Interview in an Athen’s Newspaper
There are a number of newspapers in Athens, Greece. Only one is printed in English. My publisher, Rebel ePublishers, and I have been trying to contact any of them, without success, since the release of Stealing the Marbles in September of last year.
Early in May, from extreme left field, I received a website contact from a journalist at Adesmeytos Typos. She had come across my book and contacted me for an interview. I was thrilled beyond breathing, spending a day bouncing up and down, calling everyone I knew and, finally, settling down to answer her questions. The interview was published May 9th. I don’t yet have a link to the page but she sent me a jpg of it and I’ve posted it below. It’s in Greek, of course, but I think it looks cool.
I’m hoping to have a link to the page soon and a pdf file. I’m hoping as well that they will do a review.
For those to whom this is all Greek, here is the English version of the interview:
1. Tell us some things about the plot of the book
Danny Samsel is a thief extraordinaire. After stealing a painting from the most secure house in America, he finds himself in hiding and essentially exiled for over a year on the island of Kefalonia. Restless, unknowingly encouraged by a friend and desiring to reunite with his estranged girlfriend, he comes up with the idea to steal the Marbles, knowing he will need her help to do so.
Traveling around the world, he begins to gather the information and the personnel necessary to begin his quest. Along the way, he encounters a rogue Interpol agent who will prove to be his worst enemy.
Gathering in London, Danny and Company breach the British Museum, steal the Marbles, and begin the long journey across Europe. There is danger at every turn, betrayal and loss along the way until they reach their final destination.
2. How you came with the idea to use the Parthenon marbles in your book?
I have always had a love for Greece; the myths, the architecture, the culture, the country and its people. I had the opportunity to visit Greece in 1999 and my first visit to the Parthenon was an experience beyond words. I had known about Lord Elgin’s removal of the Marbles but seeing the temple, walking amidst its still eloquent grandeur, really brought home to me their meaning.
On my second visit to Greece in 2003, I spent a pleasant evening with my friend Gerasimos Ambatielou discussing the Marbles and their plight. He is very passionate about them, about their theft and the need for them to be returned to Greece where they belong. That passion for them ignited my own growing passion and the idea for the story was born that night. That is why the book is dedicated to him and his sister Maria and why Gerasimos was the inspiration for his namesake in the story.
Do you refer to basic parts of their history
I spent several months reading everything I could about the Marbles and as a result of that research, there are references throughout the book regarding the Parthenon, the Marbles, their history and their subsequent theft by Lord Elgin as well as the abuse they’ve received at the hands of the British Museum.
3. Do you have any connection with Greece?
I have dear friends in Greece, the Ambatielou family of Nea Smirni. They allowed me into their home during my two visits and showed me a friendship I hold dear in my heart. Gerasimos sparked the idea for the story, Stamo introduced me to some very interesting cuisine, their Mom and Dad were the inspiration for Eleni and Dino in the story and my dear friend Maria was my tour guide for the mainland as well as the island of Kefalonia, which has become my heart’s second home. This love for the island is why the book begins and ends there.
4. Do you follow the updates regarding the issue of the marble.
Very closely. I follow several blogs and newsletters regarding the return of the Marbles as well as the various organizations devoted to their return. Indeed, I have pledged a portion of my profits from the sale of the book to some of those organizations.
5. From your reader’s reviews I found out that many Americans do not have a clear idea of what is the true story behind the Marbles. Do you agree?
Sadly, yes, I agree. Americans are painfully ignorant of world affairs that do not directly affect them. It has been my hope that Stealing The Marbles would enlighten those who have read it to the plight of the Marbles.
6. Do you believe that the awareness of the international public opinion would help the Greek Government to have some progress on the issue?
Yes and no. The British government seems particularly adamant about keeping them despite recent trends of other governments in returning antiquities to their source. However, recently I’ve noticed a growing, world wide interest in their return. When I first started my research for the book, I was able to find two organizations devoted to their return. Now there are a dozen or more. I believe that one day, the Marbles will find their way home again.
7. For those like you who know the actions, made by our government, how well you think that we handle the situation?
I think the Greek government has done quite well in the face of very stubborn opposition. Melina Mercouri was of particular inspiration to me during the research and writing of Stealing The Marbles.
8. In your book Daniel manages to send Marbles home, back to us?
Yes, back to Greece. I won’t reveal the end of the book but before the last page is turned, the Marbles are on display in the Acropolis Museum. A bit of trivia here, if I may. The epilogue to the book was the first thing I wrote. It remains my favorite part of the book and I think, hope, it captures well the passion the Greek people have for their Marbles.