About Fiona Ingram: I come from a background of theatre studies and journalism. My studies and love of travel have combined because after university I spent a year in London at drama school and a year in Paris studying mime. After a few years working in grassroots and community-based theater, I began to write more and gradually moved into journalism. Becoming a children’s author happened by complete accident after I went on a family trip to Egypt with my mother and two young nephews. By the time I was halfway through the first book, I realised that my young heroes needed more books written so that they had enough time to save the world. The Chronicles of the Stone book series was born!
What inspires you to write? The initial trip to Egypt with my family inspired the first book in the adventure series: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. After that, ideas just came thick and fast and since I have always loved ancient history, legends, mythology and the like, it has been incredibly easy to create a large story arc and find enough fascinating and credible information to make the imaginary parts of each book real. Book Two: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is, of course, about the Dark Ages King Arthur and is a wonderful adventure for the young heroes. Book Three: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper takes our intrepid explorers off to the jungles of Mexio and a long lost city. I always seem to have ideas and inspiration.
Tell us about your writing process. I am a very structured writer, coming from a “check your facts” journalistic background. Interestingly, as I was writing Book One, I was doing sideline research on lots of interesting places and famous historical characters or legends that had always fascinated me. So very soon, I had the seven planned books outlined and more or less defined in terms of what would happen. I always write by hand to start – a basic outline – and then make lots of notes for each book/characters in a large A4 notebook. As I work on each story and find links and facts, I make rough notes so the stories all begin to form a tapestry of linked events. The actual writing process is done on my computer. I try to make all my notes and back story details before I start the story. I also do a detailed synopsis of events for each chapter so that I don’t forget what I’ve done with certain characters. So, I guess a mix of structure and letting my imagination take over.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters? My characters definitely have their own minds! If I get stuck in a scene, I ask the characters to sort it out, then I move on to another chapter or scene. I usually find that when I come back to the problem, it has been resolved. I have had an occasion when I wanted a young character in Book 3 (Tukum) to give a special amulet to the main hero (Adam), but he refused and insisted on giving it to the other hero (Justin). I have no idea why, but I feel it has made the book better, and I have no doubt this amulet will play its part in a later book. I leave that up to serendipity.
What advice would you give other writers? These three simple tips should help.
- Don’t give up. Even if you feel beaten, down, depressed, unappreciated, whatever, do not give up your project. Make your mantra and say it every day. (Mine involves being a world famous best selling author with as much money as You-Know-Who)
- Make sure that your manuscript/book is as perfect as can be, and if that means spending money on editing and proofreading, do it.
- Do not stop marketing: Even when your book is out there and you’ve sent off your press releases, don’t stop spreading the word! Do something every day (either online or physical) to continue your marketing thrust. Remember—marketing doesn’t sell books … marketing gives you exposure and exposure sells books (my thanks to marketing guru Penny Sansivieri of Author Marketing Experts for those words).
How did you decide how to publish your books? To be honest, I didn’t know any better when I opted for self-publishing. I knew nothing about book publishing; I wrote for a journalism market, which is totally different. I sent my three chapters and begging letter to 35 British agents, 33 of whom were not interested. One gave me great advice and praised my writing, saying I should just persist. The other said she would have taken me, but she had someone with a similar idea. (Who could possibly have an idea like mine, I thought, in my naïveté). A friend put me onto someone who had self-published and the book looked just like a ‘real’ book. After many humps and bumps and hurdles along the way, I have stuck with self publishing for the US market, although I have a traditional publisher in China and another in Japan. The books are translated in both Chinese and Japanese.
What do you think about the future of book publishing? While there are thousands of books entering the market every day now that the stigma of self publishing has gone, that means there are thousands of people reading books. It’s clear that books, in whatever format, are here to stay. It’s up to each aspiring author to make their books as good as possible in order to be discovered.
What do you use? Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write? Juvenile fiction
What formats are your books in? Both eBook and Print
Interview Done by Book Goodies-2017