Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Great Scarab Scam Book Trailer

Happy February! And Happy Book Trailer Day! Well, I don’t know if it’s officially “Book Trailer Day” for anyone other than me, but I’m delighted to present the new trailer for The Great Scarab Scam, my Egyptian mystery for young readers. I hope you’ll enjoy it and will want to share it with your friends and family.

At the same time, though, I must tell you that I had some questions about releasing the trailer. With Egypt currently undergoing political unrest and facing an uncertain future, I was torn—was this a good time to talk about a children’s mystery set in the Land of the Pharaohs? With perfect irony, the day the trailer was ready to upload was the day the protests began. For all of last week I dithered—should I release the trailer, store it away until Egypt stabilized, or maybe never show it at all? I asked some good friends for their advice and over and over I kept getting the same answer: Life is never stable—share your trailer! Kids still want to read mysteries and they want to read about Egypt. Go for it! 

I don’t think there was ever a time in my life I wasn’t fascinated by ancient Egypt: the tombs, the treasures, the mythology, and of course the enigmatic lives of both the royal and more ordinary families. Traveling in Egypt to research my book seemed like a dream to me. When I actually visited the pyramids it was difficult for me to believe that I was there—right there—as in, really there. I was also very sick, and something I remember most vividly is the friendliness and concern of the Egyptian people during my ordeals. Thinking of the young driver who insisted on buying me an ice-cold Coke when I knew he couldn’t really afford it, or the women who suddenly appeared and encircled me, spreading out their skirts to make a tent and rubbing my back when I was sick on the street, still brings tears to my eyes. The widespread poverty I saw was terrible, especially for the children, and I tried to portray some of that in my book. 

So I do understand why Egypt is in crisis, and it is my sincere hope that the country will find a way to improve the lives of all its citizens. And that’s why I think it’s important for me to talk about The Great Scarab Scam, especially now. If I can bring some of the culture, history, and excitement of being in a foreign land to young readers, then I will have done my job as a writer for children. 

Tip of the Day: What ancient era and culture has always called to you? For your next freewriting session, go on an archaeological dig through your childhood interests. With any luck there’s gold in them ‘thar hills—gold you can turn into a short story or nonfiction piece, if not a full-length book, for young readers.

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