Where do you get your inspiration from? I would like to say I have no idea, because I am not sure where it comes from, but I think my own interests – ancient history, travel, geography, archaeology, myths and legends have strongly influenced my writing. I have always been fascinated by the ancient world, and my earliest books were encyclopaedias that lay around the house.
History is utterly fascinating and far more exciting than modern life. All the great inventions happened centuries, even millennia ago. I love reading about anything to do with ancient discoveries, both in fiction novels and non-fiction books.
Who would you like to acknowledge and thank? My late mother is the reason I have achieved so much and have become a full-time writer. Mom loved reading from early childhood, and I still have many of her original books. Television came very late to South Africa, so either kids read books or went outside and played real games with their friends and neighbors.
If we (my four brothers and I) moaned about being bored, she would tell us to read a book, and most times that’s what we did. Later, my mom was my greatest champion while I was at university. I won scholarships all the way, and studied in London (drama) and Paris (mime). Mom never let me give up, even when I felt I could not go on. My mother took me and my two young nephews to Egypt on an amazing tour, and that was the reason I began my middle grade book series. My mother was my best friend and most loyal fan. I owe her everything.
How many friends does a person need? When I was about ten, I asked my great-grandmother (who lived to an amazing 96!) about friends. She said, very solemnly, “If you can count your good friends on the fingers of one hand, you are very blessed.” I stared at her, thinking, “Poor Gogo (her nickname), she only has five friends.
That’s terrible. I want hundreds of friends.” That was a life lesson. As I grew up, I longed for loads of friends. That is, until I learned that my great-gran was right: having those few loyal, steadfast friends are all you need. I also am reminded of the adage: “When days are dark, friends are few,” or “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” I am grateful for my few wonderful, supportive friends.
What social issues interest you the most? Since my experiences with my adopted daughter and teaching her to read and appreciate books, it has to be child literacy. I loved growing up with books, and would happily read under the blankets with a flashlight until my dad made me turn it off. Books are the windows to wonderful worlds.
Kids that do not read are disadvantaged. Kids need books to learn life skills, to understand life’s situations, and to develop their imaginations. My second great passion is animals. I adore animals and am passionate about animal rights, both domestic and wild. I find cruelty and indifference to animals abhorrent.
Tell us about your marketing campaign. You cannot just write books and hope people will find them and buy them. Marketing your work, as well as offering quality content on writing (articles/tips/book reviews etc.) is vital to spreading the word. Be useful to other people and don’t bore them to death with self-promotion.
If you have something to offer, then people naturally want to know more about you and your work. I do everything I can to get people interested in my book/s. I have a blog, where I review a variety of books; I Tweet about writing related material, and also update followers about book awards I have won or blog tour stops. I have a Facebook Fan page; and I have a Pinterest profile.
I find blog tours, and blog hops are the best way to get access to a wide variety of people interested in this genre – middle grade adventure. My buyers are the moms who still choose for their kids. They need to know what my books are about, and approve of the subject matter. Something to note is that people do not like being bombarded with “buy my book” messages.
Getting people interested in what I do also involves creating material that they find interesting for themselves. In this respect, writing about a subject that interests many moms, such as getting kids interested in books and reading, is the best way to gain followers and fans.
A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs.
Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra and sinking sand), pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out. They must also learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor.
With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another!
Genre – Juvenile Fiction
Rating – G
More details about the author