Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blog Tour: The Photo Traveler by Arthur J Gonzalez

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.

Get it here:


And here I am, right in front of them. My real mother and father. They gape at me and move apart from their posed position as I stand before them in their living room. I have to admit, I’m pretty stunned myself. I have no idea what to say, which works because what I’m feeling right now cannot be translated into words. 

I look at my mother first. I really do have her eyes. She looks like such a sweet person. I wish so much that I could have grown up with her. Long, dark, wavy hair, soft olive skin, and a small button nose. And my dad—a younger version of Bud, but an older version of me. I actually look like someone—someone who exudes honesty. Nothing like Jet. It hits me hard at this moment when I realize that I have a family. 

“Uh... I’m Gavin.”

They don’t say a word. They just run over to me and wrap me in probably the biggest hug I’ve ever experienced. No, I take it back, it is the biggest hug I’ve ever experienced. It feels so good. So real.

My mom buries her face in my neck. She smells like roses mixed with hints of tangerine. “Oh, sweetie!” she exclaims. “You’re beautiful! Beautiful...” She holds me away from her and looks me in the eyes with a big smile. “You have my eyes. I hoped you would!” She places her hand on her belly and hugs me again.

My dad comes from behind and messes up my hair. My whole body tingles. I want this every day. I want for this moment to never end. 

“I wish I could’ve done this before,” I finally say. “I can’t believe I just found this out.”

They exchange puzzled glances.

“You just learned how to travel?” he asks. 

“Yeah! Bud and Estelle taught me yesterday. It’s the coolest thing ever!” 

My mom grabs his hand and they look at each other. Her mood has changed. “That means we didn’t teach you... so... something must have happened to us. We die... don’t we?” 

My heart’s slamming in my chest. I just screwed this up! “No! I mean... uh…” I go silent.

“It’s okay,” my dad says. “You don’t have to explain.” 

“What gave it away?” I ask, defeated.

“We decided we’d teach you about photo traveling when you got to sixth grade,” he says. “But you’re a lot older than that now, and you don’t know, so...” He lifts his hand to his neck and makes a throat-cutting gesture. Then he smiles and shrugs, trying to make light of it, but I don’t buy it. It’s too forced.

How could I have let that slip? This is terrible.

Mom asks wistfully, “But we do at least get to see you grow up... don’t we?” 

“Yeah.” I answer softly, and smile at her. “Yeah, you do.”

But the corner of my right eye starts twitching, and I turn my head to keep them from seeing it. I want nothing more than to tell them the truth. Maybe I can warn them right now about the fire. “But I can tell you how? I can save you guys! We can stop—”

My dad shakes his head. He takes me by the shoulders and brings his face close to mine. “No, no, no! Gavin, it’s crucial that you never try to alter the past. My folks must’ve already told you that. Telling people what’s going to happen in the future… well, you can pretty well bet that they’re going to try to avoid it if it’s not what they want to hear.”

I nod, but I still don’t think it’s fair. I know it’s against the rules, but this is different. These are my parents!

I’m about to change the subject but he beats me to it, and I’m glad he does. “You know,” he grins, “you look just like me when I was your age. Same wavy brown hair. Strong jaw. Small ears. It’s unbelievable! I bet you’re quite the ladies’ man.” 

I smile back at him, but I’m still caught up in thoughts about protecting them. 

“How are mom and dad?” he asks. “When you go back, tell them I love them. Please.”

“And take care of them,” my mom chimes in. “They’re the most special people you’ll ever meet.”

“I will.” I glance at my mom’s belly. “Do I kick a lot?” 

“You’d think I’m giving birth to a soccer player!” she laughs. “Want to touch?” 

She grabs my hand and places it over her belly. The feeling is surreal. Not only am I meeting my parents for pretty much the first time, but I’m feeling myself move inside her stomach. This is bizarre.

We laugh and joke and bond effortlessly. It’s as if we’ve met so many times before. Like I’ve actually spent my entire life with them after all. Like no time has passed at all. Everything about it is natural. Nothing like those conversations that feel forced. But suddenly sadness strikes me like a car crash. Nothing adds up. Why was all of this taken from me? 

“I think I’m going to head back now,” I tell them.

My dad, Liam, eyes me so intently that I feel he’s reading my thoughts. “You okay?”

“Yeah. It’s just a lot to handle all at once.”

“Okay. Just promise me you’ll leave things as they are. We’re not gods. And always remember how much we love you. Nothing can change that.” He hugs me. “We’ll see you again soon.”

“I’ll come back. But... I’m confused. Will you guys remember me?”

“If you travel back to this exact moment,” my mom explains, “we’ll relive the experience as if it never happened. It’ll be like seeing you for the first time all over again. But if you ask Bud and Estelle to give you a photo of us after this very moment, we’ll remember this one then, because this moment would have occurred and you would have already traveled to us.” 

Before I leave, I scan the living room. I don’t remember anything about it. I wish I could so badly. The vanilla scent of the burning candle on the oak coffee table. The navy leather couch, the ivory walls, the brownish-beige tufted carpet. None of it seems familiar. Then I spot my dad’s red Kodak Brownie Starflash camera on the white laminate kitchen counter. Its like the same one I mentioned to Yogi.

I walk over to it and pick it up. “Were these popular?” 

“The gray and black ones were,” my dad says. “Not so much the red ones.” 

“Don’t get me started on that camera!” my mom says,“He put us on a wild hunt to find that thing!” 

I laugh and set it down again. “I guess I get it from you, huh?”

He looks confused. “Get what?”

“When you want something. You don’t stop till you find it. I guess I get it from you.” 

He smiles. “I hoped so.” 

We hug as tightly as we can for a long, long time. I don’t want to let go. I’ve dreamed of seeing them again so many times. I just never thought it would be possible. I don’t want to leave, but I need to go back and find out more. How could photo traveling be dangerous? I want to ask them, but I don’t want to ruin the first time I see them. I’m sure it’s why they haven’t brought it up themselves.

After one final hug, I reluctantly chant my words.

About the author:  
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. 

Check her out:


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for participating in my Book Tour. :)