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, 19 May 2011


I know this blog is meant to be sleeping but I wanted to add something. This week I was at the Angus Book Award ceremony. I didn't win but I had a lovely time, especially with the other authors and organisers. (Keren David won again! Clever lady.)

I just wanted you to see these two alternative covers for Wasted, designed by pupils as part of a competition.

This one is by Allanah Hendry of Carnoustie High School, who won the first prize.

And below is the one by Danni Robertson of Forfar Academy.


Thank you to everyone involved in the Angus Awards - it's a fabulous one to be on and the organisation is PERFECT. Mmmm, lovely sandwiches, too.

Wasted is now on two more shortlists - I can't say which ones but that's seven altogether! Hope my publishers are pleased. They haven't said so, but I'm assuming.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


Time to lay this blog to rest. It was only ever meant to be temporary, and now I find myself with less and less time to keep it going. I'll leave it here for people to find out about the ideas behind Wasted. I've had such a good time visiting schools and answering emails about this book and I thank you all for your fabulous support. I'm very proud of how well Wasted has done, despite the fact that it has not been a heavily promoted title. For the shortlists that it is on, I am so grateful for the enthusiasm of lovely librarians and I thank them hugely. I also thank all its supporters on Twitter and through my other blog, and schools that I've visited or who have contacted me. And then there are the booksellers, who have worked so hard and successfully to hand sell it. Thank you all.

And finally, I thank my agent, who is currently very excited about my next proposed novel. Of which more later, I hope!

Thank you all and do keep in touch through my Facebook Author page. I'll put bits of news there from now on.

May good luck accompany you and keep you safe - but not too safe, because risk is essential in our lives. I took a risk in writing Wasted. I like to think it paid off.

Friday, 18 February 2011


Well, as some of you know, WASTED has made it to the final two in its category for the Coventry Awards and there are only a few days left to vote! I am frankly amazed that it's still there but incredibly grateful, too. It was such a strong shortlist and the book I'm now up against was always looking like a likely winner - Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater. Someone said to me, "OMG, that's like being pitched against Twilight!"

So, if you'd like to help WASTED win its very first prize, even if you've voted already, please vote! The idea is that the more enthusiastic the readers, the more often they will vote, so repetitive voting is what the organisers want. If you're not at a school you just put n/a in the school bit and you do not have to put your postcode, either.

I'm also supporting lovely Keren David's When I Was Joe, in the Simply the Book Category.

To vote for WASTED, go here.

And to vote for WHEN I WAS JOE, go here.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank you to the fab librarians who generate such enthusiasm. I am forever going on about how important librarians are but it can't be said often enough.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Imagine how amazed I was when someone alerted me to this video review - the very first book chosen by Inbali Iserles and Joe Craig for their talking treatment.

I think what they've done is very clever indeed. I like how natural and informal it is. And I love the Schrodinger's cat section - watch Inbali's face!

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Award ceremonies can be full of angstiness for the short-listed authors but the RED Award and the North East Book Award were wonderful events and I just wanted to say a tiny bit about them. Or, really, to make a list of the good things about them:
  1. Lots of preparation of the pupils by teachers and librarians in participating schools. This means a good number of book sales before the event and lots of useful publicity locally. But it's also the best way to do things and the fact that authors and publishers do nothing to "push" their books makes it all so much fairer.
  2. Lovely treatment of the authors with a real care for our comfort and welfare. We are made to feel like stars for the day!
  3. The feeling that we were all winners for being on the shortlist, with all of us doing talks and having presentations made about our books during the lead-up to the announcement.
  4. A fun and festive air without it being manic and shouty. 
  5. Our travel expenses paid. Sometimes, there's accommodation and a dinner, too, though the timing of these ones meant that that wasn't needed.
  6. Book sales at the event.

    I should point out that, sadly for me, I wasn't able to get to the RED one, as I was ill, but I sent a photo of my red boots (red, you see - theme of the award) and it was displayed. Apparently, my boots got a round of applause! So, I was amazed and delighted to receive a parcel later with prizes, even though I wasn't the overall winner. ALL the authors received the same prize, including a cheque, and the winner received a plate by local artist, Barbara Davidson. How lovely is that? (Big congrats to Cathy MacPhail for her win with Grass!)

    I did, however, have a ball at the North East Book Award in the Centre for Life in Newcastle. (Also wearing my red boots...) I was thrilled to be the runner-up, Highly Commended, after Keren David's wonderful When I Was Joe. And it was lovely to meet the other authors. Keren and Paul Dowswell and I are all on the Angus award, too, so we'll see each other again soon. It was lovely to see Anne Cassidy again and to meet Cliff McNish, who has the same agent as I do.

    My favourite thing was the groups of readers who came up to me before the event - actually, mobbed was the word - and said the most fab things about Wasted. (Some of their comments are on the NETBA blog here.) Oh, and getting the whole audience, including adults and authors, playing Jack's Game, was a lot of fun!

    My thanks to the librarians who made all this possible at both events - Yvonne Manning at Falkirk and Eileen Armstrong in Cramlington and both their teams. Librarians are absolutely my heroes.

    Sunday, 23 January 2011


    On Friday this week I'll be heading off to Newcastle for the award ceremony for the North East Teenage Book Award. With mixed feelings.

    On the plus side:
    1. It's amazing to be shortlisted and I'm very proud of that.
    2. I am looking forward to meeting the other authors, some of whom I know (Anne Cassidy and Keren David) and others I haven't met.
    3. The NEBA is a brilliantly organised event and I've been before, with Fleshmarket. It's one of the best awards in the children's book world.
    4. Some of the pupils have interviewed me on Twitter and I'm really looking forward to meeting them. Here's a link to the interview.
    5. One of them has written a Wasted rap and they will perform it!
    6. There's a party. There might be chocolate.
    On the minus side:
    1. I get quite stressed being the centre of attention. It's exciting but tiring.
    2. I've damaged my voice and have been told not to speak loudly or much. I will have to speak loudly and much.
    Because of that last point, I have a special plan! And I'm not saying what it is until I get there but one person in the room is going to be very, very lucky....

    I will come back next week and tell you what happened!