Author: C.A. Pack
Publisher: Antiqua Press
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
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
My last book Chronicles: The Library of Illumination was named to Kirkus Reviews” Best Book of 2014 and I cried when I was notified about that. Knowing someone other than my family and friends appreciated my efforts meant a lot to me.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
My father encouraged reading and had me signed up for book clubs before I could read. Those books were for children, but up in our attic were piles of my father’s books. I remember trying to read the Iliad and the Odyssey when I was still young, but I wasn’t able to appreciate them. From the third grade on, my father drove me to the library every other week, so I could return the books I had and sign out new ones. I’ve always been a voracious reader and I have him to thank for it.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing my first story when I was seven for no reason other than I wanted to spin a tale. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I’ve always been a dreamer, so it’s easy for me to come up with stories and turn my thoughts into words. I didn’t choose to be a writer; it happened because I love books, I love to read, and I love imaginative stories.
What inspires you to write and why?
I’m inspired by almost everything. I’ll hear a snippet of conversation or see something a little out of the ordinary happen, and I’ll weave it into whatever I’m writing. I once watched as a friend on mine stalked a fly with two paper plates. He wanted to kill the fly, but didn’t want to get his hands dirty. It was very funny to watch and I eventually wrote it into a play I was working on called Women with Large Satchels. Inspiration is all around us.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I started out writing historical thrillers, then historical fantasy, and now young adult fantasy. YA fantasy is the most fun. I get my characters to say and do things that more experienced (uptight) people would never attempt, and being able to do that allows me to fully exercise my imagination.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first novel-length book stated as a joke. A friend and I would each write a couple of lines and email it back and forth. He quit by page five, but I enjoyed it so much I continued doing it by myself. I did it until I had a full-length novel. It was awful. I know, because one of my friends said, “I give you credit just for finishing the book. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I rewrote that book a dozen times, and while it improved each time, I was unable to get an agent to represent me. So I self-published it on Kindle. That was in 2009 and I haven’t stopped publishing my work since.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
I love writers’ conferences and writers groups for getting feedback from other writers and publishing professionals. There’s a conference held in New York City every summer call Thrillerfest and this summer I’ll be attending my ninth conference with them. It starts out with something called Craftfest, which is a series of seminars and workshops that teach the art of writing. It’s geared toward thrillers, but the techniques work for every type of writer, and I’ve learned a lot from attending. I also like writers’ groups. Here on Long Island we have the Long Island Writer’s Guild, and I’ve learned a lot from their critiques of my work, especially when I was writing the first Library of Illumination books.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
The most challenging thing about writing a novel is finding time when you won’t be interrupted. Nothing is as frustrating as losing your train of thought when someone disturbs you. I refuse to answer the phone, and I turn down the volume on my computer so I won’t hear the ping of new email, but my cell phone will vibrate every time there’s a text, or my husband will knock on the door with a question, so there’s no such thing as pure solitude. And that’s what challenges me most as a writer.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Developing Myrddin’s Memoir, which is contained within Second Chronicles of Illumination required a lot of research into the legend of Kind Arthur and the origins of Merlin the Magician. I also did a lot of research into remote British islands looking for the perfect place to stage it, and learned a lot about the wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary on Skokholm Island in Wales. Then I created a kind of diagram with bits of factual information and fictional ideas that I could draw from while writing. So I can say writing this particular book taught me a lot about Arthurian legend and Celtic history.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Writing has always been my career. My first career was writing news. My current career is writing fiction. I prefer fiction. It’s way more fun.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
My greatest strength lies in my imagination and the way I can visualize scenes. I actually see them playing out in my head, like a mini-movie and I react to them, whether it’s with tears, excitement or anxiety. I live every emotion with my characters, and try to make their reactions as “real” as possible.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
My favorite personal quality is my imagination.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
I hate being shy—really, really shy. Some people think I’m aloof. I’m not aloof. I’m afraid. Engage me in a conversation and I’ll be your BFF.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger” —Friedrich Nietzsche