Monday, February 20, 2012

Guest Post: Fiona Ingram

Curling Up By The Fire is pleased to welcome Fiona Ingram, author of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, a novel which has won several awards including Winner Gold Award Mystery Pre-Teen 2011 Children's Literary Classics Award and Winner Silver Medal Teen Fiction 2010 Nautilus Book Awards.  And the synopsis is intriguing, take a look:

Cousins Justin and Adam are ecstatic about accompanying their aunt to Egypt. Both love adventure and know the work of James Kinnaird, an archaeologist searching for the tomb of an ancient Egyptian ruler, the Scarab King. Some dismiss the tomb as legend, but Justin and Adam believe differently.

From the moment their plane lands, Justin and Adam bounce from one mysterious event to another, starting from the moment a street peddler gives Adam an ancient scarab. Dr. Khalid, head of the department of antiquities and research at the Egyptian Museum, shows excessive interest in the cousins and their relic. Then, when the boys learn that James Kinnaird is missing, they realize something sinister is afoot.

Kidnapped and taken across the desert, the boys are plunged into serious danger and chased by ruthless enemies. Dr. Khalid will stop at nothing to discover the Scarab King's tomb and claim its treasures. But he has underestimated the boys' ingenuity.

Join Justin and Adam as they evade their captors and unravel the secrets of the Scarab King. Relying on their wits, courage, and each other, the boys must solve the mystery of the sacred scarab and rescue James Kinnaird before time runs out.

Writing for Children

Although my writing career began at the bottom rung of a very small magazine, I have always written, even if it was just plays which we acted out for my long-suffering parents when I was young. I have four brothers (a great cast) and we would create grandiose plots gleaned from books and dress up and act it all out. By the way, my parents would also pay for ‘tickets’ to these fantastic performances. I also had a long-running serial to entertain my younger brother and their friends – a ghost story, in weekly installments called Gruesome Gables. This involved monsters, vampires, skeletons, coffins, a haunted house and a dungeon filled with nameless terrors. My parents were really poor while the five (yes, five!) of us were growing up, so we read what was on the bookshelves. We entertained ourselves with a fantasy world that we created from the books we read, generally the traditional children’s classics. That world was very special, very poignant, and it was hard to relinquish it and ‘grow up.’ In a way, writing for children is how one can revisit that amazing world.

I began writing for children purely by accident. Being a journalist, I have written loads of articles of course, but a book….? It just ‘happened!’ My mother was the catalyst. Then in her late 60s, she had always wanted to visit Egypt. She also invited my two nephews, then 10 and 12 to accompany us. It was an amazing trip, filled with interesting experiences. My nephews were at that wonderful age where everything is new, exciting, and possible. Their enthusiasm was totally infectious and their delight at everything we saw or did got me thinking. Ultimately their enjoyment and passion for the trip proved to be the inspiration for the book. When I returned, after we’d admired the souvenirs and the many photos, I thought I’d write a short story based on our experiences, naturally including myself (a journalist) an intrepid globe-trotting grandmother, and two young boys. That was the beginning of it all. The short story became a novel; the novel became a children’s adventure series (Chronicles of the Stone) because at the end of the first book I realized that the story had grown into something quite spectacular.

The book is aimed at middle grade readers, ages 9/10-14, around the real ages of my nephews when we went on the trip. I am not sure if I chose the book or the book chose me because I ended up feeling very comfortable with the workings of the 10-12 year-old mind. I adopted a disadvantaged African child the same year of the trip. She was aged 11 and that also added to my experience with a middle-grade reader. Surprisingly, adults also love the book, and so many people have told me it makes them feel like a child again, open to adventure, and the excitement of something fun and interesting.

Although I have written two historical romances and collaborated on an adventure epic, I love my children’s book series. There is something unique about the world of children’s literature. It is magical, the possibilities are endless, and you’re limited only by your imagination. Imagination … if only we could keep our childlike imagination and beliefs as we step into adulthood.

Author Biography
Although Fiona Ingram has been a journalist for the last fifteen years, writing a children’s bookThe 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 an award-winning children’s book, the first in the adventure series Chronicles of the Stone. The author has already completed 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. Fiona’s experiences in teaching her daughter to read has resulted in her interest in child literacy and in creating ways to get kids more interested in reading, as well as helping parents to instil a love of reading in their children.

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.

Fiona’s latest book is the middle grade adventure novel, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab – Book 1 in the Chronicles of the Stone series.

Visit her website at

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 Check out the book trailer:


  1. This sounds like a wonderful read for all ages.

  2. It is! I have had many adults tell me they felt young again after reading it, or else they remembered the excitement of books that kept them enthralled in childhood.

  3. I've got a nephew who'd like this sort of book!