By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — Roger Wilber of the Ravena Coeymans Historical Society may be known locally for his historical research and restoration know-how, but he has now turned his sights to a new endeavor — fiction writing.
Wilber and his wife, Cyndy Wilber, have released the “Jack & Jackson” series of novels about a young wizard and his uncle, an herbalist and a wizard himself.
“I started it about 10 years ago, but it’s only been within the last year or so that my wife, who is my editor, has put it together,” Roger Wilber said. “We now have it on Kindle — it’s called ‘Jack & Jackson.’
“Jack is a 13-year-old boy and Jackson is his uncle. The story is about this young boy who learns that magic can be good, but it can also cause problems.”
Four novels are available on Kindle, with a fifth in the works.
The series follows the adventures of Jack and his uncle, and the lessons Jack learns through magic. It all starts when Jack is sent to live with Jackson during an eventful summer.
“Jack’s father is abusive and being 13 years old, Jack is just starting to learn what is going on, so his mother is afraid that there is going to be confrontation during the summer, so she sends Jack to live with his uncle, Jackson. When he gets there, he finds out that his uncle is a wizard. He is an herbalist and he raises all different herbs and sends them all over the world, but he is also a wizard.”
The first book in the series is called “Jack & Jackson: The One-Minute Spell,” which gets Jack off to his start in the world of magic and wizardry.
“Back in the 1700s, there was a family member who had this special spell called the One-Minute Spell, where he can go back one minute in time or freeze time for one minute,” Wilber said. “He didn’t find any of his children acceptable to receive that spell, so he put it in a book and put the book aside until there was someone who was worthy to receive the spell. Jack opens the book and the spell becomes his.”
Books two through four are titled “Jack & Jackson: Friends and Foes, Enemies and Allies,” “Jack & Jackson: Dragon Wars” and “Jack & Jackson: The Ministry… The Library… The Magic School.”
The character of Jack evolved from a short story and took on a life of its own.
“I have always liked to write and I wrote little stories,” Wilber said. “This started as a little story and Jack just kind of grew out of that little story. It really became an enjoyable journey because the more I wrote, the more I learned about Jack.”
Unlike many fictional characters that are “too perfect,” Jack is more reflective of reality, complete with both good characteristics and shortcomings.
“Jack is an interesting young man because unlike a lot of the young people that you read about in stories, he is very human — he can be smart as anything, but in the next moment he can be dense, and his best friend has to constantly get him out of trouble,” Wilber said. “But he’s got a great heart and he really cares about his family and about what is going on. Sometimes his enthusiasm gets him into trouble, but I found that he was a delightful character and he continued to grow.”
There are currently four novels in the “Jack & Jackson” series, but Wilber is hard at work on the fifth and final installment.
The series can be found on Amazon, both a Kindle edition and a paperback. The series is also available at the RCS Community Library.