A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives two young South African tourists, Adam and Justin Sinclair, an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra, as well as sinking sand), pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out. They must also learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another!
Fiona Answers a few questions:
BK: What is needed for a story to be good?
FI: In my opinion, a good story is one that captivates a reader from the first page. A compelling plot and interesting, believable characters are essential to hold the reader’s attention. Of course, since readers usually choose the genre or type of books they enjoy first, the author writing in their chosen genre can enjoy a captive audience e.g. sci-fi fans, romance readers, thrillers, detective fiction all have their dedicated followers. To entice a reader to pick up something they have never read before, or would not ordinarily choose is quite a challenge. This might happen through the person reading a good review or a recommendation by a friend.
BK: Till now how many books have you written?
FI: I began my literary career at age ten telling ghost stories to entertain my young brothers and their friends. I always seemed to write – even though it was mostly for media and other journalistic outlets. My first fiction work was my middle grade adventure The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. Recently a romance publisher has accepted my almost forgotten Regency Romance manuscript so I am very excited about that.
BK: How much time do you take to finish a book?
FI: That depends on the book. I wrote the historical romance in a few months, just having fun. My first book for kids took about 4 years from start (my trip to Egypt) to finish (finding a publisher and going through all the edits). The second book in the adventure series Chronicles of the Stone is almost finished. I think it depends on the degree of research involved. My adventure series takes place in different countries, involving history, mythology, and geography so there’s a lot of work involved there.
BK: Where do you get ideas for your writing?
FI: My historical romance just popped into my head. I ran a dating agency for a while so I was up to my eyebrows in tales of disappointments in love, unrequited love, and people looking for love. It just happened and I really did not even expect to get anywhere with it. My children’s adventure novel was inspired by a real trip to Egypt with my two nephews and my mom. I started writing them a short story and ended up with a book and an ongoing series.
BK: Tell about your first book?
FI: My children’s book The Secret of the Sacred Scarab was a complete quirk of Fate. I did not want to go to Egypt, but my mom insisted. I did not really think beyond a short story, but the tale just grew and grew. I had loads of rejections and almost gave up. Finally, I ended up being published in the USA. I live in South Africa and although we do not have many options for authors here, I have just found a distributor keen to distribute my book in my own country.
BK: What is the hardest part of writing?
FI: This is unique to every writer. I have never had writer’s block (yet!) so I am grateful for an ever-fertile imagination. Occasionally I struggle to get my heroes from point A to point B in a logical way, or else if there is a big, important scene coming up, I have a flutter of apprehension in case I do not do it justice. My scenes all work out in my head first. For example, some crucial end scenes have already played out in my head. The hardest part for me is actually typing fast enough to pour all the words and thoughts onto the page. It often feels as if I have a mass of words and thoughts in my head and I am trying to squeeze them through a very small funnel to get them into my computer.
ABOUT FIONA INGRAM
"My story-telling career began at age ten!”
Fiona Ingram’s earliest story-telling talents came to the fore when, from the age of ten, she entertained her three younger brothers and their friends with serialised tales of children undertaking dangerous and exciting exploits, which they survived through courage and ingenuity. Haunted houses, vampires, and skeletons leaping out of coffins were hot favourites in the cast of characters.
Although Fiona Ingram has been a journalist for the last fifteen years, writing a children’s book--The Secret of the Sacred Scarab—was an unexpected step, inspired by a recent trip to Egypt. The tale of the sacred scarab began life as a little anecdotal tale for her 2 nephews (then 10 and 12), who had accompanied her on the Egyptian trip. This short story grew into a children’s book, the first in the adventure series Chronicles of the Stone. The author is already immersed in the next book in the series--The Search for the Stone of Excalibur—a huge treat for young King Arthur fans. Although Fiona Ingram does not have children of her own, she has an adopted teenage foster child, from an underprivileged background who is just discovering the joys of reading for pleasure.
Naturally, Fiona is a voracious reader and has been from early childhood. Her interests include literature, art, theatre, collecting antiques, animals, music, and films. She loves travel and has been fortunate to have lived in Europe (while studying) and America (for work). She has travelled widely and fulfilled many of her travel goals.
After winning the Emma Smith Scholarship to finance her university studies, Fiona Ingram graduated from the University of Natal, Durban with a double first in her B.A. (French & Drama). She won a Human Sciences Research Council Bursary, which enabled her to do her Honours in Drama at Natal. Fiona then went to the University of the Witwatersrand to do her Masters in French-African literature (the impact of colonial language and culture upon the development of African theatre and literary forms), a subject which has interested her greatly. Fiona applied for and won the Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship for further study. She studied drama at The Drama Studio in London and mime at L’Ecole Jacques le Coq in Paris. Upon her return to South Africa, Fiona immersed herself in teaching drama at community centres, and became involved in producing community and grassroots theatre with local playwrights and performers in Natal for several years. A move to Johannesburg took her in a new direction—that of journalism. She has written freelance for the last fifteen years.
Please be sure to follow Fiona's Virtual Book Tour, her schedule with a list of all hosts and their links can be found on the Virtual Book Tours page in this site. If you wish to purchase The Secret of the Sacred Scarab please click the book cover above, but, if you follow Fiona's tour, leaving a comment at her pit stops, you will be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of this fantastic book!