#interview with @FionaRobyn author of The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper @lovingthebook
short while ago, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair, with their friend Kim
Maleka, are now hunting for the third Stone of Power, one of seven mysterious
stones lost centuries ago. The third stone might be located in an ancient city,
hidden in the depths of the Mexican jungle. When their small plane crashes in
the jungle, Adam, Justin, Kim, and James are rescued by an uncontacted tribe.
James, who is wounded, must stay behind as the kids, with only a young boy,
Tukum, as their guide, make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to
find the city. 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 in search of the lost city of stone gods. 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
but up until a few years ago, I was a journalist and editor. Something rather
unexpected sparked my new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with my
mother and two young nephews. We had a great time and I thought I’d write them
a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned
book series later, I had changed careers. I have now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in
my MG 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! I also teach online novel writing for aspiring
authors and I find that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds me enjoying
something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. I love doing
research for my book series. I love animals and have written two animal rescue
stories. I have two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin,
and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.
Name / Pen name & little about yourself:
My name is Fiona Ingram and I was born and raised in South Africa. I’ve travelled all over the world and loved every minute of it. I guess that and a love of history, mythology, and ancient legends drew me to the genre I am writing in now. I started off in the theatre and always thought that a career in the performing arts was meant for me, but life had other plans and I became a writer instead.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always written – from writing plays that my four brothers and I performed (aged ten) for my very patient and long suffering parents, to telling long yarns to my brothers and their friends to entertain them … I suppose the desire to write and create started way back then.
What genre are your books? and what made you write in that genre?
My genre is Middle Grade fiction, adventure and action in unusual and exotic locations, with huge amounts of mystery and danger. It happened by accident after my mom and I took my two young nephews aged 10 and 12 to Egypt on a family holiday. That sparked the first book in The Chronicles of the Stone series entitled The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. From then on, I just had to keep writing more adventures because one book certainly wasn’t enough for my young heroes to save the world.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Apart from writing nonsense poetry for family members and short stories when I was a kid, my first real book was The Secret of the Sacred Scarab and how I wish I had started it years earlier … but my nephews wouldn’t have been born and they wouldn’t have been there to inspire me.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I have been reading about ancient history since I was a kid. I just love the tales of ancient times, and the mythology behind all the stories and history. While I was still busy with my first MG book, I knew I had to write more books to keep the adventure going, so I started researching subsequent books, even though I was still busy with Book 1. There is so much fascinating material in ancient history that one will never struggle to be inspired. All my books are based on facts, real historical figures, fascinating legends etc.
How long does it typically take you to write a book?
It gets easier the more you write. Book 1 took me 4 years because I just wrote and wrote and wrote and it was so long I had to cut it in half. Book 2 took me 2 years, and Book 3, also 2 years.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I have written three Middle Grade adventures in my planned 7-book series. I have to say that whatever I am working on is always my favorite at the time.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you overcome it?
I never suffer from writer’s block. If I can’t think of something or a scene is being a bit difficult, I just move on to another chapter and come back to the problem one. I usually find the characters have sorted things out in my absence.
Have you done any collaborations with other writers?
I have once, but it’s not for me, although I really admire people who can write as a team. It’s probably because I am very picky about grammar, spelling, structure etc, so I am not a good partner with a ‘pantser’ – I am more of a plotter.
What do you think of reviews?
I LOVE reviews. I am so grateful when people take the time to read and review my books and post them to book sites and social media. Reviews are so important in telling a potential buyer that a book is worthwhile or not.