Hello Everyone! Today I’m happy to share this interview with Justin Swapp, author of The Magic Shop first book of The Shadow Magic series.
First, About book:
Marcus Fith doesn’t believe in magic. And why should he? Marcus and his twin sister, Ellie, live in the loft above their grandparents magic shop, and he’s all too familiar with the hand buzzers, card tricks, and fake vomit kits. So, imagine his shock when he stumbles upon his grandfather hiding something in a secret room in the magic shop — the one that all the rumors are about. Join Marcus and Ellie as they unravel a laundry list of family secrets, and are thrown into a world they never knew existed. Not only is the family business is a front, but Marcus has to develop his powers before the Dun-Bahr find him and assimilate the magic he was born to protect. Will they survive? Will they find their parents? First Marcus and Ellie must discover the secret their grandparents have been keeping from them all these years. It all comes down to what’s hidden at the Magic Shop.
You can read my review on this book here- The Magic Shop (The Shadow Magic Series #1) by Justin Swapp
Justin was born with an active imagination on a U.S. naval base in Spain, but has spent most of his life in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains of Utah. He is bilingual, and has lived all over the world. He has four children; two boys, and two girls, and an enduring wife. He doesn’t have any pets that he’s aware of, but his children have been known to hide things under his bed.
In his free time Justin loves to read, write, and play games. He enjoys his close friends, and loves to make people laugh. To learn more about Justin, or his work, you can visit him at www.justinswapp.com
Justin is the author of The Magic Shop. He has also been published in several anthologies, including The Crimson Pact (Volumes 1, 2, and 5), The Memory Eater, and Short Sips: Coffee House Flash Fiction Collection 2.
Q. When and why did you begin writing?
I had always enjoyed writing, but as an adult, I don’t think it was until I started reading my children the Harry Potter series that the desire to write an actual book surfaced in me. The timing was crazy because I had just started an MBA program. Nuts, right?
Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I was working on another (unreleased) book, and got stuck. Someone in my writer’s group was in the same situation, and she had decided to leave her work in progress behind, and to start on a new book. She encouraged me to do the same, but I was reluctant.
One night, I was watching an episode of Fringe (a good Sci-Fi show), and I was thinking about twisting a sci-fi theme and turning it fantasy. There was a great scene about a pawnshop, and a universal soldier entering and asking the shopkeeper for “the back room.” For whatever reason, that stuck with me. So, I wrote a scene about a young boy that had to miss out on an afternoon of Basketball (my favorite sport) because he had to watch his grandparent’s shop. As he was sulking, a stranger comes in, and asks for “the back room.” They have a strange interaction, and Marcus discovers that there is a shop within the shop, filled with real magical items. Although he did it with good intentions, Marcus sells something that he wasn’t supposed to and thus commences a crazy adventure to set things right in a world he never knew existed.
Q. What sort of research did you do to write this book?
Not a lot, really. Just research on writing, not on the story itself. I pulled it out of my head.
Q. What have you written? (Books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
I’ve written, and had published, several short stories, as well as The Magic Shop (novel), and the sequel, The Shadow’s Servant, which I’m revising now.
Q. Where can readers buy or see them? (Include relevant link(s))
I just made The Magic Shop exclusive to Amazon for the next 90 days (so, you can get the ebook, the audiobook, or the print versions there,) and my short stories you should be able to get just about anywhere.
Q. What genre are your books? What draws you to that particular genre?
My genres are a little all over the place. Mostly Fantasy and SciFi, with a dark bent to the stories.
Q. Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
The Magic Shop is my current favorite novel. Hopefully, once I launch The Shadow’s Servant, that will be.
My best short story series is The Codex. That’s my favorite writing.
Q. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?
J.K. Rowling. My favorite author, however, is Anthony Horowitz.
Q. What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?
I’m a moody reader, so it depends on my mood. I like Fantasy and Scifi, and something engaging.
Q. What was your favorite chapter (or part) of writing this book and why?
The ending was my favorite part of the book. My favorite moment, however, was when the magic bag made the gold disappear. I actually wrote that when I was half asleep, and when I woke up and read it, I liked it so much that I decided to keep it. 🙂
Q. What was the hardest part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?
The hardest part of the book was the ending. Creativity has always come fairly easy to me, but when I set out to write the book, unlike a lot of writers, I didn’t know where it was going. So, how to wrap it up, when to do it, and how to pull it off were what I initially struggled with.
