This is the WASTED BLOG. For my main author website, click this link.

Awards: WASTED won the Read it or Else category in the Coventry Award and was runner-up in the North East Book Award. It is longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Manchester, Grampian, Angus, and RED Awards.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


I've had lovely comments about the characters in Wasted, so it's my pleasure to tell you a bit about them here.

Jess - gorgeous, half-Italian / half-Norwegian, fabulous singer and musician. I would love to have been like her. Trouble is, her mother, Sylvia, is becoming an alcoholic. Jess has no brothers or sisters, and her father left home years ago, so Jess feels responsible. She knows her mother doesn't want her to leave home, but Jess finishes school in two weeks' time and she really wants to go away, to music college, after some travelling. Jess is very together, very cool and lovely, but she's worried about her mum, and doesn't know what to do. Not just worried, but embarrassed and somewhat exasperated. There's a crack opening between them and it shouldn't be Jess who has to deal with this but Jess is more mature than Sylvia and is left with a lot she shouldn't have to deal with.

Jack - also gorgeous! Mad hair, very arty, fabulous musician, has a band called Schrodinger's Cats. Studies philosophy and music for A-level, very intense - sometimes in a good way, sometimes not. He's very together as well, and it takes a lot to rock him: he has equilibrium. But inside, Jack is dealing with an obsession about luck and chance. He's obsessed about stories of people dying through chance events. He's got good reason to be obsessed about that - he has twice lost his mother. His first mother died while giving birth to him. His second mother died on his first day at school, and it was his "fault", or at least caused by him. I won't tell you how it happened but I have to warn you: it's not nice. It's really, really not nice. But Jack is 18 now and he's recovered. Hasn't he? Well, yes, but now this obsession with luck is threatening to destroy him.

Jack and Jess meet, by chance, and fall in love. WOW, how they fall in love! I never quite meant it to happen like this but I love how their relationship takes over - it takes them over and it took me over. They almost can't touch each other because the electricity between them is so strong. It takes their breath away.

Sylvia - Jess's mother, flighty, dippy, fragile, blousy, artistic, scatty, uncontrolled, damaged, yet lovely too. And drinks too much. Much too much. She's falling to pieces.

Kelly, Samantha and Charlie - the Kelly Gang, enemies to Jack (because Jack once knocked Kelly back when she tried to come on to him) and Jess (because she's friends with Jack and accidentally insulted Kelly); they are tarty but stunning, tanned, mini-skirted, long-legged, wild. And they cause a whole lot of trouble. One of them will pay a heavy price. 

Lorenzo - Jess's dad, who lives in Chicago and sees her about once a year. Italian, clever, successful, but a lousy father. Buys Jess's love, doesn't know how to care properly about her. Quite unemotional, clinical. He has a lot to learn.

Sam - Jack's dad. Lovely man! We don't see much of him but he seems very together despite having been widowed twice. Does a great job with Jack. Relaxed, confident, cool, sensible. Worries about Jack but not too much.

Spike - Jess's cat. Spike is delicious, soft, warm, and important. Like all cats, he senses trouble, reads emotions. Spike has a chapter to himself and I've put it here.

I don't think it's necessary for a reader to like the characters in a book but I like liking them, and I certainly do like the main characters in Wasted. I really hope you do, too. I'd love to know what you think. I know some of you have read it already - do put your comments here.


Some fab reviews on Amazon already. And lovely comments by email, too. Thank you! I don't know if any of you understand how important this book is to me - much more so than anything I've done. I know some people won't like it but I really want it to reach its intended readers.That's all I can hope for, but so many good books don't succeed and I'm pretty nervous about Wasted still.

Meanwhile, the blog tour starts soon - I'll be visiting Nik Perring's blog on Sunday. Thanks, Nik!


womagwriter said...

I began the book yesterday and am loving the characters. Currently thinking I'd like to be reborn as Jess only with Sam as a dad.

sue said...

I'm really looking forward to getting hold of a copy, Nicola. The characters sound fascinating, intriguingly complicated and real.
Good luck with its success.

Marshall Buckley said...

I'd be interested to know who you visualised when you created the characters.

As an example, of one my characters in my first book looks like Danny Dyer, while the main character is Joe Dempsey...

catdownunder said...

Anyone else reading this DO go and read the chapter about Spike. I have, perhaps, fallen a little in love with Spike...even if you think you do not like cats (how can you not like cats?) you are going to like Spike!

Helena Halme said...

sounds great, I love the characters. Can't wait to read the book.

Nicola Morgan said...

Spike is getting an awful lot of votes in the favourite character poll on the right! Cat - have you been canvassing for him??

Marshall - interesting you should ask... Jack is modelled on a boy staying at the hotel I was staying in in Tunisia when i was about to start Wasted. I was fascinated by his hair and his arty moodiness. I did tell his family that one of my characters was going to be modelled on their son and they seemed quite impressed. Even the boy himself was quite interested, though I think they probably thought i was making it all up. The other characters are modelled on no one. Oh, except that I did print out a pic from the film Bad Girls to inspire the kelly Gang, though I changed them quite a lot too. I find that I just need a starting point from real life and then the imagination takes over once I'm hooked.

Spike is a mixture of all the four cats I've lived with, all of whom were black, which helped.

Jess was originally half Indian, and that's how I pictured her at first, but my editor and I felt that it made it seem as though i was deliberately bringing race/colour into it just to be PC or to make a point. Also, at first, her race and skin colour had been quite important, but then it became so trivial that, again, it would have seemed like tokenism and pointless to use it as an element. It was never meant to be an issue so I decided to leave it out entirely and focus on what was right for the story. I felt that having an Italian father and Norwegian mother made a sufficent point about how Jess was visibly a mixture of two shades of colour, without over-complicating things when i didn't have a race-based point to make.

Womag - Sam's lovely, isn't he. I do hope life treats him better after this.

Sue - thank you!

Laura Marcella said...

Your characters sound fascinating. Can't wait to read your book and meet them!

catdownunder said...

No, but purrhaps I should start canvassing for Spike? Cats as characters in books are infinitely more difficult to incorporate than horses or dogs.