Thursday, September 21, 2017

Guest Post from Nick Wilford, Speculative Author

Take it away Nick...

Hi Mark! Thanks for offering to help out with my blog tour today. I’d like to share an excerpt with your readers, which shows the moment when my protagonist Wellesbury joins forces with his “partner in crime”, Ezmerelda.
Wellesbury found it hard to concentrate at school that day. It all felt more and more pointless; he knew everything and would get top marks anyway. He found himself examining every surface, looking for any sign of imperfection. There was none. What was life like in his new friend’s world? Children dropping dead left, right and centre. He couldn’t even begin to imagine what it was like, and in their first chat they had barely scratched the surface.
     At lunchtime he avoided the company of the guys – he couldn’t be bothered to deal with Hedgeson, and didn’t want the subject of Salvo’s eyewitness account of the outsider to come up again, in case he let something slip – so he went to the library. Although a flawless outcome in examinations was guaranteed, such extra study was logged and went on his school record. That was the sort of thing that would really help him land a job just that bit better than his peers.
     Wellesbury sat down at a computer terminal and accessed the infraweb. His fingers hesitated above the keys for a few moments. All computer activity was recorded and undeletable. They would know he had been looking up strange words. Whatever “they” meant – the school? The government? How would he be able to explain such activity if questioned?
     Well, it was a life-or-death situation. He had to start somewhere. He performed a search for “dizeese”. Nothing came up. Then – what were the people called that Mallinger thought could help him? “Docters.” Nothing.
     He had no clue where to begin to help his friend. At a loss, he slumped back and rubbed a hand over his face.
     “You look worried,” said a sweet-sounding voice.
     Wellesbury sat up with a jolt and looked around. There was Ezmerelda, a few desks away, sitting hunched over her studies. He’d been so consumed with his own thoughts that he hadn’t noticed her upon entering. That was a good indication of how preoccupied he was, as she stood out from the rest of the crowd as different somehow. He liked her – she was a bit of a loner as he could sometimes be, and those emerald eyes dazzled him every time.
     She glanced up from her own terminal and gave him a smile that, though small, ignited something in his soul. He smiled back, and waved awkwardly.
     “Want to tell me what’s up?” she asked.
     Wellesbury opened and shut his mouth a couple of times. It was unthinkable to tell someone in the class where he’d been, and he didn’t want any further ridicule, especially from someone he admired.
     Her face creased up in apparent amusement at his floundering, and she said, “Okay, I’ll put you out of your misery. I know where you were this morning.”
     “What?” He looked around quickly to ensure they were alone, then scooted over to sit in the chair next to her. “How...?”
     “Oh, yes. I hear things, you see. I’d already heard about the visitor, of course... that’s pretty common knowledge now. Then I heard my dad talking about you before school. I think you did something really great, Wellesbury.”
     Leaving aside the wave of wellbeing that enveloped him upon hearing these last words, Wellesbury said, “Your dad?”
     “He works for the government. It’s all hush-hush, of course, but he doesn’t keep it a secret from his own family. He doesn’t talk about anything with me, because I’m just a kid –” she rolled her eyes – “but I overhear him and Mum talking plenty. Mostly him ranting and raving. You weren’t painted in a favourable light, I’m afraid to say.”
     “You probably shouldn’t be telling me this,” said Wellesbury in a lower voice, looking in the opposite direction furtively. He remembered the conversation with the warder. “They could be recording this.” Hang on, why hadn’t he thought of that before he went to talk to Mallinger?
     “Oh no, there’s no bugs in here,” she said. “Maybe in the future, more places will have them... but at the moment, the conversations of children aren’t considered important enough to warrant the cost of listening to.”

Title: Black & White
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series #: 1 of 3
Release date: 18th September 2017
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

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Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.
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