Friday, November 8, 2013

Forward to Camelot by Susan Sloate and Kevin Finn ~ Interview ~ Excerpt ~ Giveaway

Forward to Camelot
by Susan Sloate and Kevin Finn

Susan and Kevin will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and their Super Book Blast Tour.   So Please be sure to Leave a comment below, along with your email address so you may be contacted if you are the lucky winner. To increase your chances of winning stop by the other stops on the tour. The other locations may be found here...

Crystal: Today as part of the Goddess Fish Virtual Book tour, I have the opportunity to interview Susan Sloate. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?

Susan: Sure! I’ve published 21 books, fiction and nonfiction, since 1989, which includes 17 young-adult books (biography, history, girls’ series fiction, a book on baseball, and one on pre-teen fashion). This year has been particularly amazing, since from July 2nd to September 30th, I had three mainstream novels published—all different genres, characters and stories. I’ve never heard of another author doing that, and I’m really proud of it!

STEALING FIRE was the first novel (which was featured here in September), about unlikely soul mates in 1980’s New York and L.A. REALIZING YOU (with Ron Doades) is an entirely new genre – the self-help NOVEL – and as I’ve never created a genre before, that was quite a challenge! It’s getting wonderful reviews and we’re delighted about that.

FORWARD TO CAMELOT: 50th Anniversary Edition is the newly revised version of the novel we originally published in 2003. In its original edition it became a #6 Amazon bestseller, took honors in 3 literary competitions and was optioned by a Hollywood company for film production.

BTW, I’m also a screenwriter, playwright and sportswriter, and have written a lot of feature magazine pieces for various publications. I enjoy working in different disciplines.

Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?

Susan: I have a lot of favorite scenes in CAMELOT, which is one of my favorite projects of all time. It’s got a lot of action, a lot of history, a good mystery and even a little romance. One of my favorite scenes, though, is a short scene after President Kennedy’s plane touches down in Washington. He’s been through hell, has almost been killed several times and finally is returning safely. The First Lady has returned to Washington ahead of him, and she’s been terrified for his safety ever since. When Air Force One lands, she breaks through the cordon of Secret Service and runs to her husband, who is by now so weak he can hardly stand up. He comes down the final steps of the ramp and literally falls into her arms on the tarmac. Every time I re-read it, I choke up.

Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for Forward to Camelot?

Susan: On some level, I think the idea had been germinating inside me all my life. Kennedy was the first president I knew, and his death affected me very deeply as a little girl, though I didn’t realize it for many years afterward. I’d read about it and been interested in it as an adult, and when Oliver Stone’s JFK came out and I saw it, it brought back all those feelings I’d pushed away for years. I began thinking about how I myself could have saved him, if I’d been able to time travel. And from there it was just a short jump to creating a character who was like me but not exactly me, who really did it.

Crystal: What are you currently working on?

SusanI’m finishing a novel I started a few years ago (my novels take a long time to germinate, alas). It’s tentatively titled THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL and is about a candidate and his relationship with his female campaign manager, which is an unusual subject but something I experienced myself when I ran two political campaigns in the course of 18 months. Also, there’ll be a sequel to CAMELOT, which should be finished pretty soon as well. We get to see Cady in a whole new adventure and how she handles the consequences of her time travel, some of which did not turn out to be entirely good.

Crystal:  Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing? 

SusanI try to get an early jump on the day, beginning to write as soon as my eyes start to focus. If I delay getting started, it’s harder to get into the work. And when I’m doing Nanowrimo (as I am this month), it helps to push away all other potential distractions. I do the minimum that I have to, in order to keep up with my life and obligations, so I can do what I really want to do, which is write.

Crystal:  Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?

SusanCAMELOT required more research than any book I’ve ever tried. Kevin (my co-author) and I dug deeper for this than anything, and I think the novel shows that. It’s full of detail we could only provide by having a solid factual basis, including the culture of the early 1960’s, facts about JFK and his family and Administration, facts about Lee Oswald and his mysterious life. It was overwhelming. 

We uncovered a lot of great stuff which is unknown to most of the public, and which I’m sure readers will think we made up. (We made up a lot less than you might think.) But one fact I ran across while reading about Lee Oswald was that he was a terrific dancer. I thought that was fabulous, and we used it in CAMELOT. It’s not something anyone would think about him, which is why I thought it was so important.

Crystal:  Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?

SusanI have a lot of favorites – Dick Francis (best mystery writer ever), Max Allan Collins (fantastic historical mysteries), Daphne du Maurier (brilliant at evoking mood and place), Ayn Rand (life changing), W. Somerset Maugham (OF HUMAN BONDAGE is practically a writer’s tutorial). I’ve recently started reading Robin Maxwell, and she’s excellent, as is Nancy Bilyeau. Their ability to distill historical information into exciting fiction is unparalleled.

Crystal: Is there any genre you haven't written that you would like to try?

