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 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 …
The man in the doorway was yawning, and his bright chestnut hair, flecked with threads of gray, was tousled. He wore half glasses down on his nose and held a thick typewritten report in one hand. His navy silk tie was pulled down, his white shirt was rumpled. His eyes, though bloodshot, focused on us politely.
I was face to face with President John F. Kennedy.
He looked at us, puzzled, and glanced around the empty hallway.
I knew if I didn’t speak that I’d never have another chance, but I couldn’t think of a thing to say. The President looked at us, raised an eyebrow.
Quick, Cady, say something. “Mr. President, my name is Cady Cuyler.” Beside me, I felt Lee start at the words. “I’ve come a long way to speak to you. Please, it’s very urgent.”
He was still puzzled. “Where’s my Secret Service detail?”
I took a deep breath. In for a penny, in for a pound. “They’re out drinking at a nightclub called The Cellar, here in Fort Worth. They left some Fort Worth firemen to guard you. They’ll be pretty hung over in the morning.”
Kennedy looked down at me. His eyes were a bit brighter, though it was now close to 2:00 a.m. He looked over at Lee, who gave him a tense smile, and stood almost at military attention. He looked back at me and asked quietly, “And how do you know this?”
It was time. His hand was on the doorknob. Almost imperceptibly, he was inching it shut.
I took a deep breath. “I’ll tell you, but you’re not going to believe me.” I waited; he waited too. But he was listening; I still had a chance.
“I’m from the future. I don’t live in Dallas in 1963. I live in New York in the year 2000. I’m here to warn you, sir, and save you if I can. If you don’t listen to me now… you’re going to die in less than 12 hours.”
Oswald had turned to me in alarm. Kennedy’s gray eyes never left my face while I spoke. When I stopped, hoping, praying I had reached him, he glanced down for a moment, then down the hall. All was quiet, the annoying yellow lights still burning overhead. Like casinos in Vegas, it was impossible to know from the artificial light in the hotel whether it was noon or midnight.
“You’re right,” the President said in that distinctive accent. “I don’t believe you.” He started to close the door in my face.
Before he could, I was talking again, as quickly and persuasively as I could. “Why would I make up a story like that? It makes no sense. Unless it was true!”
His gaze was even and noncommittal, but at least he’d stopped closing the door. “Can you prove it?”
About the author:
SUSAN SLOATE is the author of 20 previous books, including the recent bestseller Stealing 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 outside Charleston, SC.
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 2014.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been fascinated all my life by the Kennedy assassination; it happened when I was very young and it affected me more than I realized. Then when I saw Oliver Stone’s movie JFK in 1992, I began thinking about it seriously – ‘what if I could go back in time, knowing what I know, and somehow stop the killing of the president?’ I think that’s how it started—musing on what I could do. Eventually I realized there was a story here, but it was so complex and had so many layers that I just couldn’t handle it alone. Luckily I knew Kevin Finn, knew what a terrific writer he was and especially how great he was with story problems. And really luckily, he was fascinated by Kennedy too. So it was a great match!
What characters do you connect with most?
Certainly with our heroine, Cady Cuyler (rhymes with Tyler). Cady is a highly glamorized version of me – me as I’d like to be – so it’s easy to identify with her. And after all the research Kevin and I did, I connected very deeply with both Kennedy and Oswald. I felt as though I knew them, as though they were friends. When the book was finished, I really did feel a certain grief that they were receding from me.
What's your favorite book-turned movie?
Oh, boy, there are so many!
I loved GONE WITH THE WIND as a novel before I saw the movie and was disappointed in the movie when I first saw it, because the book had so much more in it. But I’ve seen the movie many times since that first time and realize it really is one of the great movies ever.
ATLAS SHRUGGED is one of my favorite novels, and the movie has just begun to come out. The first two parts (of three) have been released, and the third is in the process now. Can’t wait!
I also thought the HARRY POTTER books were amazing movies; they didn’t miss a single important episode and they were wonderfully done.
If you could be best friends with one of your characters, who would it be?
Can you tell us about any other books you're writing?
Actually I have three novels out at the same time, right now! STEALING FIRE is a mainstream love story set in 1980’s New York that was published in August and has already gone to #2 in its category on Amazon. CAMELOT came out this month.
REALIZING YOU (co-authored with Ron Doades) is a self-help NOVEL; we actually pioneered a new genre to teach important life principles through fiction, with fully-realized characters and situations. That came out in late September—so in the last 90 days, I’ve actually published 3 books in 3 different genres! I don’t know if that’s ever been done before.
What do you do in your spare time?
Read, of course! I’m always reading something, and quite often it has nothing to do with the book I’m currently writing. I just love to read and learn new things. I spend time with my younger son (my oldest just left for college, which has been quite an experience). I’m working on getting fit again, exercising, walking, running and dancing. And I serve on my town’s Culture, Arts & Pride Commission, and we’re always doing projects to boost cultural awareness and town pride. It’s a lot of fun.
Who's your inspiration?
Many people have inspired me throughout my life. If I had to pick a writer, it would probably be Dick Francis, who flew for the RAF during World War II, had an amazing career as a champion jockey (he rode for the Queen Mother for years), and when he hung up his racing boots started yet another career—mystery writer—which turned out to be his biggest success, writing more than 40 books which are simply outstanding. Someone giving so much to others just by the way he lives his life, to me, is the most outstanding example, and it’s really inspiring.
If you were stranded on a desert island which character do you want by your side?
Cady, our heroine in FORWARD TO CAMELOT! She’s so resourceful and courageous that I know she’d figure out how to get back to the mainland!
Team Edward or Jacob?
No clue what this means. Seriously.
Team Peeta or Gale?
Or this either.
What are you reading now?
An interesting autobiography titled ME AND LEE. It’s about a woman who in her late teens was a gifted science student interested in curing cancer. In the course of her scientific research, she ended up working with some extremely important doctors also doing cancer research—and at the same time, she met and fell in love with Lee Harvey Oswald, just a few months before the JFK assassination. (I’m still fascinated by the assassination and still read all kinds of books about it.) Oswald was connected to these doctors, and what they were really working on was a project to create an aggressive cancer they could inject into Fidel Castro to kill him and free Cuba.
What fascinates me most about this is a writing phenomenon I am at a loss to explain, but I’ve seen it demonstrated time and time again. Ten years ago, when Kevin and I first published FORWARD TO CAMELOT, this woman’s book had not been written, though I heard rumors, as we were finishing the book, about her. I didn’t read this book till just now—yet everything we theorized about the assassination ten years ago is, according to her book, absolutely true, right down to the person who supposedly planned it.
I can’t really explain this. Writing something and then having it happen, or finding out it’s real, is something that several writers I know have had happen to them, and it’s happened to me before, too. So this book has meant a lot to me, because it confirms for me that even ten years ago, we were on the right track.
Thanks for letting me visit today. I’ve really enjoyed being here!
**Susan and Kevin will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and their Super Book Blast Tour