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.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


I knew I loved The Ultimate Book Guide, edited by Daniel Hahn, Leonie Flynn and Susan Reuben. Now, I love them even more, as they have made WASTED their book of the week and put a wonderful review there. Do go over and see their blog and read some of the other books recommended over the weeks.

I've been lucky enough to have a lot of lovely reviews for Wasted, but this is one of the ones that most cleverly captures what I was trying to do. If you read it, you'll see what I mean.

Meanwhile, the Scotsman also did a lovely review which isn't online and the Times one is here. I won't bother listing the others, because you've got better things to do than trawl through them, but if you happen to need any - for a school project, for example - an internet search will find them. And there are lots on Amazon here. I never ask anyone to write a review, as I hate anyone to feel they should, but I am always so grateful to anyone who takes the time.

Hope you're all enjoying or about to enjoy your summer holidays. It's raining here. :(((

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Something writers worry about is how to end their books. Readers get very cross with us sometimes! Thing is, some readers like neat endings and others like everything to be more mysterious. What do you think? What do you like or not like about types of endings?

I've made a poll for you here - please vote! And (or) just comment in the comments section below.

By the way, a very nice person in contact with schools in Australia, told me that she knows several classes who enjoy this blog, but that they aren't able to comment because of school internet policy. I quite understand and I just love the idea that you're out there reading this. So, helloooooo!

Thursday, 8 July 2010


The beginning of the school summer holidays is perhaps not the best time to attract the attention of teachers and school librarians with an idea! But, hey, I like to live dangerously.

Anyway, if you are a teacher or school librarian or if perhaps you run a teenage reading group, this might interest you. If you would like to use any of the following creative writing ideas in your school, I would love to help by a) offering a signed book (or perhaps more), which you could either offer as a prize or else just have in the school library b) providing some posters and cards for your participating pupils c) be available to answer questions and engage with your pupils in any way I can. I'd also love to come and do an event, but I'm afraid I have to charge for that - though if we combine with other schools this can work out very reasonably.

So, here are some creative writing ideas, but you could also have your own - just let me know what you want to do.
  • There are a couple of points in Wasted where I write two alternative scenes, toss a coin and one scene vanishes. WHAT IF I'd tossed the coin differently - how would the story have turned out?
  • A "favourite scene" competition - say why you like a particular scene.
  • Write the conversation you'd like to have with Kelly (the bad girl!)
  • Write about a time when a chance event changed your life - perhaps an accident that almost happened, or actually did happen, thanks to a chance event.
  • Write a story where the events depend on a tiny chance event.
  • Do you think we can make our own luck or are we quite powerless? Discuss.
  • Is it possible to predict the future?
Anything else you can think of? Really, I'm up for anything that gets pupils writing and enjoying writing.

Please email me on

ALSO - does anyone have any other good ideas for school-appropriate activities based on Wasted? Add in the comments below!