Friday, December 4, 2015

Fiona Ingram, author of The Search for the Stone of Excalibur



Author Bio:
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 resulted in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—The Chronicles of the Stone. This was inspired by a family trip the author took with her mom and two young nephews aged ten and twelve at the time. The book began as a short story for her nephews and grew from there. Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is a treat for young King Arthur fans. Fiona is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, set in Mexico.

While writing The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, Fiona fostered (and later adopted) a young African child from a disadvantaged background. Her daughter became the inspiration for the little heroine, Kim, in The Search for the Stone of Excalibur. Interestingly, the fictional character’s background and social problems are reflected in the book as Kim learns to deal with life. Fiona’s experiences in teaching her daughter to read and to enjoy books also inspired many of her articles on child literacy and getting kids to love reading.

Title: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur
Author: Fiona Ingram
ISBN: 978-1622492183
Page count: 376
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Price: Pbk $29.95 E-bk $6.95

Tell us about your 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.

How long did it take to write the book?
It’s hard to say because while writing Book One: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, I was already planning a second, third book and subsequent books. I would say about two years all told.

What inspired you to write the book?
The Search for the Stone of Excalibur grew from Book One, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. I am a huge King Arthur fan and having travelled all over Scotland, visiting castles, I decided that Britain would be the location of the boys’ quest for the Second Stone of Power. The legends and stories about King Arthur and Excalibur are the perfect vehicle for this book. There is so much magic and mystery surrounding this historical figure that I had enough material to craft a fascinating adventure. If you love history, geography, action, adventure, archaeology and a story that grips you from page one (plus lots of danger!) then this is the book for you. This will also appeal to anyone who wants to save the world or (for those readers a little older) remembers their plans to do so!

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
When researching and writing Book 1, I was already doing a lot of thinking and researching subsequent books. I try to go to the locations where my Middle Grade adventure series take place, and have been lucky enough to have travelled widely. There is a huge amount of research involved because all the books in the series involve historical, geographical and archaeological facts, as well as myths and legends of these various places and cultures. The subsequent books take my young heroes to Mexico, France, India, and Turkey, and finally back to Egypt as the adventure is completed. I try to plan a writing routine but find that marketing and my book review editing job always eat into that time. Miraculously, however, I do manage to get my books written.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
Total enjoyment, of course, and the feeling that they have experienced the most fantastic adventure with the young heroes. I also hope that young readers will be interested to do some further research, maybe even checking the facts detailed in my books, and actually be encouraged to read even more books that will stimulate their imaginations and cement a love of reading in their lives.

Excerpt from book:

The eerie figure came closer, the horse lifting its feet carefully, clip-clopping right up to the trembling boy. The horse was huge, its trappings gleaming with pinpoints of metal rosettes, its long tail and mane hanging like ghostly cobwebs in the pale moonlight. The beast snorted and stamped restlessly. Adam saw the burnished glint of a helmet with a dragon-shaped crest topped by a red plume. Although the cheek pieces of the helmet obscured the man’s features, the shadowy figure was looking right at him. A red cloak swirled around the warrior’s body and, as the fabric swung aside, Adam saw the gleam of chain mail and the dark shape of a breastplate on the man’s chest. The warrior’s armor seemed more Roman than he expected. A banner flapped from the spear of a man behind the warrior: a red dragon on a white background. The warrior raised one arm, and a roar erupted as the sounds of cheering burst from what seemed to be thousands of throats. Although Adam heard strange words in another language, somehow he understood what the voices said.
“Hail the Pendragon!”
Adam was so close that he could have reached out and touched the rider. The spectral figure drew his sword from its scabbard and held it aloft. It seemed to Adam that he saw every detail with strangely magnified clarity. It was the same sword from the museum, but it looked so different now. The metal gleamed with a peculiar bluish sheen. Curious characters embossed the length of the blade. At the top, just under the crossguard, was a small circle with a seven-pointed star inside it. Sparkling gems decorated the hilt and pommel, with two dragons’ heads facing inward on the crossguard. The stone between the dragons’ open mouths glowed brilliant red. Suddenly, a fiery, almost blinding light shot from the stone, dazzling him. The white horse reared on its hindquarters. The radiant beam lit up the forest as the warrior whirled the blade around his head several times. Adam fell to his knees, shaking with a mixture of terror and excitement as he realized the second Stone of Power was embedded in the sword of Arthur. But the stone in the museum sword was nothing like this one.

Where can we go to buy your book?


Any other links or info you'd like to share?
The Search for the Stone of Excalibur has won a Silver Medal in the 2015 Children’s Literary Classics Awards http://www.clcawards.org/2015_Book_Awards_Winners.html
AUTHOR DETAILS
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/fiona_ingram

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