Independent Study Blog Tour: “Character Q&A” Guest Post + Giveaway


I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for INDEPENDENT STUDY hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. THE TESTING was one of my favorite reads in 2013 and INDEPENDENT STUDY is already one of my favorites of 2014.

This series embodies the best elements of a dystopian novel – an environment that was destroyed by war, a society ruled by what appears to be a democracy but more closely resembles totalitarian leadership, a competition meant to weed out the weakest, the least clever, those who act before thinking, and those with less than desirable traits to serve as leaders.

It is an exciting and nerve-wracking series with a clever and interesting main character who has to rise to the many challenges she is faced with over and over and over again.

When I first read THE TESTING I was totally surprised by how much I loved it and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this sequel. And it was worth the wait. INDEPENDENT STUDY was every bit as awesome as the first book. It had action a-plenty. Nail-biting suspense. Even more characters who you couldn’t be certain were worthy of Cia’s trust.

And then there was that ending. Totally unexpected. Shocking. Absolutely killed me. Made me so glad I had GRADUATION DAY, the third and final book in the series on hand.

Anyway… if I keep gushing about the awesome that is INDEPENDENT STUDY you won’t be awake enough to want to read this fab Q&A conducted by Jaime of Two Chicks on Books with Raffe, a character you’ll get the chance to meet in INDEPENDENT STUDY and get to know even better in the final book in the series.

While I would have loved to ask him all sorts of questions, he had a very small window of time in which he was available for questioning. And as it was during that time last month that I was out of commission, Jaime so graciously offered to interview him.

And I’m glad she did, because I don’t know him as well as she does. He is still a bit of a mystery, his motives are questionable, his interest in Cia makes me wary of him. But I trust her to get as many answers out of him as possible in the Q&A which follows immediately below.

The book details for INDEPENDENT STUDY and places to find it online are below that, along with details for the other books in the series. If you haven’t yet read THE TESTING, you might want to skip this book’s description until you do.

If you’d like to know more about Author Joelle Charbonneau, her bio along with places to find her online follow after the bookish details.

The very awesome giveaway that is included on the tour is below that and at the very bottom of this post is the tour schedule with direct links to all the stops.

Oh and one more thing before I turn the blog over to Jaime and Raffe… I will be chiming in with my thoughts about Raffe’s answers. I just couldn’t resist the chance to do so.


Guest Post
Raffe Character Q&A

Conducted by Jaime of Two Chicks on Books

Hi Raffe! Jaime here from Two Chicks on Books! Rachel has had some real life stuff going on so I’ll be interviewing you for Fiktshun. (She will definitely have responses to you answers though!) I’m excited to introduce you to Fiktshun’s readers as you’ve become one of my favorite characters in The Testing world! Ok on to my questions…


Tell us a bit about yourself.


Well, you probably know who my dad, Rychard Jeffries, is since he’s the head of the Department of Education. Being a government official’s kid can be kind of a drag, but most of the time growing up I didn’t think it was so bad. My father really believes in the University system and pushed me and my sister to study so we could become part of the next generation of leaders. I guess I’m lucky that I like school.

Fiktshun’s response…

Being a government official’s kid can be a drag. But it also has a few perks. At least it seems that way. But I totally agree that it’s a good thing you like school. Because failure in Tosu City can have some pretty dire consequences.


What was your first impression of Cia? Do you have a crush on her? (You can tell me it’ll be our little secret *wink* *wink*)


Cia? Well, my first impression was that she isn’t like the girls I went to school with. At first I thought it was because she’s from the colonies, and maybe that’s part of it, but there’s something different about her. Maybe because she cares more about doing what’s right than what other people think about her. And I don’t have time for crushes or that kind of thing. Not with the workload I’ve gotten from my professors and this other thing I’m working on. But…maybe if I had time I’d think about her like that. Maybe…

Fiktshun’s response…

No time for crushes? Have you taken a look at Cia’s workload? She has time to crush on Tomas and yet you have no time? What is this “other thing” you’re working on? Hmmm… I was totally right to think you are a mystery.


Did you have to go through The Testing?


Tosu City students don’t have to sit for The Testing. We have to apply to the University and if our application is accepted we start early studies classes. Once those are over, we take the same early studies exams as the colony kids. Anyone who doesn’t pass gets redirected, and if you think we have it easier, we mostly do. But a larger percentage of Tosu City students get redirected. So, maybe not.

Fiktshun’s response…

Is it really a larger percentage or is it just more people because there are more Tosu City students? But if that’s true, wow. I guess going through The Testing has some advantages even if all that happened is a bit of a fuzzy memory for most of its participants.


What do you think of the United Commonwealth?


I think it’s amazing that the country has managed to come back from The Seven Stages of War and I’m glad I might get to help make things better in the future? Are things perfect? Hell no, but what is?

Fiktshun’s response…

I, too, am quite surprised by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people to be able to salvage what they can from what existed before and try to rebuild society, the country, the world, to make it a little bit more habitable.


I hear you’re quite the artist! What is your most favorite painting that you’ve done?


My sister must have told you that. Emilie likes to tell people I’m way better painting than I actually am. I guess I do okay painting abstract pictures or scenery and stuff. Emilie really liked the painting I did of the Central Government fountain. But if you want a portrait, my sister’s way better than me.

