Interview with Fiona Ingram, author of 'The Search for the Stone of Excalibur'

Fiona Ingram was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in the multi award winning The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone. Fiona has just published the second book entitled The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, a treat for young King Arthur fans. She is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

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About the Book:

Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?

Join Justin and Adam as they search not only for the second Stone of Power, but also for the Scroll of the Ancients, a mysterious document that holds important clues to the Seven Stones of Power. As their adventure unfolds, they learn many things and face dangers that make even their perils in
Egypt look tame. And how annoying for them that their tag-along companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are stumped. Book extras include some historical background on King Arthur, the Dark Ages, warfare and weaponry during Arthur’s time, and details on Excalibur. A fascinating peek into the life and times of the real King Arthur, perfect for young time travelers and budding archaeologists.

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  • The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Find out the latest on  the book at Facebook.

Q: Thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background?

I started out wanting to be an actress and, after completing a Master’s degree in French-African literature at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, I won a scholarship to study mime in Paris and drama in London. It was an amazing experience. When I came back to South Africa, I had a wonderful time on stage for a few years, until writing began to take up most of my time. I’d always enjoyed writing poems and bits and pieces over the years, but never thought of writing anything like a book. In fact, I was working very hard as a freelance journalist. My first children’s book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab came about after a family trip to Egypt with my mother and my two young nephews. From then on, writing books became a full time job. Apart from exciting Middle Grade adventure, I write animal rescue books, Regency romances (under a pseudonym, Arabella Sheraton), and I also teach novel writing.

Q: What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

I am a very good actress and mimic. (I also make incredible home made ice cream without using an ice cream maker!)

Q: What scares you the most?

I am most afraid that people won’t like something I have written.

Q: What makes you happiest?

Getting five star reviews and winning book awards. Hearing from people who really enjoyed my books.

Q: What are you most proud of in your personal life?

The best decision I ever made was to foster and later adopt an underprivileged African child. Mabel’s mother worked for me as a cleaner and one day she begged me to take Mabel (then aged 11) into my home and help her with her education. Thanks to the dismal state of the education system here in South Africa, Mabel had already failed Grade 2 and was going to be kept down for another year in Grade 4. It was hard work but Mabel slogged away and, with the help of extra lessons and a lot of encouragement, six years later matriculated with flying colours, and is now studying journalism. 

During that time Mabel’s mother asked me to adopt her child, so that Mabel could have a better life. This I did, and Mabel now has a legal mom (me) and her biological family who were all very happy to see this happen. I could only save one child, and Mabel is that child. Mabel inspired the character of an African child in my Middle Grade book series to accompany the young heroes on their quest to save the world.

Q: What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

The easiest part is writing the book; getting published is definitely much easier now for authors with all the self publishing options available, so I would say marketing is most certainly the hardest part of the whole process.

Q: Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing mean to you?

Success can be measured in so many ways and sometimes it is not always about the money. I love winning book awards. They have definitely benefitted my writing career because just the number of awards my first children’s book (The Secret of the Sacred Scarab) won motivated a publishing contract with a very big publisher in Beijing, China, as well as the book being translated and published in Japan. It also got a few people in the movie industry looking at my work with renewed interest. So, winning awards is part of what I’d consider success. Secondly, when people tell me they or their child loved my book and can’t wait to read the next one. Thirdly, when people say, “I’ve heard of you.”

Q: Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

My new book The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is the second book in my planned Middle Grade adventure series The Chronicles of the Stone. Book 1: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab started the series after I took my young nephews to Egypt and the whole adventure began. Book 2 had to be written because my young heroes hadn’t saved the world yet by the end of Book 1! Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is pending publication.

Q: When you are not writing, how do you relax?

That’s hard to answer because being a writer is like having permanent homework! When you aren’t writing you feel guilty about not writing. However, I love the movies, reading, going to the theatre, being at home with my adorable pets, spending time with friends and loved ones. I love travelling and when I can, I do!

Q: Please tell us why we should read your book?

If you have a young relative who loves reading, or you are a young at heart secret adventurer, you’ll adore my book. It’s non-stop action, mystery, intrigue, danger, secret codes, fantastic discoveries, archeology, history and geography all rolled up into an incredible adventure … and King Arthur and his sword Excalibur play a big part.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other authors just getting their feet wet?

Apart from never give up, never give up, never give up?

1. Finish your manuscript. Work on it every day until it’s complete.
2. Have your work professionally edited/assessed before you send it to anyone.
3. Learn from day one all about marketing and finding an agent or publisher by subscribing to newsletters and e-zines, and by joining other author groups. I knew nothing when I began marketing and that’s how I learned.