Friday, January 17, 2014

All About Middle Grade Interview: Justin Swapp (Author of The Magic Shop)

Welcome back to the second week of the second year of All About Middle Grade's Interview series. This week, I would like to welcome Justin Swapp, author of The Magic Shop, to the blog to discuss his book. Hope y'all will give him a warm welcome.

About the Author:
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 one 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

You can haunt Justin Swapp at-
Goodreads | Website | Twitter |


1. In Seven words, tell readers why the should be reading about Marcus' adventure in The Magic Shop?

** How about I give you a couple seven word snippets (ha!)?

#1 Someone read it in a single day

#2 It made a colleague late for work

2. What is the most difficult thing that Marcus will face down as he tried to develop his powers?

** The Crypt Keeper, or the keeper of the dead for the magical world. She will challenge Marcus to see himself as he truly is. Sometimes that is the hardest thing for any of us to do - stare in the mirror and understand what we're looking at.

3. Since there are many different magic types in fiction books, could you tell us what kind of magic power is used in your book, The Magic Shop

** There is magic that is lust at its core, and magic that is love. That may sound strange, but the two factions of magic users  really come down to that. There is a faction called the Dun-Bhar, which believe that magic should be taken and assimilated at all costs until there is one left standing with all the magic, and another faction, the Shar-Din, who believe that magic should be gained by more natural means. 

Magic is represented as colorful wisps with tendril movement. The colors indicate the kind of magic it is, and some of the things it can do. The magic can only be contained in a material called Uribrim, which can be shaped into various forms; a sword, for example.

4. Alright, time for one of the most dreaded questions. Who are two of your favorite author influences and what is about their writing that you enjoy?

** That's not too tough I guess. I would say, Anthony Horowitz and Stephen King. Both writers are both very clean and purposeful in the delivery of their prose. Also, there is an element of palpability to their writing. There's a little bit of darkness/creepiness there too. These are qualities that either I aspire to, or perhaps come out in my writing.

5. Last book you read that stayed on your mind long after you finished the last page? What about it left such a lasting impression on you?

** Now that's a tough one. Probably Raven's Gate (Book 1) by Anthony Horowitz. Again, there is just such a presence to his writing. You can feel it. I like authors that make me feel at the sentence level.

6. Justin, I hear that you're bilingual, so, what other language(s) do you speak?

** I speak Spanish. I served a mission for my church when I was younger, and lived in Spain for a few years (I was actually born there too). While I was there I learned that the hospital I was born in had been converted to a library. Fitting, huh? :)

7. Most interesting place you have lived? Somewhere you've never been that you'd like to take an extended visit to? Why?

** Spain is probably the most interesting place I've lived, though I've lived in or visited many places outside the USA. There is so much history in Spain. Castles and bullfighting arenas dot the map, as well as many other kinds of Moorish architecture. In Granada, Spain, they have the Alhambra, an old Moorish castle with the most intricate wood working I've ever seen. They also have wicked stories too. I've gotten great story ideas from some of the places I've been.

For example, I wrote a novella (that you can get on Amazon) called Mayan Blood. It was based on some experiences my wife and I had when we went to Cancun to visit the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá. I captured some of their traditions and myths in a fun little adventure. 

I probably would have liked to have gone to Jerusalem before the state of the nation had become what it has. I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights (Alaska) or visit the glowworm caves (New Zealand). 

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

** If we need a hero to stay alive in order to save us, I'd have to go with Gandalf. He just won't die. Balrog couldn't kill him, and, while Sauron gave him a good go, he came out on top again. Since we're talking about robots, we've got to get Gandalf something faster than a horse though. If he's going to ride off at at the most critical moments of a story to go do research on something, we need to make sure he comes back faster so he can be useful in a fight. So, yeah, Gandalf with a flying motorbike or something. Oh, wait, that's Hagrid. 

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

** My study is my favorite room in the house. Its the only room in the house with dark wood (like I like), and the ambiance is peaceful. I've got my guitars in there for when I need soothing (usually late at night). Also, I have a comfortable writing chair that I try to stay awake in while I am writing. 

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?  

** I've got a couple of projects that I'm working on right now. One is a compilation of my short stories that I'll call "Twisted Tales," or something like that. It will have a bit of a creepy angle to the themes. I'm also working on the sequel to "The Magic Shop," which I am tentatively planning on calling "The Shadow Lands."

Justin, thank so much for stopping by. Raven's Gate, now that is a book I wouldn't mind revisiting one day when I get the chance. I am supremely jealous of all the places you've been and the history of the places you mentioned. 

 The Magic Shop by Justin Swapp, July 4, 2013. 

Marcus is a troubled youth. When his grandparents decide it would be good for him to tend the family business, a Magic Shop, Marcus is thrown into a world that he 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 survive? Will he find his parents? First he must discover the secret his grandparents have been keeping from him all these years. It all comes down to what's hidden at the Magic Shop.
You can add Justin Swapp's The Magic Shop to your Goodreads shelf.

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