IF YOU COULD TIME TRAVEL THROUGH PHOTOS AND IMAGES, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
THE PHOTO TRAVELER SYNOPSIS:
Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father.
Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his “family.”
Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.
When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it.
He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!
His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials. Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love.
For Gavin Hillstone, life will never be the same.
Arthur J. Gonzalez Interview Questions
1. Describe THE PHOTO TRAVELER in 3 words.
Adventurous, Intriguing, Unpredictable
2. What inspired you to write THE PHOTO TRAVELER?
One of the most important people in my life was facing a difficult time when their grandmother passed away. It affected him in such a deep way that it consequently affected me. I remember him crying, staring at an old black and white photo of his grandmother in Havana, Cuba. He held it, staring at it like she was talking back to him. He said, “I’d give anything to travel into this picture right now and hug her.” I jumped off the couch, my mind spinning in every direction. “What if you could?” And from that moment…The Photo Traveler was born. It was perfect. It was as if she and my father plotted in the Heavens to gift me this story.
3. What is different about THE PHOTO TRAVELER?
Okay…so let me be honest- we all know time travel has been done over and over again. But I wanted an idea that everyone would hear and think, “Oh my God. I wish I could do that!” or “Hm…that sounds awesome.” And what better way than to time travel back and relive memories?
We live in a particular age where we document and photograph nearly everything we do. It’s a huge piece of this younger generation’s culture. I wanted to make sure whatever I did was relatable. There are no time travel machines, but there are millions of photos that anyone can pick up and travel to.
4. Are any of your characters based on yourself or someone you know?
Some are. The character Yogi is loosely based on one of my best friends. And besides the more intense, dramatic storylines to Gavin, I see a lot of me in him.
5. Have you always been interested in becoming a writer?
I’ve always loved writing. I began with writing poetry and music, but I progressed to imagining these stories I had to share. In some form or another, I have always wanted to be a writer.
6. What book are you currently reading? Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I just wrapped up the Beautiful Creatures series and I enjoyed it tremendously. As far as what why preference is- At first I was adamant on only reading physical copies of books, but I succumbed to my Kindle and we have never parted since. I love her very much.
7. What do you think is more important: characters or plot?
There needs to be a balance of both in order to produce a success (like a marriage). Characters help propel the story forward, while the plot promotes and helps develop who the characters are. I don’t think you can have a truly epic story with both.
8. Do you have any advice for young writers?
First and foremost, there needs to be a relentless belief in yourself. Even if you are insecure or scared, you must believe that there is no other way for you. You cannot accept anything less than what you have dreamed of.
Second, you need to be completely committed to your book and story. Take your time. Know your characters better than you know your very self.
Also, connecting with your readers. Understanding what they want and how your stories can inspire them and generate emotional attachments.
And lastly, do your research. Know what's available. Think outside the box for promoting your book. Never expect that success will be given to you. Work for it. Achieve it. Earn it.
9. What’s next for you?
Hopefully somewhere in a Best Seller's category! ;) But in the mean time I'll be writing the sequel to THE PHOTO TRAVELER, called THE PEACE HUNTER. It will be absolutely amazing. I'm also working on three other novels. I feel a little crazy. But I love it. All I have to say is: lots of coffee...lots and lots of coffee.