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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interview and Giveaway: Justin Swapp, author of The Magic Shop

I'm thrilled to have Justin Swapp stopping by today to chat about his fantastical middle-grade book, The Magic Shop! Check out our Interview below and enter the Giveaway to win a copy...

The Magic Shop
by Justin Swapp

When Marcus's grandparents decide it would be good for him and his twin sister, Ellie, to tend the family business, a Magic Shop, the children are thrown into a world that they never knew existed. Not only is the family business a front, but Marcus learns that he has been marked as a dead man from the time he was born.  
Marcus tries to develop his powers before the Dun-Bahr find him and assimilate the magic he was born with. Will he and his sister survive? Will they find their parents? First they must discover the secret his grandparents have been keeping from them all these years. It all comes down to what's hidden at the Magic Shop.

What three words best describe The Magic Shop?

Unexpected, adventurous, Page-turner.

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give The Magic Shop a try?

When Marcus and Ellie sell a magical item that they shouldn’t have from their grandparent’s Magic Shop, they find themselves thrown into a strange world full of sketchy characters with unclear intentions, and embark on a journey to reclaim the object that was to have ultimately restored their family.

(How’s that for a crazy run on sentence?)

Grab a copy of The Magic Shop and answer the following:
favorite chapter? Chapter 26: The Brimlets. Epic family fight in the blood circle.

favorite page? 160. I wrote it half asleep, and when I woke up, I really liked it.

hardest page or chapter to write? Chapter 1: Issues. Getting the beginning just right is always a challenge.

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser: "He glared at Mr. Diddley's yellow-toothed smile, and thought how he’d like to shove a toothbrush in his mouth and teach him how to use it."

What inspired The Magic Shop? How did the story come to be?

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.

Who is your favorite character in The Magic Shop? What do you love about him/her?

Elba, the Crypt Keeper (Keeper of the Dead –You know, that kind of thing).  She’s hard to read, and you never quite know what side she’s on. This makes her complicated, and interesting.

Can you tell us a bit about the actual magic shop in The Magic Shop? What makes this place unique?

Well, they live in The Magic Shop, for starters, and there are so many secrets right under their nose. Also, it’s a humble little family shop juxtaposed against a glitz and glam Magic Shop down the street.

If you could possess one magical power or enchantment/spell, what would it be and how would you use it?

Um, “World Peace?” Kidding.

I guess I would live forever, and do lots of great things. Flying would be cool too, though, wouldn’t it?

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an author?

I think it’s the over-thought, or subliminal thinking that is happening when you are writing (or not writing). You can be totally stuck on the conscious level, but in the subconscious, the brain is still plugging along. It’s amazing when you just write, and then suddenly realize how everything connects in such a special way.

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at _ foosball__.
I’m really embarrassed to admit that __ I fell off a stage once__.
The last great book I read was _ Larry Correia’s, Monster Hunter International__.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Magic Shop, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

It would look like Phoenix droppings. I’d call it Uribrim, and it would taste like licorice. (This will make sense if you read the book!!)

Thanks so much for stopping by, Justin!

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
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.

Win 1 of 3 ebook copies of 
The Magic Shop!
Justin has generously offered three e-copies for three winners.
-open to those who can read ebooks
-ends 4/26
-must be 13+, one free entry per person
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
Fill out the Rafflecopter form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Maria Medeiros said...

I usually not a fan of ebooks. i like the book in my hands but this sounds so so interesting im willing to give it a read! :D Thank you.

anne s. said...

would love to win a copy for our son and daughter to read on the kindle. thanks for the chance!

swappster said...

Now there's a signed print giveaway for The Magic Shop :)