Thursday, June 12, 2014

Excerpt, Character Interview & Giveaway - The Artful by Wilbert Stanton

I'm happy to present The Artful by Wilbert Stanton today.  I want to read this book based on the cover alone ('cause you all know that I totally judge books by their cover).  Plus there's obviously an Oliver Twist connection, which I also adore!  Make sure you check out the fun character interview and enter the giveaway!

Title: The Artful
Series: Shadows of the City #1
Author: Wilbert Stanton
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult

Summary from Goodreads: New York City, 2025: Everything is changed. The city that never sleeps is now a land of death and decay. A rampant virus has taken over and the survivors have become carriers, quarantined from the rest of the world.

Twist and Dodger grew up in the streets, the sewers and underground tunnels – their playground. They aren’t heroes. They just like attention; and stealing meds from the rich and giving them to the poor is their golden ticket.

On their latest raid, they unknowingly steal a cure that puts them square between the ailing Emperor of Manhattan and the war hungry Governor of Brooklyn and forces them on a quest into the darkest shadows of their putrefying world.

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Dodger was only eighteen, yet he stood at the center of the party, a gravitational force attracting everyone. He wore a fancy-tailed coat and top hat with loose, brown hair falling from underneath, framing his sun-tanned face. With a glass elegantly in his hand, he acted the part of Mr. Cool with little thought. People, women in particular, flocked to him.

I was never jealous of Dodge, not really. I envied him and readily acknowledged I would never be as intriguing. In all my seventeen years I could never have the confidence he had. I was just a hopeless scrawny kid in comparison, average at best. I accepted that. I did, however, hate that I felt myself forever in his shadow. You see, Dodger and I were Gutter Punks, the best crew of thieves the world has ever seen, but I think the world believed I was his sidekick.

“Twist, here, boy, now there’s a lad!” he yelled in the mocking voice he used to make fun of the wealthy. 

I sauntered over, awkwardly pushing my way through the group of giggling girls surrounding him. I felt uncomfortable, my pants too big, the fancy dress coat too long for my liking, and the gold-tipped cane all but useless. While Dodge wore his disguise like a form-fitting glove, I looked like a child wearing his father’s clothes.

Dodger was busy talking to a well-endowed socialite; her high heeled boots met a Victorian bell-shaped dress, and her corset was so tight I wondered how she could breathe. Her skin was pale, and her eyes had the usual bloodshot look we saw in drug users. Many of the other women were of the same cast. They were ghosts, hanging onto every word he spoke as if he were a magician, able to conjure up whole new worlds.

“So I was telling my fellow Twist here”―he looked deeply into the cleavage of his mark―“We’ve explored so much of this city, our skin is permanently tanned. It’s time for new adventures, wouldn’t you say? With Mayor Reynolds nearly set to go to war with that Brooklyn tyrant Chrysler, Manhattan will soon be a battlefield! You would think each mayor would be content to stay in his own borough, and yet they both want a piece of our great Manhattan. I shudder to think what would happen if these parties were put to an end. All we need is to hijack an airship, which would be no challenge for me.” He ripped the cane from my hands and pointed it at a passing waiter.
“Move and you die, good sir. Alas, what have you to offer me in your surrender?”

The waiter frowned, and held up his tray of wine.

“Very good.” Dodger finished off his glass and replaced it with a full one. 

Dodger’s swooning admirers laughed and whispered in thrilled excitement.

“You see, I am quite skilled in swordplay. Once we have control of the ship, we will sail past the quarantine border and to the end of the world.”

His mark gasped in exaggerated fear.

Interview with Dodger and Twist:

Wilbert: Hi everyone, today I have a special treat for you, flown in on a secret military chopper from the shadows of New York City, are Twist and Dodger, better known as —

Dodger: Dodger and Twist.

Wilbert: Excuse me?

D: It’s Dodger and Twist.

Twist: Oh come on, really?

D: Well it just sounds better. Straight from the shadows of New York City, Dodger and Twist, better known as the Gutter Punks!

W: Ok, well… sorry about that.

T: It’s really not all that important—

D: We were promised a really attractive female reporter, not a writer… What happened to her?

W: Well she couldn’t make it; she’s conducting an interview with Gia.

T: Gia is getting interviewed too? Did she say anything about me?

D: Here we go again, all you have to do is mention Gia and he falls to pieces.

T: I don’t fall to pieces… I just wanted to know if she mentioned me.

D: Yeah she mentioned what a dork you are. Am I right Wilbert!?

W: Well, no, I’m sure she thinks very highly of you—

T: Really? 

W: Yeah, you’re a nice guy. You steal meds from the rich and give them to the poor. I mean that’s what you guys are known for right? Helping out those in need, trying to make New York a better place?

D: I do it for the women, really. I mean not that I have problems in that area, but it’s a really good way to get into a girl’s—

T: He’s lying! We do it to make a difference. It isn’t right that all those rich tower babies get all the meds and live in the safety of their towers, while the rest of us are forced to live underground. We couldn’t, wouldn’t stand for it anymore. So we had to make a difference!

D: Also the women love it, did I mention how they drop their—

T: Oh, god, can we just get on with the interview without you saying something offensive?

D: We can try, but I make no promises. You know the longer I talk the easier it is for me to say something inappropriate. 

T: Nice to meet you Wilbert, and thanks for having us… did you have any questions?

W: I… um… yeah, we got a little off track there, didn’t we?

T: Sorry that happens with us, we have the gift of gab.

D: Oh would you let that go? Gia once told him we have the gift of gab and he acts like she wants to date him or something.

T: Let’s talk about something else.

W: Okay, why don’t you tell us how you guys met?

D: That’s easy, I saved his life.

T: He didn’t really save my life—

D: He was a scrawny little orphaned street rat with nowhere to go. If it hadn’t been for me protecting him from some street kids and taking him under my wing, he’d be dead.

T: He tried to rob me, when he saw I didn’t have anything he decided to help.

W: So wait, Dodger and a bunch of street kids tried robbing you?

D: We wouldn’t put it like that… would we?

T: No what actually happened is the street kids were robbing me, and then Dodger joined in!

D: I decided to help in the end though… that counts for something.

T: Then we both got beat up.

D: Yeah, but after that I took you under my wing, and taught you the laws of the street.

T: I will admit I learned a lot from Dodge.

D: See I saved his life!

W: Well… it actually looks like we are running out of time, I guess one last question.

D: Okay, where is the hot interviewer I was promised, the one with the huge—

T: I think he meant he has one last question…

W: What do you guys have planned next?

T: We are going where no one has ever gone before, beyond the quarantined zone.

W: That sounds frightening.

T: It is, we have no way of knowing what’s out there. But it’s something we have to do. For all the people who look to us for help, for a better tomorrow.

D: Oh god, really? Is that what you’re closing with? Let’s just say we are about to save the world. And be done with this interview. 

W: Well thanks for your time, I think. I look forward to hearing about your adventures. And um, good luck with everything.

D: Whatever.

T: Thanks, sorry about him. I enjoyed meeting you.
About the Author

Wilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

In the end world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

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