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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT—Greek Novelist Diane Ioannou

by Maria A. Karamitsos   ·  3 weeks ago   ·  

It’s time for a new Author Spotlight! Come along and meet Diane Ioannou, author of the ‘Artemis Child series’.

Author Spotlight: Diane Ioannou

Welcome back! This time, I put Diane Ioannou in the Author Spotlight. Keep reading to learn more about her and her work.

Meet Diane Ioannou

Born in Greece and raised in Chicago, Diane now lives in Greece. She’s the author of the ‘Artemis Child’ series. Let’s meet her!

Q&A with Diane Ioannou

… on her Greek roots

Where are you from? Tell us a little about you.

I was born in a small mountain village on the Parnon Range, near the east coast of the Peloponnese. I am one of five children.

When I was 4 years old my family moved to Chicago for a chance at a better life. That’s where I grew up; however, I would not live there because I found my traditional home life a bit overbearing and at times oppressive.

At the age of 18, not long after my parents started pressing me to get married, I moved to Southern California to live with relatives. There, I worked at their chain of restaurants while going to school. I earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and become a CPA.

After completing my studies, I met and married my husband, and we started a family. Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce while the children were still young. I dedicated myself to raising my two children while working full-time as a financial and forensic auditor. As my children grew older and I had more free time, I also pursued a master’s degree in taxation by attending evening classes.

Just as I thought life would get easier with my eldest starting university, I faced yet another life changing transition that led me back to Greece, my birthplace, where I settled in a small port town to heal.

It was there I began writing my series of books.

Greek Author Diane Ioannou

Where do you live now?

I live in a Greek port town on the east coast of the Mythical Peloponnese, as the region was recently named to attract people interested in the ancient history and mysteries that the Peloponnese encompasses. I have lived here for more than ten years now.

Initially, my travels and stays to Southern California were short, mostly to spend time with my children, visit with friends, and take care of any personal business waiting for me there.

Over the years, I started spending Thanksgiving and Christmas there, returning to Greece at the end of December, sometimes even celebrating the New Year on connecting flights.

… on life and work

Do you write full-time or do you have a “day” job?

I write and self-publish a book each year, but writing is not my main source of income.

A couple of years after moving into the town I opened a small antique and souvenir shop in the port area as a hobby to keep myself busy. I managed the shop for about five years but had to close it down when the minimum business tax was increased, and it was no longer financially viable.

I am an investor––in both the stock market and real estate. I particularly enjoy buying, fixing, and reselling homes, which is how I made most of my money while living in Southern California. It’s something I’ve learned to do well.

… on reading

What types of books do you like to read?

I enjoy reading books that transport me to different countries and immerse me in their unique cultures and landscapes, such as Italy, Spain, and Morocco. I especially enjoy mystery novels that feature detective and other unsolved cases and mysteries, set in intriguing locations.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

The first book and author that fascinated me as a young adult in my early 20s was Unearthing Atlantis by paleontologist Dr. Charles Pellegrino and published in 1993. In the book, he used science, written records, and logical analysis to make a strong case for Santorini (ancient Thera) being Plato’s lost city of Atlantis.

After that, I became intrigued by Paulo Coelho’s books. Whenever a new one was published, I made sure to buy and read it. His exciting characters, interesting places, and fascinating stories always captivated me.

More recently, I’ve been enjoying Jeffery Siger’s ‘Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis’ series of detective stories set at different locations in Greece.

They say, “You are what you read.” In many ways, my books are similar, except that I include some of my personal experiences through my protagonist, Maria. My books are in a style similar to Sophie’s World. That book combines personal fiction and philosophy.

… on writing

When did you start writing? 

In 2021, I started writing after being encouraged by a friend who had recently published a cookbook based on his mother’s recipes and was working on a second book. After sharing some of my experiences living in Greece, Christos told me, “You should write a book.”

So, I decided to do just that. At the time, I was already working on solving some local ancient mysteries. The idea of combining my living experiences with mystery-solving intrigued me, making it an interesting project.

What do you like to write?

I enjoy writing about my personal experiences––those that took me back to Greece, along with those of adjusting to the culture of a small port town where I encountered the first of the ancient mysteries.

What inspires you as an author?

I draw inspiration from the process of seeking help to improve my writing and get my books published, which has also led me to connect with some interesting people. Through this experience, I learned how to self-publish. Now, I am capable of independently navigating the publishing process, which will eventually make my series of books profitable.

