.  Let's get right to it...

1)      Tell us something about yourself, please.  How do most people describe you?
I am probably best known for my love of adventure and exploration. I have traveled widely, and to many places way off the beaten path, for work and for pleasure. Not everyone knows this, but in my late 20s I spent two years backpacking around the world, with all my belongings literally strapped on my back. It was an illuminating experience, a true education. People tend to describe me as adventurous and free-spirited. And incredibly busy. Every day I juggle a family (husband and 4-year-old twins!), my work as a magazine editor, fiction writing, book promotion, and community work. My days start at 4 a.m. (crazy, I know) and continue at a pretty solid pace through 10 p.m. or so.

2)      Briefly, from where did the idea for your novel germinate?
A few years ago, my husband was talking about the legends surrounding King Solomon and the grimoires allegedly inspired by his apocryphal writings. I was fascinated, so I started to research the man and the myth. Interestingly, Solomon’s existence has never been proven yet there are so many writings attributed to him, even beyond what is in the Bible (Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Song of Songs). I started to piece things together and came up with a vague storyline. Then I read up on Jewish messianic prophecy, which states the messiah will be a descendant of the house of David via the Solomonic bloodline, and it all came together.

3)      Who first told you you could write well, and how did it affect you?
It was my first-through-third-grade teacher in Athens. When we moved to the States, she sent me a postcard saying, “You have a gift; do not forsake it.” I still have that postcard.

4)      Which contemporary authors do you most admire?
Junot Diaz, David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers, Barbara Kingsolver, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Khaled Hosseini. I gravitate to writers with a superb command of language and original storytelling technique.

5)      Which are your favorite classical authors?
 James Joyce, first and foremost. Also Emile Zola, Soren Kierkegaard, Albert Camus.

6)      Jump into any book~which character would you be?
Without a doubt, Odysseus from Homer’s The Odyssey. What adventures that guy had!

7)      If you could have 5 historical people to dinner, who would they be?  What would you have to eat?
 I would invite people from antiquity, because I believe the wisdom of the ancients is still relevant today: the great Egyptian contrarian Akhenaten and his wife, Nefertiti, who was intriguing in her own right; Jezebel, the biblical bad girl; the mega-powerful and wise King Solomon; and the Greek historian Herodotus, so he could take notes. Could you imagine the energy in that room? I think it would be hilarious to serve a vegan meal, just to see their reaction. And lots of wine.

8)      Read any good books in the past 6 months?
Most of my reading in the past six months has been for research, but in the pleasure category, I really enjoyed A Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers, and The Dinner, by Herman Koch.

9)      Favorite two tv shows:
 I don’t watch TV, other than a few PBS Kids programs with my kids. It sounds weird to answer this question with “Word Girl” and “Wild Kratts,” but there it is.

10)   Favorite movie of all time:
 Pan’s Labyrinth, by Guillermo del Toro. It is so dark and, in some instances, extremely hard to watch, but it is a powerful statement about the triumph of the human spirit. For the same reasons, I also loved Life Is Beautiful, by Roberto Benigni.

11)   Are you working on a new book?
 I am currently working on the historical complement to The Riddle of Solomon. It is set in the tenth century BCE, in Israel and Egypt. It explores the collapse of Israel’s united monarchy and the moral and spiritual decline of King Solomon. Some of the mysteries in The Riddle are actually elucidated in this book, which releases in 2015 as an interactive TREEBook.

12)   Anything else I forgot to ask you?
 If readers want to connect with me, which I would welcome, I am on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and www.djnikobooks.com. Thank you so much for having me! I love your blog, and visiting is always a pleasure. J

Thank you for visiting, Daphne.  You're a fascinating person.  I'd love to discuss more about your favorite authors...Zola and Kierkegaard in particular!  What interesting dinner guests, too.  I agree that Jezebel would be a hoot!

This tour was brought to my readers in cooperation with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours:

Please click on the following to see more about this book and read reviews, guest posts and other interviews:   

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/theriddleofsolomontour/
Twitter Hashtag: #RiddleOfSolomonTour



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