Justin Swanton lives in Durban, South Africa. He has written a short book of comic poetry for children and a book of school plays. Centurion’s Daughter is his first novel. It has a website at http://sites.google.com/site/centurionsdaughter/a-world-in-transition.
Thank you for joining us today, Justin Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I am a graphic designer in a printing company and have done a quite a bit of layout and illustrating of school workbooks. I’ve always preferred writing though.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
I’ve always had it I suppose. However the idea of writing something for publication came about ten years ago.
Why did you decide to write stories for children?
Doing workbooks naturally led to writing for children, which resulted in Grimes, a book of comic verse, and Child’s Play, a book of short plays for children. Centurion’s Daughter is aimed at older readers, teens and up.
Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?
Not really. The point is just to remember one’s own outlook on things when one was young, and write for that. I am against ‘writing down’ to children: speak to a child about a subject that interests him as you would speak to an adult, and you will get through.
What is your favorite part of writing for young people?
The knowledge that one is writing for a fresh mind that is not jaded or prejudiced.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
A young girl, Aemilia, goes looking for her Roman father, an ex-Centurion, whom she has never met, after the death of her Frankish mother. She is caught up in his schemes to restore the greatness of Rome and finds her loyalties split between the Romans and Franks in their ensuing war. Ultimately she finds out what God’s will is for her, and it is something she never expected.
What inspired you to write it?
I was always interested by the Roman Empire, but the idea for this particular story came from a dream I had years ago, which eventually became part of the last chapter of the book. Tarunculus, Aemilia’s father, is wandering through the town telling odd passers by that they are the one to restore Rome to her former greatness. Everyone thinks he is half-mad but indulges him. The story gradually developed around that.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
What is up next for you?
I am currently working on a sequel called ‘Crescentius the Great’, most of which takes place about ten years after the events of Centurion’s Daughter.
Do you have anything else to add?
I would love comments and even reviews from those who have time for it. Feel free to contact me on my website or at justinswanton(at)gmail(dot)com.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Justin. We wish you much success.