D.J. Niko’s historical thrillers in the Sarah Weston Chronicles have been compared to The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones, and the title character has been praised for her strength and resourcefulness. In each book, Niko artfully spins the details of history with the sights, scents, and sounds of the exotic locales she pulls readers into. Reading Niko’s work is a captivating experience, and now she takes us into ancient Greece with The Oracle. Please join us for a conversation with D. J. Niko, aka Daphne.
What inspired you to write the Sarah Weston Chronicles?
I’ve always been fascinated by the ancient world. Growing up in Greece, I was surrounded by millennia-old monuments and spent many years studying ancient history. I’ve also had the good fortune to travel around the world, particularly to some off-the-grid places, and my experiences have informed my writing. The Sarah Weston Chronicles, which combines fast-paced adventure with mysteries from antiquity, is an amalgam of those two passions.
Which writers have influenced you?
On the thriller/adventure side: Wilbur Smith. On the literary side: Lawrence Durrell, Khaled Hosseini, Bruce Chatwin.
What types of research have you needed to do to write the series?
Since my books deal with historical themes, I’ve spent a lot of time in libraries, reading ancient historians’ accounts and obscure mystical texts. I’ve talked to a lot of experts, such as rock climbers, airplane engineers, rabbis, archaeologists, psychiatrists, geophysicists, etc. I’ve also visited the majority of places I’ve written about, to walk where my characters have walked, so to speak. I enjoy that part of the process, because it contributes to the authenticity of my settings. Plus, it’s fun.
What’s one of your own tried-and-true writing rules?
Read your dialogue out loud (to yourself and to someone) to make sure it sounds realistic.
What are you working on now?
Years ago, I started on a piece of issue-driven women’s fiction. It’s a bit of a departure for me, but I am committed to finishing it by first quarter 2016. Then I will dive into my next work of historical fiction, which is set in New Kingdom Egypt.
Place to write?
On a ship, traveling solo
The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell
Biblical times (10th to 6th centuries BCE)
Place to visit?
Any desert, particularly the Sahara, Namib, Rub’ al Khali