Time-Travel / Thriller
Date Published: October 31, 2013
WHERE WERE YOU THE DAY KENNEDY WAS SAVED?
On the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination comes a new edition of the extraordinary time-travel thriller first published in 2003, now extensively revised and re-edited, and with a new Afterword from the authors.
On November 22, 1963, just hours after President Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President aboard Air Force One using JFK’s own Bible. Immediately afterward, the Bible disappeared. It has never been recovered. Today, its value would be beyond price.
In the year 2000, actress Cady Cuyler is recruited to return to 1963 for this Bible—while also discovering why her father disappeared in the same city, on the same tragic day. Finding frightening links between them will lead Cady to a far more perilous mission: to somehow prevent the President’s murder, with one unlikely ally: an ex-Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald.
Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary Edition brings together an unlikely trio: a gallant president, the young patriot who risks his own life to save him, and the woman who knows their future, who is desperate to save them both.
History CAN be altered …
Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
We’d like the reader to come away with the idea that when you’re faced with an overwhelming challenge, whoever you are or however little you think you can do, you can always do something to effect a positive outcome—and sometimes what you can do can be momentous.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing for me has always been about looking at a situation I don’t like and through my stories, being able to fix it and make it come out the way I want it to. In the case of FORWARD TO CAMELOT, which is about the JFK assassination, that meant we didn’t just have to get the real history of the event correct (which isn’t easy—it’s one of the most controversial moments in American history). After we’d done all the research (and it took years) and felt pretty confident about what we knew of the event, in order to fix it, we then had to move forward on a completely new timeline. We had to give our characters, these very famous historical figures, a whole new set of circumstances to deal with, that didn’t actually happen, and let them behave as they might have if it had really happened this way. And we were also dealing with a lot of characters with their own agendas, multiple events happening at the same time—it was HARD making it all work. While this isn’t true of all my writing, by any means, just getting the story right in FORWARD TO CAMELOT was a huge challenge for us—the biggest I’ve ever faced in my career.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
Since 1989 I’ve published twenty books, fiction and nonfiction, traditional and indie. Seventeen were young-adult books—five biographies, girls’ series fiction, a history of Alcatraz (that was fun!), a book about baseball, one on pre-teen fashion, one on the history of Thanksgiving. Lots of different topics; I really enjoyed doing them. One of them, RAY CHARLES: FIND ANOTHER WAY!, for Bearport Publishing, won the silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards. I’m very proud of that.
Last fall I published 3 novels in 3 different genres within 90 days—which has to be a record somewhere! Two of those three novels are my favorite work: FORWARD TO CAMELOT and STEALING FIRE, a love story based on something that happened to me many years ago. STEALING FIRE became a #2 Amazon bestseller in its category and is a finalist in the Readers’ Favorite Book Award competition.
I love STEALING FIRE because it reminds me of a vivid time in my life, and CAMELOT because it required so much of Kevin and me to complete it and make it work. It’s the first time I can look back at something I did and feel absolutely satisfied with it.
If you had the chance to cast your main character from
today, who would you pick and why? Hollywood
I know Kevin has his choices, but since you’re asking me… The actress I’d most like to get is Kate Winslet, for so many reasons. She’s a wonderful actress, she’s got a lot of dimension, and I would believe her as Cady, our actress-turned-time-traveler. I think she’d be amazing.
When did you begin writing?
Practically as soon as I could hold a pencil. My mother had read to me for years, and she read my favorite stories over and over again. Then as I got older, I got story ideas of my own (mostly children’s fantasies), so I got little 3x5 spiral-bound notebooks and wrote my stories in those. Eventually I began typing them (on an old Smith-Corona MANUAL typewriter!) I got my first computer in 1988. My kids roar with laughter when I tell them that first desktop cost $1,800 for the CPU (a big box), the keyboard, monitor and inkjet printer, with 20MB of hard drive space, and at top speed, it ran at 10 MGhz.
But it was a blessing, clunky as it was, because I wrote my first books under contract on that computer. If I’d had to write them on a typewriter, it would have taken three times as long! I’ve used a computer ever since, though I still like to hand-write my notes.
How long did it take to complete your first book?
My first book was the final title in a girls’ fiction series called BLUE RIBBON, about teenage girls training to compete in the Olympic equestrian events. It was my first book under contract (October 1988), and the editor told me I had to have it finished in a month. I did, panting all the way down the wire, then did the rewrites in two weeks. Scary. But it was published, and I wrote a total of seven books for that company (which partnered with major publishers). So I have books from companies like Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster and Bantam and Ballantine.
Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
Every author whose work I’ve loved has inspired me. Among the most inspiring are Ayn Rand, Margaret Mitchell, Noel Streatfeild (best children’s books ever), Betty Smith (who wrote A TREE GROWS IN
BROOKLYN), Donald J. Sobol
(Encyclopedia Brown series), Anne Emory, Rosamund du Jardin and too many more
to count. All of the above are writers whose work I continue to read even
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
My two very favorite parts are getting the initial idea—that always makes you feel like you can fly, you have ideas bouncing around like pinballs—and typing the two most beautiful words in the English language: THE END.
And those moments in between when you suddenly know just what to write and how to say it. They don’t happen often, but they keep you going when you get discouraged.
Describe your latest book in 4 words.
FORWARD TO CAMELOT is: thrilling, historical, poignant and inspiring.
Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
I tend to bounce from genre to genre, writing what interests me—not very disciplined but true nonetheless. There’s a sequel to FORWARD TO CAMELOT in the works, which I’m excited about. But first, I’m working on a story about 1950’s New York and the show-business world of that time. It’s based on stories my mother told me about her attempts to break into the business at that time. I always thought they would make a wonderful book, and I’m finally getting to it now.
Thanks so much for hosting us today—we’re excited to be here and look forward to hearing from your readers!
SUSAN SLOATE is the author of 20 previous books, including the recent bestsellerStealing Fire and Realizing You (with Ron Doades), for which she invented a new genre: the self-help novel. The original 2003 edition of Forward to Camelot became a #6 Amazon bestseller, took honors in three literary competitions and was optioned by a Hollywood company for film production.
Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including the children’s biography Ray Charles: Find Another Way!, which won the silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Awards. Mysteries Unwrapped: The Secrets of Alcatraz led to her 2009 appearance on the TV series MysteryQuest on The History Channel. Amelia Earhart: Challenging the Skies is a perennial young-adult Amazon bestseller. She has also been a sportswriter and a screenwriter, managed two recent political campaigns and founded an author’s festival in her hometown of Mount Pleasant, SC.
For updates and more information about Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary Edition, please visit http://susansloate.com.
After beginning his career as a television news and sports writer-producer, KEVIN FINN moved on to screenwriting and has authored more than a dozen screenplays. He is a freelance script analyst and has worked for the prestigious American Film Institute Writer’s Workshop Program. He now produces promotional trailers, independent film projects including the 2012 documentary SETTING THE STAGE: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, and local content for Princeton Community Television.
His next novel, Banners Over Brooklyn, will be released in 2015.