Monday, October 28, 2013

Thread of Gold Beads Review and Interview with author.

Book Title: Thread of Gold Beads.
Author: Nike Campbell-Fatoki 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: November 16, 2012
Three Magi Publishing
Paperback; 412p
ISBN-10: 0988193205

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About The Book

Amelia, daughter of the last independent King of Danhomè, King Gbèhanzin, is the apple of her father’s eye, loved beyond measure by her mother, and overprotected by her siblings. She searches for her place within the palace amidst conspirators and traitors to the Kingdom. Just when Amelia begins to feel at home in her role as a Princess, a well-kept secret shatters the perfect life she knows. Someone else within the palace also knows and does everything to bring the secret to light. A struggle between good and evil ensues causing Amelia to leave all that she knows and loves. She must flee Danhomè with her brother, to south-western Nigeria. In a faraway land, she finds the love of a new family and God. The well-kept secret thought to have been dead and buried, resurrects with the flash of a thread of gold beads. Amelia must fight for her life and what is left of her soul.

Set during the French-Dahomey war of the late 1890s in Benin Republic and early 1900s in Abeokuta and Lagos, South-Western Nigeria, Thread of Gold Beads is a delicate love story, and  coming of age tale of a young girl.  It clearly depicts the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversities

About The Author

Nike Campbell-Fatoki was born in Lvov, Ukraine to Nigerian parents. She spent her formative years in Lagos, Nigeria, listening to stories and folktales told by her maternal Grandparents. Her fondest memories were the weekends her mother took her and her siblings to Kings Way, on Lagos Island, returning back with bags of story books.

Though a social science major, she found great pleasure in taking literature classes. She graduated magna cum laude in Economics from Howard University and further went on to receive a Master of Arts degree in International Development from American University, Washington, DC. She worked for several years in International Development field working with International Development consulting firms managing projects and programs overseas.
Presently, she is a Budget and Finance Manager in the municipal government in the Washington DC area. She is an avid reader. She loves traveling, watching movies and listening to music. She is also the Founder of Eclectic Goodies, a party favors and gifts packaging company. She lives in the Washington DC area with her husband and three sons.

Connect with the Author

Website Twitter link  / Twitter Hashtag: #GoldBeadsTour

Book Trailer

Interview Questions:

1.      Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea came from the stories my Grandmother told me about her Grandmother’s quick departure from the war-torn  kingdom of Dahomey (present day Republic of Benin).  I was inspired by her will to survive.  It inspired me personally because it proved that anyone of us can overcome challenges, no matter how difficult they are.  The events that occurred in the heroine’s (Amelia) life are a mixture of true events and fiction. 
2.      What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction
3.     Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The main characters: Djimon Hounsou (sp) or  Boris Kodjo as Dossou  Young Amelia when she was between 13 - 16 year old could be Keke Parker(sp), Older Amelia could be Kerry Washington, Madame Titilayo could be Joke Silva (she’s a Nigerian actress), Akaba could be Anthony Mackie and Marcos could be Terrence Howard.

4.      What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Thread of Gold Beads chronicles the tumultuous life of Amelia, daughter of the last independent king of Dahomey across two countries risking life and love and finding in the midst of it all realizing the love of God, a new family, and the will to live surpasses all.
5.      Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is self-published
6.      How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took three years
7.      What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Things Fall Apart, Onaedo the Blacksmith’s Daughter.
8.      Who or What inspired you to write this book? 
I was inspired by the stories my Grandmother told me about her Grandmother’s flight from the war-torn kingdom of Dahomey (present day Republic of Benin).  It was my grandmother’s grandmother that fled from the kingdom in the 1890s.  However, princess Amelia is a fictional character.  Having conducted research about the Kingdom of Dahomey (present day Republic of Benin), I imagined what that must have been like for both the citizens and the royal family as they readied themselves for war, the role of children, women and men and the ordeal they must have gone through and especially how they must have survived that period.  I imagined how it must have been for my great (great) grandmother to have to leave her home and family to save her life.  How it must have felt starting afresh in a new country without knowing anyone and how she survived it.  I put myself in these various situations and wrote from there. 

9.     What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It is set in pre-colonial West Africa, an era which is not talked about much anymore. The fact that female warriors constituted the King’s body guards and they went to war like their male counterparts.  Thread of Gold Beads also shows the interwoven history of the neighboring kingdom of Abeokuta and the impact of slavery on the lives of the people. 

My 4 Star Review

I received this book from the touring host for an honest review.

It has been awhile since I have read anything from West Africa, especially pre-colonial, and what an excellent read. The author's research could be seen throughout the book, well written with a steady pace. Intriguing and interesting you learn more about the last King of Benin and what happened with this unfortunate country during the late 1800. Based on true events the journey of the young woman Amelia, Princess, refugee, wife, mother and trader take you through discovery, hope and the believe that love will never die.
The story was written in two parts, the first with Amelia a small child of six, becoming a princess, always inquisitive, running wild. Becoming of age she fell in love and got married and ultimately leaving everyone she loved behind. The second part was her life in Nigeria, people's misuse of her, stealing and lying to get their own ways. Meeting a woman who would change her life for the better. Met new friends and learned to adjust as she lived the life of a commoner.
Characters were well portrayed throughout, getting a real feeling of their lives, their customs and their vivid emotions ready to explode at any moment. Secrets unfold as you learn more about her mother who was a strong influence in her life, her unconditional love a strong pillar in Amelia's life. Later, her mother was replaced by Madame Titilayo who played a vital role during her stay in Nigeria. Helping Amelia to learn her trade, and becoming an influential woman herself.
Betrayal followed her from a young age where people tried to kill her, poison her or attacked her but yet she remained resilient. But her biggest betrayal would come from those the closest to her which caused much heartache in her life. A wonderful tale of self discovery knowing your own strengths and building on the things that are handed to you. With a strong message of faith interwoven as idols were cast down and God's protection could be seen. 
Being her father's favorite caused her happiness but also isolation which later became a strong point in her life. Which would save her on a few occasions and set her aside. 
I really admire the character of Dossou, the commander-in-chief of her father's army who fell in love and cared for Amelia greatly. Although his character only played a small part, his presence was always tangible. Amelia's heart fixed not realizing the many twists and turns they had to walk to finally be together.
And may I say my heart was really crushed for Marcos who at the end lost much more. 
Her brother Dare was a huge disappointment, just affirming you can not always trust siblings. Her very large family a strong bond that kept the royal house steady. With the many wives and children of the King, the scenes were well described and thoughtful. Caring for each other during dangerous and happy times. 
The threads of gold beads played a significant role throughout the plot as more secrets were revealed, family lines were discovered, always threading like a shield to protect.