Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest Post: Writing for Children with Fiona Ingram

Why I Chose to Writer for Children

I found this blog post intriguing because I have never been asked this question before: why did I choose to write for children? I have always written, even if it was just plays, which we acted out for my long-suffering parents when I was young. I have four brothers (a great cast) and we would create grandiose plots gleaned from books, dress up, and act it all out. By the way, my parents would also pay for ‘tickets’ to these fantastic performances. I also had a long-running serial to entertain my younger brother and their friends – a ghost story, in weekly installments called Gruesome Gables. This involved monsters, vampires, skeletons, coffins, a haunted house and a dungeon filled with nameless terrors. My parents were really poor while the five (yes, five!) of us were growing up, so we read what was on the bookshelves. Mom had kept all her children’s classics. We cut our teeth on Rudyard Kipling’s Kim and Jungle Book, The Wind in the Willows, Brothers Grimm and other fairy story books, all the Enid Blytons, The Water Babies, Treasure Island, Little Women, Little Men, Paul Gallico, the Anne of Green Gables books, all the Lucy Fitch Perkins Twins books (an amazing mixture of story, geography, history and drama), Narnia books … the list is endless. We entertained ourselves with a fantasy world that we created from the books we read. That world was very special, very poignant, and it was hard to relinquish it and ‘grow up.’ In a way, writing for children is how one can revisit that amazing world.

I began writing for children purely by accident. Being a journalist, I have written loads of articles of course, but a book….? It just ‘happened!’ My mother was the catalyst. Then in her late 60s, she had always wanted to visit Egypt. She also invited my two nephews, then 10 and 12 to accompany us. It was an amazing trip, filled with interesting experiences. It proved to be the inspiration for the book. When I returned, after we’d admired the souvenirs and the photos, I thought I’d write a short story based on our experiences, naturally including myself (a journalist) an intrepid globe-trotting Gran, and two young boys. That was the beginning of it all. The short story became a novel; the novel became a children’s adventure series (Chronicles of the Stone) because at the end of the first book I realized that the story had grown into something quite spectacular.

The book is aimed at middle grade readers, ages 9/10-14, around the real ages of my nephews when we went on the trip. I am not sure if I chose the book or the book chose me because I ended up feeling very comfortable with the workings of the 10-12 year-old mind. I adopted a disadvantaged African child the same year of the trip. She was aged 11 and that also added to my experience with a middle-grade reader. Surprisingly, adults also love the book, and so many people have told me it makes them feel like a child again, open to adventure, and the excitement of something fun and interesting.

Although I have written an historical romance and collaborated on an adventure epic, I love my children’s book series. There is something unique about the world of children’s literature. It is magical, the possibilities are endless, and you’re limited only by your imagination. Imagination … if only we could keep our childlike imagination and beliefs as we step into adulthood.

Fiona Ingram’s earliest story-telling talents came to the fore when, from the age of ten, she entertained her three younger brothers and their friends with serialized tales of children undertaking dangerous and exciting exploits, which they survived through courage and ingenuity. Haunted houses, vampires and skeletons leaping out of coffins were hot favorites in the cast of characters. Although Fiona Ingram has been a journalist for the last fifteen years, writing a children’s book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab was an unexpected step, inspired by a recent trip to Egypt. Ingram has finished the second book in the Chronicles of the Stone series, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur—a huge treat for young King Arthur fans—which is due to release soon.

Naturally, Ingram is a voracious reader and has been from early childhood. Her interests include literature, art, theatre, collecting antiques, animals, music and films. She loves travel and has been fortunate to have lived in Europe (while studying) and America (for work). She has traveled widely and fulfilled many of her travel goals.

Stories for Children Publishing will be touring The Secret of the Sacred Scarab written by Fiona Ingram, which is the first book of the Chronicles of the Stone children’s book series, all month long in September 2011.

You can find out more about Fiona Ingram’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/FionaIngram.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Ingram and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions. Ingram will be checking in throughout the tour and is offering an additional giveaway for those who leave comments throughout the tour.

In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Fiona Ingram about her children’s book series, writing, the publishing industry, and the trials and tribulations of the writer’s life.

The show will be live September 26, 2011 at 2pm EST. You can tune in at the World of Ink Network site at http://www.blogtalkradion.com/worldofinknetwork.

Book Giveaway Rules:
· Join the Book Lovers Blog Hop. (One entry)
     · Follow the World of Ink Tour and leave a comment per tour blog stop. (must leave a real comment about the author, tour or book. Saying “this is cool” or “I love your book” will not count.) Make sure to include your safe email so we can contact you if you are the winner. Example: vsgrenier AT storiesforchildrenpublishing DOT com. (One bonus entry per blog stop)
· Ask a question per World of Ink Tour blog stop. (One bonus entry per tour blog stop)
There will be one (1) winner for this Book Giveaway.  Find out more at  

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