CHRONICLES: THE LIBRARY OF ILLUMINATION
by C. A. Pack
Within the walls of a centuries-old building lies the magical Library of Illumination, a place where books literally come to life. What makes this library even more unusual are the two teenagers chosen to oversee its operation. 17-year-old Johanna Charette and 16-year-old Jackson Roth must use their wits to deal with the sometimes humorous, sometimes dangerous situations that arise when enchanted books spring to life. As the teens learn about the library, themselves, and each other, their fates become intertwined and they grow close. Their newfound way of life is upended, however, when they stumble upon a scheme by someone in a distant realm to take control of all knowledge in the universe, and Johanna and Jackson are forced to put their lives on the line—battling an ancient foe.
“What’s this? Jackson asked, picking up a book that sat by itself on a bottom shelf. A thick layer of dust obscured the cover. “Did you leave this book down here?"
He opened the book to a random page to see what it was about. Dracula suddenly loomed over him, blood dripping from his mouth. “Uhhh ...!” Jackson’s scream did not get past his throat.
Dracula moved in for the kill. The teen managed to slam the book shut just as the vampire’s teeth made contact with his skin.
“What are you doing?” Johanna poked her head around the corner of the shelf and spotted the blood on Jackson’s neck. She looked down and recognized the volume of Dracula by Bram Stoker and winced. “We must have missed that one. Are you all right?"
Jackson swiped at his neck.
“Come with me.” Johanna led him to the circulation desk. She took out a first-aid kit and cleaned away the blood with an antiseptic wipe.
“Am I ...?"
“It’s just a surface wound.” She wrapped the bloody wipe in a tissue and threw it in the wastebasket. “You’re going to live ... but not forever."
Jackson sighed with relief. “You know, when my mother used to patch me up, she would kiss it to make it better.” He raised his eyebrows and grinned at her.
“If you got hurt working for Larry at Once A-Pawn A Time, would you ask him to kiss it to make it better?"
“You really know how to hurt me."
Johanna laughed. She leaned in and lightly kissed Jackson’s neck.
He could feel the hairs along his nape tingle.
“All better?” she asked.
He merely nodded, too stunned to answer.
AN INTERVIEW WITH C. A. -What inspired you to become a writer?
I have a vivid imagination and have loved writing since I first learned how. I have a pad from the third grade with the beginning of my “first novel” in it. Unfortunately, fourth grade got in the way and I never finished it.
-What draws you to ya fantasy?
I’ve always been an avid reader, however the books that hold a special place in my heart—are the ones I read as a teenager. I love the idea of creating “fantastic” worlds where anything can happen. There are so many possibilities: I can literally take any genre and re-imagine it without being limited by the physical laws of nature as we know them. And I enjoy writing YA because I believe teens are connoisseurs of magical and paranormal themes.
-What’s a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book?
Johanna has to be a skilled artisan when it comes repairing historic books in the world’s oldest library, so I learned a lot about bookbinding and illuminated manuscripts while writing the Library of Illumination series. I don’t really get into it in detail when writing, but I take snippets of what I learned and have Johanna teach Jackson because he’s her curator-in-training.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Neither Johanna nor Jackson are old enough to drink in the U.S., so I’d probably go out for drinks with Mal. He’s 800 years old when he hands over control of the Library of Illumination to Johanna, and considering all the literature being created during his tenure as curator of the library, he couldn’t be boring if he tried. He’s met every great character in literature, so I’m sure he’d be a wellspring of gossip about characters and their authors. Plus, he time travels. We meet him when he’s 800 but doesn’t look a day over 80. And then we see him again when he’s 140 but doesn’t look a day over 25 (and if you want to know how he manages that, you’ll have to wait until the next novelette in the series, The Overseer, is released).
-For aspiring writers, any tips?
These are my top three tips for aspiring writers. 1. Write your first draft—beginning to end—without stopping to edit what you’ve written. You can get bogged down tweaking your manuscript, and if you spend too much time doing that, you may lose your inspiration before you get close to writing The End. 2. Read your manuscript out loud. You’ll be surprised at how different it may sound. Sentences have a rhythm that you can only hear when they’re said aloud. And it will help you weed out odd word combinations and overly complex sentences. 3. If you decide to publish your own work, have it professionally edited. It would be edited if you were taken on by a professional publisher. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be edited if you are your own publisher. Your readers deserve the best you have to offer.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I doubt I’d be successful as a romance writer. I enjoy Heather Graham and Catherine Coulter’s romance novels, but when I wanted to put a sexy scene in one of my earlier novels, even Romance Writing for Dummies couldn’t help me. I can write the occasional romantic scene, but an entire book—I think not.
ABOUT C. A.
C. A. PACK, author of Code Name: Evangeline, Evangeline’s Ghost, and the Library of Illumination novelettes, is an award-winning journalist and former television news anchor/writer from Long Island, New York.
Says C. A….
From April 22 until May 6, I’m raffling a $25. Amazon gift card; a $10. Barnes & Noble gift card; and a triquetra necklace. All you need to do is go to carolpack.com and scroll halfway down the home page to log onto the raffle site.
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