The Secret of the Sacred Scarab Blog Stop

The Secret-of-the-Sacred-Scarab-by-Fiona-IngramToday I am honored to host Fiona Ingram on her blog tour. What is a blog tour? Well a blog tour is similar to an author’s book tour, but it’s hosted online, instead of at, say, a bookstore. The touring author visits a number of blogs (otherwise known as “blog stops”) over a set period–typically, a month. And today it’s me!

Fiona’s first book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is a really. I have often thought about taking my nieces on a trip to France but have yet to figure out how. However Fiona actually took her two nephews to Egypt and ended up with a book! I read the book (I read all the books I send my nieces) and thought it was exactly the kind of adventure stories that I like to read when I was growing up: Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins – this book – and the books she has on their way – would have been on my list of favorites!

The official summary:
A 5,000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives 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 realize 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.

The boys survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra, as well as sinking sand), and are 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!

And P.S.: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab was nominated as a Finalist in the Children’s Fiction section of 2009 USA Next Generation Indie Book Awards, as well as the USA National Best Books 2009 Awards.


About Fiona Ingram:
Born in Durban, South Africa into a family of five, reading and adventure were always a big part of Fiona’s life. Fiona’s book has been in the works since she developed a passion for Egypt at the age of eight after her mother gave her the encyclopedia Time-Life Ancient Egypt. That passion led to a trip to Egypt with her two nephews, a short story about Egyptian adventures, and ultimately her first book for children, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab–the first in a series called Chronicles of the Stone.

But it’s been a long and winding road to the release of Fiona’s book. Along the way, she spent several years in France earning her Master’s degree in French-African literature, teaching drama, working in community theater, and working as a journalist. She now lives in Johannesburg where she’s working on the next book in her series, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and planning her next trip, as research for her books.

I had the opportunity to pose questions to Fiona and below is my interview with her:

MWA: Children’s reading habits are something that is near and dear to my heart, and I understand that you feel the same, can you comment on that?

FI: Children love it when adults make the time to read, and would like to be read to more, not least by their dads; and enthusiasm within families is catching. Personal contact is the best thing about it, the stories themselves matter, and sharing books builds relationships.

A parent can also help explain the connection between the written and the spoken word, explain ‘big’ words and place the word in an understandable context. The sharing of a special time is so precious to the child, who feels that in the parent’s busy day, here is time exclusively for them. A parent can also monitor the child’s comprehension and listening skills by asking questions every few pages or so.

MWA: Do you have any funny anecdotes from your trip to Egypt with your nephews, something that didn’t end up in the book?

FI: There are loads of funny things that happened and I think I managed to squeeze them either into the book or onto the website in Hidden Chapters (in The Journey). The most wonderful thing about writing and including these anecdotes is it made me see my two nephews as very different personalities, with their own little fears, bravados, thoughts, and foibles. I was then able to include these elements in my fictional characters to make them more real.

My oldest nephew loved the Egyptian olives and pigged out on them at every opportunity. He got a major fright when, after he’d swallowed an olive pip, my youngest nephew asked him wasn’t he scared of a tree growing inside him. Silly but true. My youngest nephew is an excellent artist and he kept a journal and drew pictures of the trip—you can see some of his artwork in The Journey. I used many seemingly innocuous incidents as the basis for more sinister unfolding of the tale.

MWA: I do not have children but have two nieces and after reading your book I am inspired to think about taking them on a future trip with me to Paris. Do you have recommendations for activities to making a trip educational for children? It seems you must be an expert on the topic having completed such a wonderful trip with your nephews.

FI: A few reviewers have commented that I am an expert on Egypt, which I do not claim at all. However, I did do lots of research before to make sure we got the best from the trip. Being an avid traveler, I always research a place so I am ‘ready for it’ in a way.

The best advice about taking young people on a trip is this: find out what interests them. Then, research together, planning the trip and focusing on the aspects that will captivate them the most. Girls won’t be interested in exactly the same things as boys will. For example, if I were taking boys to Paris I would do the Eiffel Tower and Napoleon’s Tomb, filled with historical war memorabilia (it’s fascinating!). Girls will also like the Eiffel Tower, but might be more interested in a museum with all the exquisite costumes from Marie Antoinette’s time. So, the correct research will enhance a child’s visit to any place of historical and cultural interest.

Important tip: Remember to have fun! That way the experience will stick in the child’s mind forever.

MWA: I see that you can email your nephews on your website, how involved are they with your book promotions?

FI: They are both older now so have lost some contact with the book they starred in. However, that’s to be expected. I usually reply in character, depending on the question.

MWA: You already have your second book in the works, did you take your nephews to England, or did you just write from what you know? Do you have an idea for your 3rd book already?

FI: A strange thing happened while finishing the first book. Once I’d decided upon a series, the second and third books popped into my head, with very little ‘hard thinking.’ I had already made the link with medieval Scotland in Book One because the information about the Seven Stones of Power comes to light based on a document written by archaeologist James Kinnaird’s ancestor, Bedwyr the Curious Monk (in 1296).

I had already been to England and Scotland, and the ideas were mulling around in my head. So, in a way, I had created a link to follow. The third book has already been researched; I just have to go to the location—South America (Yay! I can’t wait!). I already have whole scenes unfolding in my head that are very exciting. I have planned the locations and story outlines for all the remaining stories and decided upon my ancient artifacts—every Stone of Power in encased within an ancient artifact that carries its own intriguing history.

MWA: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers

FI: Yes, lots. I have written two good articles (on Getting Published and Self-Marketing) which are on my author site ( under Media Room. They cover just about everything you need to know. But here are four must-do steps.

  1. Finish your manuscript. Have it professionally edited and prepared before sending it to an agent/publisher.
  2. Start researching your marketing strategies from day one (while still writing). Just because you’ve written a book doesn’t mean to say people will automatically rush out and buy it. Subscribe to newsletters and e-zines because there is a wealth of information about the book trade, many ‘how to’ tips and articles, and lists of book competitions.
  3. Look for an agent/publisher using tools of the trade like the ‘Writers & Artists Yearbook” or plenty of online sites. You can also get tips on how to put together a killer book proposal or agent query letter.
  4. Never give up and don’t take rejection/criticism personally. (This is the hardest part.) Create a mantra or self-belief statement and constantly repeat it. Your belief in your project will ensure it comes to fruition.

Thanks Fiona! You can see more of Fiona at the following locations:

Secret of the Sacred Scarab website
Fiona’s website
On Twitter : @FionaRobyn
On Facebook: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab Fan Page
You can even write to her nephews: TheBoys AT SecretofTheSacredScarab DOT com

If you have a blog or website and would like to host an author, WOW-WomenOnWriting are accepting a few choice blogs to participate in their programs. Come and join the fun! Email Angela & Jodi at blogtourATwow-womenonwritingDOTcom.

About Andi Fisher

I'm a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. I love to travel via my stomach eating and seeking out local artisans to feature here. I'm a big supporter of the blogging community and love highlighting travel and food bloggers for you to meet.


  1. I’m dancing like a fangirl to have stumbled onto this site – I’m also from South Africa.
    I will definately search for this series on and collect the books for my daughter.
    happy ICLW!

  2. Hi Tracy,
    Don’t forget to go onto the wonderful book website and enjoy the adventure with the heroes.

  3. I enjoyed reading on your web site , it’s full of great information. You have got one perennial visitor and a fan of this blog.

  4. great post as usual!

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