Thursday, April 29, 2010
Author: Fiona Ingram
Publisher: iUniverse, #1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 300, Bloomington, Indiana, 47403, USA www.iuniverse.com
Publication date: 1 December 2008
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, adventure, 262 pages (includes map and graphics).
Age group: 10-14
* The Secret of the Sacred Scarab was a Finalist in the Children’s/Juvenile Fiction category of the 2009 USA Next Generation Indie Book Awards
* Finalist in the Children’s Fiction section of the USA National Best Books 2009 Awards.
* It was also a Winner in the Preteen category of the 2009 Readers’ Favorites 2009 Awards.
* The book has just been nominated Number 2 in the Top 10 Favourite Books of 2009 for Kids, Tweens and Teens in The Children’s & Teens Book Connection.
* It has also won a Silver medal in the Teen Fiction category of the 2010 Nautilus Book Awards, pending final voting for the Gold medal award .
Description: A thrilling adventure for two young boys, whose fun trip to Egypt turns into a dangerously exciting quest to uncover an ancient and mysterious secret.
Book Synopsis: 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!
An Accidental Author with Fiona Ingram
I once read somewhere that everyone has a book in them somewhere, maybe hidden deep inside, and it takes an event, a person, a life-changing experience, perhaps even a dream, or a trip to unlock that story. Mine was one of those serendipitous occasions. I have always been a raconteur. From age ten I entertained my three younger brothers and the four children next door (aka “the next-doors”) with tales of derring-do involving copious amounts of blood and gore, and ghoulish creatures of the night such as vampires (not the Twilight kind, more the Nosferatu type), werewolves, and zombies. My heroes were (not surprisingly) children around our age, and they had been abandoned by life (no parents or other interfering adults to spoil the plot) in a ghastly haunted mansion called Gruesome Gables. From these auspicious beginnings it seemed inevitable that I would eventually drift into writing. I went from a planned career in the theater (with lots of degrees to prove it) to journalism by a process vaguely akin to the continental drift. So, how did I go from there to being a children’s author?
Serendipity struck a few years ago. Maybe it was a doubly lethal blow because Fate and the Universe also made sure I didn’t wriggle out of this one. My mother wanted to “see the pyramids before I die” and although I was totally disbelieving of her imminent demise, I was emotionally bullied into accompanying her and my two young nephews to the land of the pyramids—Egypt. For those of you who are anxious, rest assured my mother is still very much alive and planning a trip to Alaska. No, Serendipity and its cohorts did not strike during the trip to Egypt although I felt strangely compelled to collect souvenirs, tickets to monuments, photos, nick-nacks, etc, more so than my usual magpie travelling habits. It was only when I arrived back home that I thought a short story for my nephews would be a charming and unusual souvenir. I began writing by hand—after all, it was only a short story. I was soon forced to abandon the writing pad for the computer as the story grew and grew like Topsy.
About halfway through the book, I began to create a back-story and a mythology that also took on a life of its own. Soon I had ten ancient Egyptian builder gods, a land that was destroyed in a night and a day by fire, and a set of legendary books that promised death and destruction if they fell into the wrong hands.… And you’re thinking I made this up? No, I had just uncovered a plethora of fascinating and eminently readable myths and legends that fueled the flames of inspiration that raged. Raged is perhaps an understatement. I became consumed by my book and then found a further set of stories jumping about in my brain. Soon the idea for The Chronicles of the Stone was born and now I seem to be on a rollercoaster that is propelling me inevitably toward an ultimate goal—a book series. I am just about to finish the second book, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur.
So, when you have a dream, an experience, or go on a trip and feel compelled to write it down … don’t hesitate! It could be your destiny beckoning.
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.