Have you published anything other than books? (i.e. essay, short story, poetry, etc)

Yes. I published an article regarding the mystery behind Poussin’s intriguing painting, which he named “Et in Arcadia Ego.”

Poisson’s painting looks an awful like the relief in the photo. Coincidence? Diane discusses this in her article, “Et in Arcadia Ego”. IMAGES COURTESY DIANE IOANNOU

What made you choose to set your novels in Greece?

Even though it sounds like a cliche, I still have to say that “it was destiny” that I chose to set my novels in the Mythical Peloponnese region of Greece. The first time I visited Greece was as a teenager, with my parents and younger brother, we stayed in my paternal family’s village home in Kastri (the village where I was born), for two months. Additionally, we camped in the nearby Agios Andreas beach area for a couple of weeks.

During the camping trip, I went for a hike up the “Ancient Anthini Hill” with a special companion. While walking up towards the small walled-in church at the top of the fortified hill, he took me by the hand and led me to a hidden path beyond some bushes off the side of the hill. There, I saw thick, heavy bronze metal chains hanging off the side of the hill facing the sea. The sight both fascinated and perplexed me.

When I asked him what they were, he explained that at some ancient time, these chains were used to secure ships. However, something happened that caused the land to shift, lifting it from the seacoast and pushing it into the side of the hill, where they now hung. That was my first introduction to the little-known ancient site and its hidden ancient mysteries.

… on your books

Tell us about your books.

My first book was published in the fall of 2022, and the second was published early this year.

The first book is called. Artemis Child: On the East Coast of the Peloponnese. The second book is called, Artemis Child: A Rain of Stars, The third book (due to publish in 2025) is called: Artemis Child: Trailing Hercules.

My books are a blend of personal and historical fiction set in the Mythical Peloponnese.

The ‘Artemis Child’ Peloponnese series includes my personal experiences—adventures, life transitions, and struggles of adjusting to a new environment, as well as uncovering hidden mysteries.

Book 1 in the ‘Artemis Child’ series by Diane Ioannou

The series name ‘Artemis Child'”‘ symbolizes the strength and endurance I discovered within myself during times of great trials and tribulations.

Talk about your latest book.

In this newest installment of the ‘Artemis Child’ series, Maria’s search for answers brings her face to face with an ancient secret: a scandalous act perpetrated by the ancient Arcadians in an effort to reclaim the land of their ancient gateway town.

The book includes findings on the Perseids, ancient Astra, Aeolus and story of Odysseus, Aeolus and the founding of Pisa, story of Pelops, ancient Olympia, ancient Eva-Loukou monastery, temple of Polemocrates, and villa of Herodes.

Book 2 in the ‘Artemis Child’ series

… on the future

What’s next for you?

Currently, I’m working on the second edition of my first book. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” So, I’m enhancing the first book and adding more content to it.

Following that, I’ll be completing and publishing the 3rd book of the series, titled Artemis Child: Trailing Hercules. It includes some of my personal experiences set in Cyprus, and the ancient history and mystery solving of the places associated with Hercules’ labors, six of which took place on the Peloponnese. After that, I have plans for at least two more books for the Peloponnese series.

However, at the moment, my main focus is not on my books.

Tell us more.

I am in the process of building a “forever home” in my maternal family village, where my grandparents and great-grandparents once lived. It is a two-story home with separate upstairs for me and a downstairs for my children. The downstairs will also be used for visitors. Once I finish upstairs, I will move in. This will allow me to do some other things that will allow me to spend more time in Southern California with my children and friends, whom I dearly miss.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Yes. Some advice… For those who are going through a difficult transition, and those who may in the future: When you think that life as you know it is over, that’s your new beginning. Courage will get you through it, and bravery will unlock truths.

Check out Diane Ioannou’s website

Follow Diane Ioannou on Facebook and Twitter

Read more:

Author Spotlight: Greek Author Danai Christopoulou

Poet Spotlight: Meet Greek-American Marigo J. Stathis

Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos is a journalist, author, and poet. She's the founder & former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine and former associate editor & senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Maria currently pens a literary column for NEO magazine and also contributes to Greek City Times and TripFiction. Her work has been published in The Magic of Us-A Moms Who Write Poetry Anthology, The Pen Poetry Magazine, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Highland Park Poetry, GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, KPHTH magazine, XPAT Athens, and more. Maria has contributed to two books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes and The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook. She's currently working on her 1st novel.

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