I’m delighted to welcome Nick Wilford – awesome chap and fantastic CP – who has just published his novel, Black & White. Take it away, Nick…
Hi, Annalisa. Thanks for letting me take over your blog as part of my tour. I’ve got something fun in store today and something out of the ordinary for me – a bit of sporting commentary. Let’s head over live!
Hello folks, it’s Saturday 23rd August 2664 and it’s the big one, the one you’ve been waiting for, the Gravball Intra-School Final! We have the Magnificence team, headed up by the undisputed star player Wellesbury Noon, facing off against their rivals from Excellence Elementary, captained by the incomparable Howard Pralanko. The final spectators are taking their seats and the match is about to kick off here at the Whitopolis Stadium. In the very unlikely event that you’ve never seen a gravball match before, let me just explain the set-up. The stadium seating surrounds an enormous cuboid structure with see-through walls and ceiling. It almost looks as though those players are flying once they get into their game. Of course, it’s a one-way effect; to them, it’s just as if they’re running along white walls and ceilings. Far too disorienting to be seeing massive crowds from odd angles when you’ve got that goal in your sights! Each team has two goals, one on the floor and one on the ceiling, so they need to make sure they’re covering all bases. There you go, a potted introduction to the sport of gravball. Just wrapped up in nice time too, as the players are making their way into the arena through that little door in the corner of the cube. It’ll be closed by a steward once they’re all in position. Okay, looks like we’re good to go. Having won their last match, Magnificence get to kick off.
And here we go! Magnificence’s Finnister is streaking up the far wall, dodging players to left and right. Oooh, that’s a great overhead kick, the ball floating gracefully through the air to Noon, who’s waiting for it on the ceiling. He dribbles in between a couple of opponents and the goal’s in his sights, but – oh! – the ball’s been taken by Excellence’s Graston just as he was about to shoot. Never mind, better luck next time. Graston’s booted the ball out of the ceiling’s gravitational field and it’s falling to his teammates on the floor. That takes some welly, you know. Let’s take a minute to appreciate the skills of these players, putting in countless hours of training to learn how to play upside down without confusion. Got to deal with that rush of blood to the head, too, so they can’t stay up there too long. Anyway, back to the action – oh, and the ball’s been intercepted by Magnificence’s Salvo who’s taken a shot at the opposition’s Earthbound goal. Looks like an easy proposition. But he’s put too much into it and it’s been pulled in by the side wall’s gravity field. An occupational hazard in this game – it’s a fine balancing act when it comes to dealing with the complicated physics at play and Salvo’s misjudged it on this occasion. Never mind though, his teammate Finnister’s given it a belting header and the ball’s heading skyward again, as his boots leave the smooth surface of the wall. He hovers in the horizontal before being pulled inexorably back. But watch the ball as it arcs up – Noon’s bided his time on the ceiling and waited for it, now he’s got it in between those nimble feet. Excellence are too spread out, covering all surfaces – which you need to do because you don’t know where that ball’s going to end up – but they’ve left Noon with a clear path to that upper goal. He shoots – he scores! That was, indeed, magnificent – let’s watch it again. See him feign to the left – our right, although it depends where you’re sitting – misdirecting the keeper who’s all over the place. Another superb goal for the boy wonder, Wellesbury Noon. But the game’s moved on and now the ball’s bouncing from wall to wall. Let’s see what else this match has in store for us…
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.
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, Goodreads, Facebook, or Amazon.
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With the chill autumnal air approaching, and the kids back to school and – sigh – university, it’s time to get back to my novel.
Over the summer, three wonderful beta readers (Nick, Liz and Ruth) read my draft and gave some awesome feedback. There’s a lot to do. I realised, while scanning through their comments, that I need to go deeper into my main character, and that some of the less engaging parts of her are actually based on me (lol, I think). That said, I should be able to explain those parts much more clearly, and hopefully sympathetically.
Since I received their critiques, I’ve had a lot of extra shifts at work; I was away last weekend and also this coming one; and then another heap of extra shifts after that. It might be October until I get into them properly.
These are the merged comments, with all their agreements and conflicts. Doesn’t it look awful? You send off something you think is perfect, and get this back. Then you read them, and find yourself nodding and sighing and wondering how the heck you thought you were ready to send it in the first place.
I’d hoped to have this book ready to query in November, a year after writing the original idea during NaNoWriMo last year, but – as the title of this post suggests – that probably won’t happen.
But that’s okay. Two years is still far shorter than my previous attempts at a novel 🙂
So, how are you?