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.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


Fantastic Farantella the Famous Fairground Fortune-Teller
Your Future Foretold for a Fiver:
She Can See It Coming!

I had such fun writing this scene. It’s funny but sinister at the same time.

Jack and Jess are in a fairground, running from some lads who want revenge. The only place they can hide is a fortune-teller’s caravan. But Fantastic Farantella is on her tea / cigarette-break and is not best pleased to have her smoke interrupted. Eventually, they persuade her to tell their fortune.
Farantella sits down at the table and signals to them to sit, beckoning with a swooping, dramatic arm. She slowly drapes something like a piece of net curtain over her head and pulls a crystal ball from under the table, sets it on a saucer covered in crumpled tin foil and finds the plastic switch on the side. The ball starts to moan and glow. Jess feels Jack begin to shake with laughter and she
refuses to look at him.

Fantastic Farantella closes her eyes. A hum comes from her nose, vibrating. It goes on for a long time, but then Farantella starts coughing. She takes a slug of tea. Opens her eyes.

Stares at them both. They stare back, wide-eyed, every muscle frozen to trap the laughter. “You are drawn together,” she says, in a drony voice. “Am I right?”

They nod. Well, it’s hardly rocket science. She’ll need to do better than that.

Farantella’s hands are hovering above the crystal ball. It stops moaning, begins buzzing and then the light goes off.

“Bugger,” says Farantella. “I knew that was going to happen.”
So, FF gets a new battery for the plastic ball and then tries again. But she can’t seem to get any vibes. And she really needs a cigarette. She keeps trying but Jack and Jess are not that interested any more, since they know that the lads who were chasing them have gone. Jack teases FF that it’s really just a bit of a joke anyway and FF gets quite narked with him and is determined to prove him wrong. She asks them to give her something close to each of them and she’ll see if she can get some vibes from it. Jack gives her his lucky coin – the one he plays the Game with. Up till this point, the scene has been comical, light-hearted. That’s all about to change.
Jess and Jack watch carefully, thinking she may have a secret talent for disappearing tricks even if she’s rubbish at telling fortunes.

For a few long moments the scene goes still. We can look down on them and see the dark red room with the tacky glowing crystal ball moaning away on its new battery. There’s the incense swirling, the mug of tea, Farantella with her net curtain. The distant sounds of the fairground are still outside and we have no idea where Simon and Joe are but we don’t have to worry about them just now. There’s a Post-it note reminding Farantella that she has a dentist’s appointment tomorrow.

And into this unlikely setting, a sinister spirit enters. If we believe in such things. Or if we don’t, then something else we can’t rightly explain. Jess shivers. Jack finds her hand. For some reason, they do not feel like laughing now. Both of them stare at Farantella. Her eyes are screwed shut but suddenly across her face flies something that clutches at her, twisting the muscles of her mouth. She bends forward quickly, her shoulders hunching.

A small noise slips from her mouth. Or the noise could come from somewhere else – it is hard to say. It is the noise a spirit would make. If such things existed. It is the noise that the future would make, if it squeezed through a gap in the skin of time.
Shivery. Well, I shivered.
Have you ever had your fortune told? Would you, for a laugh? But what if you were told something important? Something bad. Would you believe it? Even a little bit?

Fantastic Farantella gives Jack and Jess a sinister warning. The rest of Wasted hinges on whether they (and you) believe the warning or whether, when aspects of it turn out to be true, you decide that the truth was merely coincidence. Or whether perhaps Farantella had a more mysterious power than even she thought.

Come back tomorrow for a light-hearted competition to do with Fantastic Farantella... 

WASTED BLOG TOUR - WHERE AM I TODAY? Nowhere! resting. But thrilled to see that there are so many 5-star reviews on Amazon. I think some of them were written by readers of this blog so thank you very, very much. You are very kind to take the trouble.

Also, Amanda Craig did a great review in the Times yesterday. This means that even my parents might think I'm doing ok...


Colette said...

I am so excited because my very own copy of Wasted just arrived here int he US. Yeah! (And I do think Book Depository was less expensive than if Amazon US were selling it.) I can't wait to catch up to everyone who has already read it!

catdownunder said...

I curled up on my cushion last night and, once again, contemplated the strange and very disturbing experience I once had. I still cannot explain it.

Nicola Morgan said...

cat - do you think your story might make a feature on this blog? I have couple of unplanned days - one on Weds this week. Do you want to email it to me? Only if you want to. n(AT)

Colette - hooray and thank you!