Hey – have you talked to Emilie recently? I was just curious.

Fiktshun’s response…

I don’t know about Jaime but I have not talked to Emilie. J – have you?


What do you think of Cia’s boyfriend Tomas?


I don’t really know him. I guess he’s fine. Boring. But fine.

Fiktshun’s response…

Oh, I totally agree that you’re much more interesting than Tomas. I’m curious about what you think about Will, though. He’s also someone I find interesting. Perhaps for different reasons, but interesting nonetheless.


Do you have a favorite subject at the University?


Geography. You know, looking at maps of the way the world used to be. It’s scary to see how fast things changed and kind of cool to think we might be able to make the world look like those maps again.

Fiktshun’s response…

Huh… I never really saw Geography in that light. You make it sound pretty awesome. And while I haven’t had to live in your version of the world, I’m just wondering if you could make the world on those maps look better than it had before, would you?


What does the symbol on your armband mean?


Well, the balanced scales tell people that I’m a Government Studies major. And the coiled spring…who knows. It’s the symbol the admissions team assigned to me after I was accepted. I’m sure they had a reason, but damned if I know what it is.

Fiktshun’s response…

No comment. Though I really want to.


What’s your most favorite part of Tosu City?


Don’t tell anyone, but I like the Indian Statue in the middle of the river. I think it’s pretty remarkable that it’s still standing after everything that happened. Too bad about the head, though.

Fiktshun’s response…

I can’t vouch for Jaime on this, but I promise not to tell anyone. And, yes, that is too bad about the head.


Can you give us any hints about what happens in INDEPENDENT STUDY? The readers are dying to know!


A lot of things I never expected happen. That’s for sure. I mean, I’m learning a whole lot more than just what my professors are teaching in the classroom. And what I find out at the end of Independent Study…well, let’s just say I expect things are going to get a whole lot more intense from here on out.

Fiktshun’s response…

Coming from Tosu City I’m sure there were quite a few surprises. Though I suppose most of the colony kids were equally surprised. And yeah, intense is saying it mildly. After that ending there’s no way things wouldn’t get a heck of a lot more intense.

A final word from Jaime

Thanks so much for answering my questions Raffe!

A final word from Fiktshun

Thank you both so much. This Q&A was so much fun. I loved all your questions Jaime and I loved most of your answers Raffe. Of course I’d have loved them all if you’d revealed a little bit more about your thoughts about Cia and weren’t so cryptic about what is in store for readers in the third and final full-length book in the series.

Okay… if I’m being honest here, what I’m really saying is that I would love to know how everything ends. I guess I should step away from the computer and find out for myself. See you in just a few, Raffe.


About Independent Study

Independent Study



In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization.

In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger.

But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

Series: The Testing #2
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook



Other Books in the Series

The Testing GuideTitle: THE TESTING GUIDE (The Testing #0.5)
Release Date: May 1, 2013
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 46
Formats: eBook


It’s an honor to be chosen for The Testing. But it’s not enough to pass The Testing. Cia will have to survive it.

The Testing Guide is the short story prequel to The Testing, the first novel in the stunning and epic Testing Trilogy.



The TestingTitle: THE TESTING (The Testing #1)
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook


Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.



Graduation DayTitle: GRADUATION DAY (The Testing #3)
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 304
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle?

She wants to put an end to the Testing
In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

But she can’t do it alone.
This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

Who can Cia trust?
The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

The Final Test is the Deadliest!



About Joelle Charbonneau


Ever since I can remember I loved telling stories. As I grew up, I started performing those stories on the stage. Creating vivid characters and singing wonderfully complex songs were my passion. I graduated from Millikin University with a Bachelors Degree in Vocal Performance and then continued onto DePaul University for my Masters Degree in Opera Performance. From there I went onto perform across the Chicagoland area in a variety of Operas, Operettas and Musicals. I also started teaching acting classes and private voice lessons to pass my passion along to the next generation.

Not exactly the path you’d expect a writer to take.

I’d never dreamed of writing a novel. But I loved to read. Then one day I had an idea and I started to write. I found my passion for creating characters lived on the page as well as the stage. It is my hope that the characters I’ve created resonate with you and make you smile.

I still teach voice lessons and sing for the occasional professional event. But the rest of my time is spent with my husband and son while dreaming up new and interesting stories. I hope that someday I hear yours.



The Giveaway

This tour includes an amazing tour-wide giveaway…

3 INDEPENDENT STUDY Prize Packs which include – a finished copy of INDEPENDENT STUDY, a GRADUATION DAY ARC, a bracelet, pencil and temporary tattoos. (US Only)

Giveaway ends January 11th.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour Schedule

Week One

Dec. 30th – My Guilty Obsession – Review

Dec. 31st – Magical Urban Fantasy Reads – Interview

Jan. 1st – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Guest Post

Jan. 2nd – Hannah Reads Books – Review

Jan. 3rd – K-Books – Review

Week Two

Jan. 6th – Fiktshun – Guest Post

Jan. 7th – Parajunkee’s View – Interview

Jan. 8th – Jenna Does Books – Review

Jan. 9th – The Book Cellar – Guest Post

Jan. 10th – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post

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