How did you come up with the title of your book?
For a long time (before Kevin even became my co-author), I worked on the novel but didn’t have a title. Then I signed with an agent to represent it, and she said to me, “Okay, what’s the title?” And the phrase “Forward to Camelot” just came to me and I repeated it to her. She said, “Okay,” and that was it. We tried other titles later, but nothing else seemed to fit as well.
What is your writing environment like?
Much more cluttered than I’d like it to be! I’m one of those people who has to make an effort to organize and file, though I usually know right where things are at any given time. But I’d rather keep a clean desk with my planner and a couple of pens next to me. Somehow it never works out that way. Right now I’m in a temporary place, with one window facing onto a parking lot, and I’m switching between a laptop and a desktop on a regular basis. A little odd, but it seems to work.
What is your favorite quote? Why?
Probably Walt Disney’s “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”. I’m a huge Disney fan and I like the idea of huge challenges—which writing FORWARD TO CAMELOT certainly was!
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
Just being born when and where I was has made a huge difference. I remember the early ‘60s vividly and the optimism and energy of the Kennedy Administration really made a lifelong difference in my own outlook. I remember the belief that we could truly do anything—which is perhaps Kennedy’s greatest legacy. So a lot of my writing tends to look at historical moments which I’d like to change and make better, and my optimism that I can make that happen (in fiction) comes from those very early years of my life when Kennedy was president.
What inspires you to write?
Well, as I said, the thought of making something better, as in FORWARD TO CAMELOT, or preserving something that’s very precious to me. That was the inspiration for STEALING FIRE, the love story I published this summer. (In the 90-day period from July to late September I published 3 new novels, in 3 different genres, with no subject or character in common. I’m very proud of that!) STEALING FIRE came out of a relationship I had when I was very young. I started writing it long ago—in fact, while I was still in the relationship—and kept writing because that relationship mattered a lot to me and I wanted to preserve it in fiction.
What do you consider the most challenging part about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Telling a good story, saying what you really want to say about it, as simply and directly as you can, and saying it in a way that really affects others, is the heart of good fiction. Every one of those steps is amazingly hard to achieve, but I find as I get older, I seem to have learned more about doing it, so when I sit down to write these days, I at least can make a good stab at putting down my thoughts accurately. That’s a big plus.
Did you learn anything while writing this book? If so, what was it?
What I learned was the lesson that our heroine, Cady Cuyler, also learns at the end of the story: that I was capable of doing this all along, which I didn’t know until I had done it. When I realized Kevin and I had not only finished the book but it had turned out the way we’d envisioned it—that was an amazing realization for me. I consider it a major turning point in my life.
What have you done to promote this book?
We’ve done a variety of things, starting with virtual book tours (this is our second for CAMELOT, though I did two months of touring STEALING FIRE as well, right before the CAMELOT tours started). We put out a press release, sent information to local and major newspapers, got several radio spots and TV shows and have been promoting as well via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and our websites. Sometimes I think the promoting is harder than the writing—but for sure, I’m better at the writing!
What are some of the best tools available today for writers?
Tools for writing? Frankly, I’m pretty old-fashioned and am perfectly content to work on my computer without any special software, though I have writer friends who swear by certain writing software programs. When I’m writing a screenplay I use Final Draft. But I don’t use any project management software at all.
If you’re talking about marketing tools—social media, of course, which didn’t exist when we first published CAMELOT in 2003. It’s become a necessary platform that every writer has to use now, but that’s good; we get the message out faster and easier than ever before.
Amazon also has tools authors should take advantage of—including Amazon Author Central, a free page for writers that includes photos, book covers with ratings and reviews, blog posts, Twitter and Facebook feeds, etc. It’s great. And using Listmania on Amazon to create lists where you can spotlight your book with others that are more popular is a great idea.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
We’re both on Facebook and Twitter (I’m @Susan_Sloate), and I’m also on LinkedIn and Pinterest. Please check in with us—we love hearing from you!
FORWARD TO CAMELOT: 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
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 …
ABOUT SUSAN SLOATE
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.
ABOUT KEVIN FINN
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.