Today our guest is author Fiona Ingram of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. Thank you so much for being with us today Fiona.
BK: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
FI: I started studying for a career in the theater and only after I realized there were not many options for me in South Africa, I switched to journalism. I have always been an entertainer and storyteller, from age ten when I kept my younger brothers amused with ghost stories. I also wrote plays and produced them for my long-suffering parents. My four brothers were a great cast.
BK: How long does it take you to write a book?
FI: My recently accepted manuscript for a historical romance took only a few months. My first children’s book took four years with all the research, finding a publisher and editing. My second children’s book is going much faster.
BK: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
FI: I am caregiver to my disabled mom so I have to write round her therapy schedule. I also have a teenage adopted daughter so there is the school run and homework related activities. I tend to set ‘chunks’ of time aside for writing. My family is very forgiving of my absences so I really can write whenever I like. I try to keep the evenings free for family time.
BK: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
FI: I like to listen to either classical music or film track music very loudly.
BK: How do books get published?
FI: One can either go the traditional route or self-publish.
BK: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
FI: Imagination. My historical romance came about because I was running a dating agency. My children’s book came about after a family trip to Egypt. I read a lot about earth mysteries, foreign countries, ancient history, theories of pre-civilization etc, and that has given me the basis for my children’s series.
BK: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
FI: My first book was Gruesome Gables, an ongoing horror saga involving intrepid kids and a haunted house. It seemed to go on forever. I was ten and had younger brothers to entertain.
BK: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
FI: I love travel, books, movies, theater, any dance shows, meeting with friends, walking the dogs. Anything to do with arts and culture.
BK: What does your family think of your writing?
FI: They cannot wait for me to become the next J.K. Rowling so I can buy a castle in Scotland where we can live happily ever after.
BK: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
FI: I have learned that writing a book is the easy part; marketing a book is the hard part. I used to think it was the other way around…
BK: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
FI: I am a novice right now. I have written one historical romance (The Dangerous Duke) and am halfway through the next (now that I have a nice contract!). I have written one middle grade adventure novel for kids (The Secret of the Sacred Scarab) and am halfway through the next one (The Search for the Stone of Excalibur).
BK: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
FI: Read as much as possible about the craft of writing and consider those points when writing. Listen to your editor; when he or she says cut … cut. You can always paste the deleted sections into a document called Words I Had To Leave Behind. Writers often are caught up in scenes that ramble on and find it hard to trim and pare their writing down.
BK: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
FI: I really word hard to get reviews so I do have an ongoing stream of comments and remarks. Usually all good!
BK: Do you like to create books for adults?
FI: Yes, I do. I would not be good at family drama or contemporary romance. I really enjoy writing my historical fiction.
BK: What do you think makes a good story?
FI: In my opinion, a good story is one that captivates a reader from the first page. A compelling plot and interesting, believable characters are essential to hold the reader’s attention. Of course, since readers usually choose the genre or type of books they enjoy first, the author writing in their chosen genre can enjoy a captive audience e.g. sci-fi fans, romance readers, thrillers, detective fiction all have their dedicated followers. To entice a reader to pick up something they have never read before, or would not ordinarily choose is quite a challenge. This might happen through the person reading a good review or a recommendation by a friend.
BK: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
FI: I wanted to be a nurse. Luckily, my far thinking grandmother suggested I do a volunteer stint at a local hospital during my school holidays. Blood! Ugh! Bang, no more Florence Nightingale. Then I wanted to become an actress and studied overseas after university. After a lack of opportunities in South Africa, I switched to writing and now I am where I want to be.
Well Fiona, it has been a pleasure talking with you today. Fiona is on virtual book tour, and you can view her schedule on her website, or on Virtual Book Tour Cafe. Follow along in her tour, leaving a comment along the way to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of her book!
Fiona's next stop is April 30 at AZ Publishing Services
The Secret of the Sacred Scarab
Fiona Ingram Blog