The Photo Traveler
by Arthur J. Gonzalez
Publication: February 20th, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal/Time Travel
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.
My Favorite Scene to Write in The Photo Traveler
My favorite scene to pen was The Great Depression. I’ve always found myself fascinated by this era for numerous reasons. Much of Gavin’s personal views on this era were an extension of my very own.
I couldn’t imagine living during a time of such limited resources and overt hardship. The will to survive and the resiliency to which these people acted absolutely astounds me. While researching, it provided a reminder of how wonderful things are in my life. Let’s be real- sometimes we can use that reminder.
Through my research I was able to educate myself. I have always been interested in history- specifically in the wealth of stories left behind. Unfortunately, everything taught to me in high school was quickly forgotten. The way it was instructed wasn’t interesting and incidentally, it didn’t urge me to care or retain the knowledge.
I’ve always hoped that through my stories I would be able to teach something. This chapter was a discreet effort at educating my youthful readers (and older ones), by packaging the history in the adventure and story.
And although I share a special bond with each chapter I write, this specific one made me feel like I was participating in something greater. At a speaking engagement I held at a high school, a student approached me and mentioned, “You know, I wish every teacher could teach history through a fun story. The Photo Traveler was the first time I had ever listened to anything someone had to say about the Great Depression.” That moment made me feel so accomplished. It was something I had directly aspired to do; to integrate knowledge and entertainment. And here I was having a high school senior thanking me for it. I wouldn’t stop talking about it!
In addition to my personal interest in the era, this chapter also provides a lot of answers for Gavin, while undergoing a sort of self-exposing realization and development. We see a raw, paternal side to Gavin through his actions and feelings towards Martin (which may quite possibly mean something to Gavin’s not-so-remote future).
Going forward in The Peace Hunter (Book 2 in the series), I think it will be increasingly difficult to pinpoint one favorite scene. I’m about 60% of the way through with the first draft and every page has me going nuts. It was the first time I have ever cried while writing. I cannot wait for the reader’s to check out the next installment. It is jam-packed with back-to-back riveting scenes. Maybe they’ll have better luck choosing a favorite chapter.
My name is Arthur J Gonzalez. I’m 28 years old, born and raised in Miami, FL. I graduated from the University of Florida. I am currently releasing my debut novel, The Photo Traveler. The premise surrounds 17 – year old Gavin, who discovers he is part of a small group, called Photo Travelers, who can time travel through photos and images.
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