When an alien invasion threatens the existence of all the knowledge in the universe, eighteen-year-old Johanna Charette and seventeen-year-old Jackson Roth must rely on their wits, guts, and pluck to save the fantasy-come-to-life world of the Library of Illumination. It wouldn t be so bad if Johanna and Jackson weren t the ones responsible for breaching the portals to a dozen distant worlds. Now, outside forces are causing shock waves in the space-time continuum, and if that isn t awful enough, someone from another dimension is trying to steal a book of powerful spells created by a very famous wizard. At first, traveling to other realms in a time machine seems like a fun perk. However, discovering some inhabitants want to obliterate the teens doesn’t leave them with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Instead, they find themselves forced to sacrifice their own welfare and the safety of their loved ones for the greater good.
Second Chronicles of Illumination is available for purchase at
Why Johanna Charette Isn’t As Much Fun as Jackson Roth
I’m so glad to be here today guest blogging for Bent Over Book Words because I want to straighten out why my female protagonist Johanna Charette isn’t as much fun as her partner Jackson Roth.
Every great couple survives because each individual brings complementary strengths to the relationship. In the Second Chronicles of Illumination, as in all the Library of Illumination adventures, Johanna plays the straight “man” to Jackson’s joking. Readers are always telling me how ‘great’ Jackson is, and how ‘mature’ Johanna is, adding that she doesn’t even seem like a teenager. It’s because Johanna is a serious book nerd who found solace from her miserable childhood at an orphanage, inside the pages of books. The rules at Peakie’s Foundling Home were stringent, and Johanna rarely got to play games or have fun. The home also frowned on individuality, so Johanna had to learn how to fit in. She did it by emulating the adults around her. And she learned to play it safe, not daring to do anything unconventional until the very end of her residency there.
Jackson’s childhood was nearly as miserable, but he had his brother Chris and his sister Ava to play around with, and a loving, if financially stressed, mother who encouraged his sense of humor. Sometimes there was barely enough money to put food on the table, but the Roth boys survived by out-joking each other to take their minds off what they didn’t have. Their younger sister was their greatest fan. Even their mother couldn’t help but smile at some of their antics. Jackson, being the oldest, was expected to be the “man” of the house. He learned how to face adversity and quickly diffuse problems. It forced him to become daring—and he took risks that many other people would turn their backs on.
So while both Johanna and Jackson both grew up poor, they had very different life experiences. Johanna is very insular. Her upbringing forced her to develop an acerbic wit and dry sense of humor, often meant only to amuse herself. Jackson is much more likely to joke around in an open, carefree way that will elicit laughs, and acceptance, from onlookers. People respond to him.
Consider them two sides to the same coin. And like every famous duo, you’re going to prefer one partner to the other. You know if they were playing “good cop, bad cop” Johanna would be the bad cop because it’s the role she’d be most comfortable playing. Jackson is the more likeable of the two so, of course, he would play the good cop. There’s a line in Second Chronicles of Illumination when a flight attendant calls him “Sir.” His reply? “I’m not a ‘sir.’ I’m Jackson.” He’s real. He’s humble. And he’s cute.
But don’t think Johanna plays second fiddle to Jackson. She’s intelligent, methodical, and passionate about what she does. She’s the “prime” curator—a tower to be climbed; an ocean to be crossed; a force to be reckoned with; and appearing to be unattainable gives her a certain amount of allure.
Maybe the only person who likes Johanna better than anyone else—is Jackson. He’s absolutely under her spell. She was his mentor. She scolded him when he made mistakes, but never shut him out. He learned from her and learned to depend on her. And in turn, she learned to depend on him. They provide each other’s support system. They’re a team. And they bring out the best in each other. And that’s what makes them a great couple, even if you think Jackson deserves better!
Thank you Bent Over Book Words for having me as a guest blogger. The Second Chronicles of Illumination came out on June 30th and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Yu can learn more at www.libraryofillumination.com. It’s time for me to get back to writing my next book, aptly titled, Third Chronicles of Illumination.
C. A. Pack is the author of the Library of Illumination series of YA fantasy novelettes, along with Chronicles: The Library of Illumination (2014), and The Second Chronicles of Illumination (coming in 2015).
Pack also writes for a general audience. Her first novel, Code Name: Evangeline—is an historical spy thriller which takes place in the 1930’s. The author followed it up with Evangeline’s Ghost—a fantasy about the death of that same spy. She recently completed work on Evangeline’s Ghost: Houdini, and is currently working on Evangeline’s Ghost: The Bridge.
Pack is an award winning journalist from New York who worked as an anchor/reporter and educator (she considers herself the fairy-godmother of telvision news reporters)—and has written for WNBC, LI News Tonight and News 12 Long Island. She also worked on PBS documentaries, radio and television commercials and created and produced a pilot for a news show focusing solely on marriage and wedding trends.
She’s a past president of the Press Club of Long Island and a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. Pack has been a speaker or panelist for organizations such as Women in Communications, Fair Media Council, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
The author lives with her husband and two picky parrots “on” Long Island, New York.
For More Information
Visit C.A.’s website.