Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Author Interviews: Fiona Ingram, author of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab
By: D. VonThaer
This week, I’m reminded of APA’s reach. I’m reminded how books, much like music, cross cultural lines, blurring things like age and class, transporting us into a new world. This week I traveled to South Africa (ok, via internet) with Fiona Ingram, author of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. Try saying that five times fast!
I read the first chapter which is available on her website, and instantly thought my sons would love it. The story follows cousins Adam and Justin, aged 13 and 14 respectively, who get to visit Egypt. They are accompanied by their eccentric, adventurous aunt and grandmother, who plant a seed of mystery and into the boy's heads before they even get past tea and cookies. Ideas of treasure and foul play swirl into their minds before their feet hit sand, and already you can hear the gears turning in the boy’s minds.
Like so many of our brethren, it took about 2-3 years for Ms. Ingram to complete this project. (A number I’m finding to be rather commonplace across the board.) The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is the first in the series, having begun as a short story that blossomed, as many great ideas do, into a full fledged adventure.
What I found to be so interesting, is that the writer actually traveled to Egypt with her two nephews and mother, and used those experiences throughout the story. I love when you open a book and you can taste and feel what is happening, something this book is likely to provide with such intimate personal experience of the writer.
As a huge fan of mythology, and especially Egypt, I was pleased to find that she did her homework. Not only did Fiona do it, she wrote the lesson plan. Her first non-fiction title was Ancient Egypt from the Time Life educational series, which of course gave her an even broader knowledge when writing this book.
I’m imagining spicy scented oils burning in her newly built office, blaring classical music blocking out the silence, a dancing flame bouncing off coppery artifacts, lighting a glimmer in her eye as she scribbles down her next idea. Like most writers, she writes daily, though admits to not having a problem with writer’s block. I’m starting to believe the more you write, the easier it is to break down those blocks, and keep them down. Perhaps it’s the fact technology is not something with which she is not comfortable. This fascinates me, just a little as technology has turned from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde for me recently.
The Secret of the Sacred Scarab was nominated for the Finalist in the New Generation USA 2009 Indie Book Awards, and has gotten rave reviews on Amazon. Though the book is meant for children, prepubescent children at that, I’d like to remind you all of a certain boy wizard story that was meant for kids in the same age group. One of the reviewers, Barbara Milbourn of Writers in the Sky, may have hit the nail on it’s proverbial head, “The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is entertainment for readers up to around age fourteen and for those who wish they were fourteen again. It is at once adventure and history, art and architecture, humor and redemption, travel writing and social studies, and great fun.”
Fiona Ingram lives in South Africa with her family, books, and fondness for ancient legends and archaeology. Visit her website for a very cool contest she’s hosting there. You can buy your copy of Ms. Ingrams' novel, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, and other book retailers across the globe. Please visit her website for more information. Below, the lovely Fiona Ingram bearing a striking resemblance to her character, Aunt Isabel. Curious.