Fiona Ingram: Where Do Stories Grow?
Where do stories come from? I wish I had a clever answer but although they clearly come from one’s imagination, life’s events and experiences and people undoubtedly shape the process. I started my storytelling career by entertaining my three younger brothers and their friends with tales of intrepid youngsters (us, of course!) somehow trapped inside a haunted mansion called Gruesome Gables. This mansion was populated by the worst of the worst in the monster pantheon – vampires, werewolves, ghosts, ghouls, you name it, we fought it. Of course, being the young heroes, we always escaped to fight another day.
It was many years later before I started writing for pleasure, although a career first planned in the theatre somehow led me into the publishing industry. I never set out to write a children’s book, but the story found me. I went to Egypt with my mother and my two young nephews (then aged 10 and 12). We had a most glorious adventure and although I am a seasoned traveller, having been to most of my bucket list destinations, this trip was different. I saw it through the eyes of two enthusiastic middle grade explorers, and their view was vastly different from mine. My nephews showed me the magical aspects of reality, and thus the seeds of the first story were sown.
When we returned home, I decided to write my nephews a short story of exploration, adventure and (of course) lots of danger. The Secret of the Sacred Scarab came to life. But halfway through the story, I realized that it had to be longer to give the young heroes enough time to save the world. At the end of the book, I realized that they needed more books to be able to properly save the world! I love ancient history and have done from childhood, so it wasn’t hard to find the most wonderful legends and mythologies and take my young explorers on a fantastic adventure that encompassed all the magical places around the globe, incorporating historical figures, history, geography and cultures that kids possibly will only ever read about. Interestingly, I have so far not run out of themes, places, famous historical figures, ancient legends, and intriguing artifacts with which to populate my middle grade adventure series, The Chronicles of the Stone.
I find that visual images also spark a lot of my ideas. Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur involved the finding of the most famous sword in literature and history, Excalibur, the sword of King Arthur. That adventure took my young heroes to Scotland and England. Interestingly, I was at something of a loss as to how this story would unfold. One night I watched an old Inspector Morse movie, The Wolvercote Tongue, and some of it takes place in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, a place I love. I woke up the next morning with the plot in my head and, yes, something important happens in the Ashmolean!
Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper satisfied my enduring fascination with the Maya and the Aztecs and whisked my heroes off to the jungles of Mexico. I wasn’t sure how to start the adventure until I saw the opening scene of the TV series Lost, where a plane has crashed, and the debris is strewn all over the place. I did not complete watching the series, but that image remained with me and kick started the opening scene of Book 3.
At this moment, my young heroes are hiding out in the catacombs of Paris while they try to find the treasure of the Knights Templar in Book 4: The Cabal of the Ouroboros. And yes, before you ask, an incredible statue of a knight effigy which currently resides in the Louvre was the spark that got me going on Book 4. So, one never knows what is going to provide the creative spark for a book, but one should remain open to all kinds of inspiration.
Check out The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper
A plane crash! Lost in the jungle! Hunted by their old enemy, will Adam, Justin, and Kim survive long enough to find the Third Stone of Power? With only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, the kids make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the lost city of stone gods, where the Stone of Power might be located. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task.
Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice.
Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?
About the Author
Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,
The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.