The Book Gazette is happy to host an excerpt today for the book tour for YA contemporary “The Age of Amy: Channel ’63”.
The small room was eerily quiet, like I had walked into a sound-proof booth. I was in a cozy living room, surrounded by early 1960s furniture. The soft light of a hanging swag lamp lit up a sunburst clock on a wall, covered in retro-pattern wallpaper. A plaid couch sat in the middle of the room, and in front of it was a vintage, black and white TV.
I sidestepped the coffee table and sat down on the couch. As the TV came on, the screen displayed an old-style TV test pattern, with the words Please Stand By.
I adjusted the couch pillows to get comfortable, and waited to see what would happen next.
The flickering pattern faded to black, and an instant later, up popped a black and white image. A camera in 1963 revealed the inside of a security office, probably in a commercial building. The back wall was covered in white, acoustical tiles. A row of video monitors showed images from surveillance cameras around the premises: an empty parking lot, deserted hallways, an idle, factory assembly line. The only thing moving was the second hand on a large wall clock.
In the center of the frame sat an empty office chair.
A minute or two rolled by.
“Hello?” I said faintly.
The sunburst clock in the cottage had read 12:20 when I first came in. Now it read 12:45—the same hour showing on the wall clock in 1963. Staring at that static image had exhausted my patience.
I got up and started to leave, when I noticed a shadow move across the back wall of the security office. I rushed back to the TV.
“Is there someone there?” I shouted.
The shadow entered the frame again.
“Hey!” I said. “Over here!”
The shadow halted. It was the silhouette of a man. His head turned left and right, as if he had heard a voice—my voice.
“I’m right here!” I cried. “Sit down in the chair so I can see you.”
But the shadow just scratched his head, shrugged his shoulders, then walked out of frame.
I waited for the dark phantom to reappear, but after another ten minutes, I realized that was all I was going to get.
Wow! Did I just have a close encounter with someone in 1963? The very idea had my head spinning. I couldn’t just leave it at that. Maybe if I came back the same time tomorrow, I thought, the mystery man would return as well. It was worth a shot, and with a little luck, I might just experience a real face-to-face encounter.
About The Book
Author: Bruce Edwards
Genre: Young Adult
What if you could tune your TV to the year 1963, and watch—live? A new theme park attraction allows visitors to not only observe, but talk with the people of that turbulent decade. For 16-year-old Amy, it’s the perfect escape from her own time, and the hardships of teenage life in the 21st century.
Things get complicated when Amy falls for a teenage boy in the 60s. Trying to build a relationship across time proves maddening, especially when computers bleep any language that might impact the future. Happily, Amy acquires a “magic clicker” which defeats this annoying restriction. But gaining the ability to speak freely comes with a heavy responsibility: Amy now has the power to alter history!
She struggles to be mindful of her speech, but finds the temptation to reverse the mistakes of the past irresistible. It is November, 1963 on the other side of the TV screen, and President Kennedy is about to be assassinated. Knowing the details of that tragic event, Amy hatches a dangerous plot to save the 35th president, unaware of the deadly consequences facing her long-ago friend, who must carry it out.
Award-winning author Bruce Edwards is a former Hollywood film animator, and brings the whimsy of a character artist to his stories. A music major in college, he is also an accomplished musician and composer. His other creative endeavors include a stint as a puppeteer and performing magic at Disneyland. Bruce’s thought-provoking books for young adults are never short on fun, fantasy, and imagination.