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.

Friday, 30 April 2010


Nervous? Have you any idea, you readers? Do you think writers just sit glowing with pride at having published a book? Ohhhh no. We're sensitive souls, fragile creatures, and we care so very much about our books. We KNOW not everyone will like them but we also foolishly hope they will. Or at least that when people don't like our books they will find a nice way to say so or else say nothing.

And I am very nervous because it's horribly close to publication day for Wasted. Not that the exact day makes much difference because it's all too late to stop it now. I may WANT to change half the words in it but I can't. I may WANT to hide in a cupboard but I can't. (For a start, I have this blog and all of you are kindly and patiently sitting there waiting for Wasted to come out - or at least making a very good show of pretending to.)

Once a book is published, there's so much luck involved. So much can go wrong and there are myriad reasons why some books fail to be noticed. More reasons to be nervous. And some books mean more to the author than others. Wasted means more to me than any of my others - only The Passionflower Massacre came close, and that faded into obscurity despite having great reviews from the start.

I'm also doing an after-dinner speech this evening at the Scottish Arts Club, where they are having a black tie dinner to celebrate Walpurgis Night. They obviously thought that since Walpurgis Night is all about evil spirits and witches and other nasty things, I was a suitable choice of speaker...

Doing these things - writing books and giving talks is risky and nerve-inducing. But there's a lesson here, to do with luck. And luck is something that Wasted is very much about.

You see, I know there are lots of things that happen which we can't control. Really bad things happen to good people and good things happen to horrible people. But apart from that, I DO believe that if we are bold and confident and get out there and try things, we have more chance of luck coming our way. In other words, we have to take risks in order to succeed. (I'll be blogging about this another day.)

Writing a book is a very big risk. People might hate it; I might feel stupid; it might be a total waste of time if it does badly. It's very exposing. So I'm nervous.

But I'm glad I took the risk. I love so much about being a writer. And the pleasures of seeing people love a book outweigh the times when someone hates it. Yes, when someone criticises it, it's horrible, truly horrible, but I have to accept it as one of the risks. Like falling off a horse - it hurts. But you get back up and you gallop with the wind in your hair and everything is worth it.

Doesn't stop me being nervous about Monday, though!

(On the other hand, when you read the post on Monday, you'll see that I'm not going to have much time to be nervous...)

Thank you all so much for joining and reading this blog. I promise you lots of interesting stuff over the next few weeks. Several chances to win copies of Wasted or my other books, and lots of opportunities to be involved. And, as with everything in life, you just never know where it might lead. My motto in life is simple: do. If you do nothing, nothing will happen to you. And how boring and frustrating that would be.

Today I am a guest on writer Nik Perring's blog, where I'll be talking about all the emotions that writers go through on their long journey to publication. Including being nervous, of course.

Tomorrow I'll be visiting the Book Maven, Mary Hoffman's, blog. I hop you'll join me at Nik and Mary's and check out the excellent blogs of those two successful writers.

Don't forget that tomorrow is also the next prize draw for a copy of Wasted - all you have to do is be a follower of this blog. Good luck! Oh, and do encourage people to enter the Flash Fiction competition - I've had a fantastic standard of entries but very few stories from school age writers. Go write!

1 comment:

womagwriter said...

A novelist friend likened writing to bringing up children - your baby, all your own until the first day of school (ie, the day you send the MS off to the publisher), then still partially under your control until the day they leave home (ie, publication). At this point your baby (human or paper) has to make its own way in the world, make friends (or enemies) by itself. Of course you're nervous, but if you know you've done a good job you should also be very, very proud.