Sunday, June 29, 2014

Why I Wrote The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

With my second MG adventure, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, coming out soon, I looked back on how I began writing for kids in the first place. Writing a children’s book was an unexpected step, inspired by a family trip to Egypt. In fact, I should say I owe it all to my (wonderful) late mother, who read about a tour to Egypt in a magazine. I wasn’t sure about Egypt because Europe is more to my liking, but Mum was insistent, so I went along with her whim. We took my two nephews with us, and they became the ‘models’ for the two young heroes of the book, Justin and Adam Sinclair.
Mom, me, my nephew Connor (Adam in the book), and nephew Michael (Justin in the book).
The tale of the sacred scarab began life as an anecdotal short story for my nephews (then 10 and 12). When we got back to South Africa and had admired the photos and sorted out the souvenirs, I wanted to give them a special memory of the trip. I picked up a writing pad and a red pen (I remember the colour so clearly) and thought … ‘What’s it called?’ Then, without even thinking about it, I wrote the title, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and the first word, Egypt! The rest just seemed to flow. I used our actual trip as the plot outline and tried to incorporate the many unusual things that had happened to us, just infusing them with a more sinister meaning. With a black-hearted villain like Dr. Khalid for an arch-enemy, it wasn’t too difficult.

This short story grew into a children’s book, the first in the middle-grade adventure series, Chronicles of the Stone. It had to because by the end of the first book I realized that my heroes couldn’t possibly save the world in one book ... they’d have to continue the adventure, which just grew from there. The fun part was basing the plot on actual events. The boys’ journey closely mirrors much of what we saw and did in Egypt, but obviously is a thousand times more exciting. I’d give anything to actually find an old scarab that was the key to an ancient mystery. The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is available on Amazon. You can follow Adam and Justin's adventures by visiting the website. Live the adventure!
by Fiona Ingram