• maocunningham

Magical Inspiration & One Crazy Coincidence!

Updated: Jul 17


Who could have ever guessed that a typical family trip to downtown Chelsea, Michigan to buy a pair of PF Flyer shoes would turn into a lifetime inspired by magic? Certainly not nine-year-old Jeff Boyer’s parents or his four siblings. But that shoe box happened to contain an s-shaped center of gravity trick. Jeff was hooked on magic for life.


“Growing up, I felt like I needed to do something to make my parents and siblings notice me. That simple magic trick seemed to work,” said Jeff, laughing. “I immediately asked for one of those store-bought magic kits for Christmas that were filled with coins and crazy spikes, even a drawer box with a secret compartment.”


After mastering the simplest skills, Jeff graduated to silk tricks, the square circle and bell/cup tricks. He fooled around with setting his magic to music. One of the main things he learned is that “the real magic happens before the trick is revealed to the audience,” said Jeff. “You have to create an environment where the audience becomes emotionally attached to what’s happening on stage. That’s a real trick. It’s the unexpected. You weave stories in, and jokes, and I really gear my shows toward kids participating.”


That leads us to the crazy story of how Jeff and I came to know each other. Several years ago, my husband and I took our daughter to a magic show at a summer festival. I was really impressed with the show and the magician pulled Leah onto the stage to participate. The magician had his son in the show, acting as his assistant. That really ignited my imagination.


I couldn’t help but envision what it might be like to:

a. Have a dad who’s a magician,


b. Grow up helping in the magic business, and


c. Get into middle school, a time when the smallest things (my mom’s head scarf, for instance) can be unreasonably mortifying.


To be that tough age and have to perform, possibly in front of your peers…my brain was buzzing. Abracadabra, I had a novel outlined in about a week flat. The rest of the process took a bit longer – lol!


Last year, I attended a writing workshop where I pitched the novel to four literary agents and, excitingly, all four asked to review it when it’s finished. The first draft is now nearly complete.


As part of my book research, I wanted to reach out to the magic community to see if I could connect with someone to consult on the book. I happened to spot a card for a local magician. It was Jeff and he graciously invited me to see his show.


Meeting with Jeff afterward, I shared the story about the inspiration for the novel, not thinking there was any way it could have been him. Low and behold, it was! I even found photographic proof and a video below. Jeff and his son performed at YpsiFest for a number of years AND he’s agreed to consult on my novel, Middle School is No Place for Magic!


I’ve learned so much from Jeff already. In fact, he confirmed my intuition that a teen would be reluctant to perform in front of his peers. Jeff experienced those feelings, himself. I’ll post about that story and tons more on his fascinating, 35-year career next month.


Hope you come back to check it out!



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