What Inspired me to Write My Book
by Fiona Ingram
Writing a book was a complete accident. Although I worked in magazine publishing, I had often thought about writing a book, but couldn’t think of what to write. Then my mother moved the goalposts and everything changed! I went to Egypt with my mom and two nephews and decided to write a short story for them to remember their trip. The short story ballooned into a book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, which exploded into a book series, Chronicles of the Stone.
My nephews were then aged 10 and 12. I felt a particular affinity with my 10-year-old nephew, possibly the result of lots of babysitting when he was small. We did most of our sightseeing together so I experienced closely all that he felt during our trip. In my young hero I found many of the wonderful characteristics of my nephew: Eagerness to absorb every second of the trip; excitement and wonder when faced with the massive monuments of an ancient civilization; an unswerving belief in the possibility of amazing things happening to them while on the trip. I saw the magic and adventure through my young nephew’s eyes and it really moved me. I remember how I had felt at that age, when any and everything was possible. You just had to believe!
My nephews both displayed the most incredible enthusiasm one usually finds in that 10-12 age group, when kids are off on the most exciting escapade of their lives. It seemed a natural progression when writing the short story (that became the book!) to base the adventure and the characters on the people who had shared the trip with me: Mom, my nephews, and the people we met along the way. I found the idea of two young boys merging with my two nephews, and the characters just grew. I had always intended the short story to feature the boys themselves. It was going to be something they could show their friends at school. As I wrote the adventure, I kept seeing my nephews and imagining how the youngest one particularly would react when he found out he was to undertake a task of monumental proportions and in so doing save the world.
I did not know there would be a sequel until I neared completion of Book One. By then, the mythology and prehistory of the adventure had solidified. I chose seven books because seven is such a mystical number. In Book Two, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, the heroes discover ancient clues that show them the path their quest will take. The boys discover a strange inscription and a picture that help them create a spiritual and physical map for what faces them. They are also joined by a girl, about their own ages, who is being fostered by their aunt. This also changes the relationships in the subsequent books and creates many interesting angles. Here is a strange case of art imitating life. In the year we made the trip and I began writing the book, I fostered an African child, a little girl, from an underprivileged background. My youngest nephew (then 10) bonded with Mabel, my foster-daughter, and before I knew it, she was a character in the second book. (A happy ending: a little while later I legally adopted Mabel and now have a daughter.)
Read more about South African children’s author Fiona Ingram and her award-winning middle grade adventure novel The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by visiting http://www.FionaIngram.com or http://www.secretofthesacredscarab.com. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur (Book Two) will be available in late 2013, while Fiona is working on The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper (Book Three).
Genre – Juvenile Fiction
Rating – G
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