Ironically, it was the ending that I changed. I had given an ARC of the book to a librarian friend of mine, and when she read the original ending, she said had the book been a print copy, she would have thrown it across the room. In the original ending, Ellie made a choice that my friend didn’t feel was in line with her personality, and as I thought about it, I agreed. So, I changed the ending to what it is today.
Q. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
I don’t think I set out with a message or a theme in mind. Ultimately, I wanted people to get lost in a fun story, and to come out the other end wanting more.
Q. If you could spend one day with character from your book/ any other book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
If it was a character from The Magic Shop, I’d pick Elba. I found her to be so mysterious, and interesting that I could think of a lot of ways to spend time with her. Mostly, I’d want her to show me the underworld that she’s responsible for. (You get a glimpse of that in the book.)
If I were to pick a character from another book, it might be Dumbledore, or Yoda. Dumbledore and I might go horcrux hunting, and Yoda would ride on my back and teach me to do somersaults and float rocks.
Q. Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I read every single book review. That’s probably not a good practice—this is a fairly debated practice amongst authors—but I read them because I want to understand my readers, and what they want…what works for them.
Q. What are your future project(s)? What’s it about? (*if relevant)
I’m currently revising the sequel to The Magic Shop, entitled, The Shadow’s Servant. I’m really pleased with the story, but I’m making some structural story changes. Once I’m done with that, it’s off to the editing and alpha reader stages.
For my next project, I think I might write something in first person, and with vampires.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
First, to believe in yourself. When I first started, my wife signed me up for an opportunity locally to have James Dashner read a few pages of my, at the time, current work in progress. He was very encouraging, and I leaned on that during the first phase of my novel writing. As I look back, that helped me believe in myself, and it was more important than I probably realized.
Second, trust yourself. Your style, and your genre, and your theme, and your characters might not be for everyone. However, if you feel the burning desire to write a particular thing, there’s a reason for it. You might not know what it is, but it matters. Part of your journey as a writer might be to uncover what that meaning is to you. I’ll never forget the first time a kid came up to me and thanked me for writing The Magic Shop. It wasn’t until then that I realized that I did something positive to him—so much that he would thank me. I don’t know what I did, I just trusted that I had a story to tell, and I told it. That was a moment for me.
Q. What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I’ve always loved the following quote:
“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Q. Currently reading
Oh, man. I read a ton of things simultaneously, a little at a time. I’m currently chipping away at:
1) A Shade of Vampire
2) The ARC of The Exiled Prince
3) The Five Kingdoms
4) Eye of the Minds
5) and of course, The Shadow’s Servant
6) …plus more.
Q. Favorite foods / Colors/ Music/ TV show/ Film
I love Chinese food. That probably manifested itself a bit in The Magic Shop.
My favorite color is green, but that doesn’t mean I buy just a bunch of green stuff. I just like the color.
As far as music goes, I’ve really come to like Metal that doesn’t go overboard. I don’t like screaming and yelling, just the great instrumentality of it all. Within Temptation is currently a go-to move for me.
TV shows…Supernatural, although I’m a season or two behind. I generally like anything Fantasy or SciFi related as long as it isn’t too edgy.
Movie? Something Harry Potter, or Star Wars, probably. Lord of the Rings would be on that list, for sure.
Q. Describe yourself in 5 words.
Serious, funny, focused, scatterbrained, well-meaning.
Q. Whom you will recommend your book?
Folks who love a good, magical adventures, littered with shady characters, and who won’t mind a main character that is a little rash, and overly inquisitive with a bent for action.
Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you’ve read my work—Thank you! I hope you enjoyed it.
If we’ve just met, and you haven’t tried anything of mine, please do. J I hope we can become friends.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Thanks for your kind words, and the fun interview! I hope to be done with The Shadow’s Servant by the middle of September, and—fingers crossed—you’ll enjoy book 2 of The Shadow Magic Series, too.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Many thanks to Justin Swapp for taking the time out of his busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Hope you all enjoyed reading this interview. You can comment below if you have any question for author.
Happy Reading! 🙂