SusanI’ve written most of the genres that interest me, though I’m always up for something new. What I haven’t done yet, though, and would like to do at some point, is create an entire world around my characters, as J.K. Rowling did. I’m not sure it would be fantasy, but I’d love to create details so fresh and linked to the world of my story that you couldn’t imagine the story without those details. I think I’d probably do that in a girls’ book series—I have several in mind, and I could write those and build in places and people who only belong there. Definitely something on my mind for the future!

Thanks for hosting us today, Crystal – it’s so good to be back!

Crystal: I'm so honored I was able to host this tour as well. It sounds like another great book that I would love to read. So Thank you Susan. 


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 …


It was a famous photograph, one I’d seen many times. In the center of the photograph was a tall, burly man, with thinning hair slicked back, a large face, big flappy ears, right hand raised piously, facing a small brisk woman with dark hair and glasses. On the man’s right, crowded next to him, seeming crushed by his vitality, was another small dark woman, her face blank with conflicting emotions.
But the man, for all his bulk and heartiness, was not the magnetic force in the photograph. The woman on his left was. Younger than anyone else, with dark glossy hair, in a bulky light suit, her profile regal even in her anguish, blood spattering her clothes, she stood watching sightlessly. Her beauty and grief drew all eyes. Her pain was almost visible on the photo itself.
“This is the swearing in of Lyndon Johnson as president on Air Force One in Dallas, on November 22, 1963. His wife is on his right. Jacqueline Kennedy stands on his left. Sarah Hughes is the judge administering the oath. John F. Kennedy had been assassinated only a couple of hours before.”
“I know the photograph, George.”
“Good for you. Look here.” He pointed carefully at the almost invisible edges of the book under Johnson’s massive hand. “Johnson, of course, needed to be sworn on a Bible.  Here it is, being held by Mrs. Hughes.”
“You want the Bible Johnson took the oath on?”
“I do. That Bible belonged to President Kennedy.”
I looked up in surprise. “It was Kennedy’s Bible? I didn’t know that.”
“It was the only Bible on Air Force One. Kennedy supposedly traveled everywhere with it. When they were scrambling to find a Bible—Johnson insisted on taking the oath before he left Dallas—they remembered Kennedy’s Bible and used that.”
“Well, can’t you buy the Bible from the Kennedy family? Even though I can’t imagine they’d give it up.”
“Well, now, that’s a problem. The Bible disappeared right after this picture was taken.”
I hated to admit it, but that intrigued me. It was getting harder to remember that I’d just lost my job a few hours before. “How could it disappear?”
“Well, the story goes that Sarah Hughes actually had it in her hands when she left Air Force One in Dallas. You have to understand—that day, the whole country was in a state of shock, and people did crazy things without realizing it, half the time. Coming down the ramp, Mrs. Hughes met a man dressed in a suit and tie and sunglasses, a man she believed to be a Secret Service agent. He asked her for the Bible. I don’t think she even realized she still had it in her hand. She gave it to him immediately; she thought he would return it to the Kennedy family.”
He paused. I was riveted. “At least, that’s what she said. But the Bible disappeared that day and was never seen again.” George paused again and gave me a devilish grin. “JFK’s own Bible, used to swear in Lyndon Johnson on Air Force One... what do you think an item like that would be worth?”
I shook my head. I couldn’t imagine.
“Nobody can,” he said softly. “Do you understand now? As a piece of history, part of one of the twentieth-century’s most pivotal events… that Bible would be beyond price. And I intend to have it.”

“You want me to find the Bible?”

“Not exactly. I know where it was on November 22, 1963. Sarah Hughes had it at Love Field.”

“Well, a fat lot of good that’s going to do!” I exclaimed. “Unless you’re somehow going to travel back in time and pick it up—”

“I’m not,” George said reasonably. “You are.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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.

For updates and more information about Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary Edition, please visit


  1. I just loved this book. It is full of fast paced action and surprising twists. This time travel book is believable because it is an interesting mix of fact and fiction. To bad things didn't work out this way 50s years ago. I can highly recommend reading FORWARD TO CAMELOT>

    1. Mary Lou, thanks for the ringing endorsement - it's great when a reader loves the book! And Crystal, thank YOU for hosting us today, and for the great interview questions!

    2. Oh Mary this book does sound good. Thanks for sharing while you stopped by today. And Susan it is my honor to have you hear again today :) I'm stocking your tour dates can you tell? All your books just sound really great :)

    3. That's great, Crystal! Because I have a THIRD book out this fall, and it's touring with Goddess Fish starting in January! (I'm not kidding.) It's called REALIZING YOU, and if you like you can sign up for it right now! (And just to confuse you even more, it's a completely different genre than each of my previous books!) But I'd love to come back here again - it's a great place!

  2. Thanks for sharing the great interview and excerpt. Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for sharing the giveaway. evamillien at gmail dot com

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Eva!

    2. Thanks for stopping by Eva, I'm so glad you enjoyed them. I did as well :)

  3. thanks to you for hosting us, Crystal. Eva & Mary Lou, glad you both like the idea for the novel. Would love to hear your comments once you've read.

  4. Hey susan! Sorry I missed you guys :/ Had a rough Friday and could only now play catch up! Great interview :D

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  5. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com