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.
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.
Do you feel like your background or upbringing influences your writing style? If so, in what way(s)?
Yes it did. 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.
Describe Thread of Gold Beads in 10 words or less.
Princess Amelia’s flight from war-torn 1890s Dahomey to a new land risking life and love.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was nine/ten years old in Lagos, Nigeria. I always loved reading so it felt natural transitioning into writing. It was a way of expressing myself and it also felt comfortable. I always considered myself a writer even when it was only my sister who read my stories.
Is there a central message or theme in Thread of Gold Beads that you hope readers will come away from the reading experience with?
I hope readers will realize that they are stronger than any situation or circumstance. When life deals us blows, we can always get up and continue. The main character in this book had so many trials and challenges, but she managed to keep going. She found the strength and the faith.
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? What has been the best compliment?
That there are certain cultural aspects of the book that they don’t understand. The best compliment has been that I wrote in such a manner that they were transported to that place and time.
What’s next for you? What can readers look forward to from Nike Campbell-Fatoki?
I am currently working on a compilation of contemporary short stories. I also have another historical fiction down the line.
If you had to go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of writing your novel or getting it published that you would change?
No, nothing. It has been a great learning experience that I wouldn’t trade.
What has been the most effective method of marketing and/or publicizing your books so far? Why or how?
Nothing beats getting out there physically and talking about Thread of Gold Beads. Physical contact is key; however, social media has also gotten to be a very useful tool.
Paulette Harper Johnson