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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Artful Blog Tour

Book Blurb for Artful by Wilbert Stanton 

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.

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.

Interview with Wilbert
Elle: Tell a little about yourself.

Wilbert: Well it’s always hard for me to talk about myself. If you ask my fiancĂ© or parents, they’ll tell you how I’m this amazing, talented person, who can do anything when he puts his mind to it. But the reality is I see myself as a simple guy, with big dreams and a bigger imagination. I can often be quiet and aloft, or the life of the party, it really depends on what side of the bed I get up on. I love reading, writing, watching TV and movies. I also have a passion for candy, but that’s a story for me and my belly alone.  

Elle: What can you tell us about The Artful?

Wilbert: The Artful is my debut novel. It is in every way my first child, it fills me with great pride, and keeps me up at night. I love it, even though it drives me crazy sometimes. It’s a pretty straight forward story, after a virus wipes out half the population, New York City has become a quarantined, post-apocalyptic savage land. Each borough is ruled by an empire that runs his/her land in ways that take specific cues from different genres I am fond of. But I feel that the true heart of the story is the friendship between the two main characters, Twist and Dodger. Friends who are at one point inseparable, but eventually grow apart as life gets in the way. That is always a story I wanted to tell, as my friends and I have grown older and apart.

Elle:  What was your inspiration for The Artful?

Wilbert: The Artful was inspired by a number of things, most obvious would be the Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist. Growing up my sister would watch the musical at least four times a week. It was a story we knew well. As I got older I found the character of Dodger really interesting. I liked how this dangerous street kid took innocent Oliver under his wing and tried to corrupt him, while introducing him to a world of thievery. Meanwhile Oliver manages to retain his innocence. I always wished there could have been more to that relationship though. So I took those characters and their circumstances and made them more than what they were, honest to god friends. 
The friendship the two boys share however, comes from my personal life. The two characters are also based closely on the bond me and my childhood best friend had, before we became adults, and slaves to our jobs. He was a very uninhibited person, who spoke before he thought, and turned everything into a game. Meanwhile I was very shy and quiet at the time, often tasked with cleaning up after his messes. We were quite mischievous, but it was all in good fun. I find that those are the times I miss dearly and it definitely made itself present when I was coming up with this story.
Lastly the setting was inspired by a dream I had. New York was ruled by street gangs, who fought over medical supplies, because in this dark future meds were power. There was one gang in particular who were known for being the best, until they were caught by government officials who blackmailed them into something… that’s pretty much all I remembered of the dream. 
All these ingredients mixed up perfectly to create this book, and I have to say I couldn’t be prouder.

Elle: Tell us a little about any other works you have published or will be publishing.

Wilbert: The Artful is actually my first big step into the publishing world. I am currently working on an ambitious project called Cabin at the End of the World. It’s the story I always dreamed of writing. Having grown up a huge fan of movies like The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, Legend, and so on. I have always wanted to write a fantastic story filled with magic and adventure. I feel that Cabin will fill that itch. Using elements of fantasy, fairy tale, steam punk, Greek and Norse mythology is definitely a tall order to fill, but it seems to be coming along nicely.  

Elle:  How long have you been writing and how did you get into it?

Wilbert: I have been writing for as long as I can remember, yup, we all say that don’t we? But it’s true, I’ve always had stories I wanted to tell, and I’ve always wanted to
write  them down. The other day I actually found something my mother kept. I must have written it when I was very young because the letters were all very big, and sloppily written across the pages with crayon. It was about a pirate and a monster. It made little sense. But my mom kept it, as if it were a great story to be proud of. That being said, I think my mother was a large part of what got me into writing. I had the imagination, but she brought the encouragement. 

Elle: What inspires your writing?

Wilbert: I am inspired by other books, movies, and video games. When I am not actually writing, a large amount of my time is devoted to those mediums. Anything fantastic, and out of this world will have my imagination going. However, I am mostly inspired by my real life events. Things I’ve gone through growing up, things I wished would have went differently, or I could have acted out differently if I were another person. The characters I write about are usually the people I wish I could have been.

Elle:  If a fiction writer, are any of your novels based on events in your life?

Wilbert: As I said before, most of my writing is based on life events. Mostly events that happened during my teenage years. I was very quiet and painfully shy back then. So I often feel like I missed out on a lot. The characters and situations that sit at the heart of my stories are usually based on those past events. Whether it be how I would have preferred the situation to play out, or exactly how it played out… mixed into fantasy or sci-fi worlds, of course.

Elle:  What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work?

Wilbert: Getting published is hard. I always thought that actually writing and editing would be the hard part. But god, it might have been the easiest. Especially with this being my debut novel, all the ins and outs of publishing were new to me. Lots of times it felt like I was just a foolish wannabe writer wandering into a world I had no right to be in. The countless rejections, and critiques were always disheartening. But I guess for all of those, there was always that positive note from an agent or editor who said how much potential my story had. Then comes the rewrites, because you are never confident your story is perfect yet, there is always one more thing you have to fix. The cringe of apprehension after you realized you forgot to add something after you sent it off for review, is always rather nerve wrecking. Trying to get published is definitely not something for the light of heart, and easily offended. You have to have thick skin, and completely believe in yourself to never give up no matter what you hear. In the end I was lucky enough to find Curiosity Quills, and they have been nothing but stellar, they’ve lead me through the process and held my hand. They have helped me bring my work to life and for that I am forever grateful. 

Elle:  Do you have a favorite author or book?

Wilbert: My favorite book often changes from time to time. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and 14 by Peter Clines are currently at the top of my list. My favorite author is Neil Gaiman, I remember waiting in line for five hours to get his autograph, I planned all these amazing things to say to him, that would obviously make him want to be best friends… at least Facebook friends if anything. When I reached the front of the line I experienced being star struck for the first time in my life, and barely managed to blurt out a “hi”, before shaking his hand and being shuffled off.  

Elle: Describe yourself in three words.

Wilbert: Awesome, damn awesome!

Elle:  Do you have any advice for inspiring authors?

Wilbert: When I was struggling to find time to finish this book, I read a comment on one of the writing groups I frequent. Someone said, “It takes as long as it takes, until you give up or succeed.” That always stuck with me, especially when it comes to writing and publishing. This business isn’t a race, it’s a marathon. As long as you are willing to go in for the long haul you will succeed.

Where to find Wilbert

Where to buy Artful
Amazon U.K. 
Barnes & Noble

 a Rafflecopter giveaway  

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