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.


WASTED – when danger, passion and chance collide…

Jack is obsessed by luck. He lets the toss of a coin rule his actions, whatever the risks. Chance brings him Jess, a beautiful singer who will change his life. But their luck won’t last for ever, and soon the stakes are high. As chance and choice unravel, the risks of Jack’s game become terrifyingly clear. During a night of heady recklessness, suddenly a life hangs in the balance, decided by the toss of a coin. In the end, you, the reader, must choose whether to spin that coin and determine: life … or death. Will you risk it? Will you accept the consequences? In real life, you’ll have no choice.

A little more detail
Imagine the scene: Jack and Jess in a club, wrapped up in each other. An enemy, Kelly, plans to spike Jess's drink. Another girl is trying to get past the bouncer, who may or may not let her in. If she gets in, she'll distract Jess's friends and they won't see the drink being spiked. If she doesn't get in, Jess's friends will see what happens and save her. The reader sees both scenes, until a coin is tossed and one possibility vanishes. In Wasted, you see alternative results unfold and disappear as the lives of Jack and Jess spin out of control. Finally, it is you who must take the risk and toss a coin to determine the ending. Their lives are in your hands.

Jack and Jess
Jack and Jess are my favourite characters of any I've written about. They are brilliant at music – Jack has a band and Jess joins as the singer. She is gorgeous – amazing half-Italian-half-Norwegian eyes and skin, and Jack is one of those trendy musical types with a clever hair-style and poetic eyes. They meet by chance (and you see how chances create a meeting that easily might not have happened) and fancy each other immediately. They are strong, clever, and very ready to leave school and fly out into the world – and in fact, they finish school in two weeks. But their lives are not perfect. Jess's mother is drinking too much and Jess is worried; Jess's father left years ago and she knows her mother is terrified about Jess leaving home. Jess loves her mother - an artist, floaty, flighty, dippy, fragile - but wishes she could be stronger.

Jack is strong and intense but not always in a good way. He was very unlucky as a young child - his mother died twice, by horrible chance, which wouldn’t have happened if Jack hadn’t been there. Though it wasn’t his fault, he can’t help thinking how easily she might not have died. This obsesses him, so now, aged 18, he sacrifices himself to luck – by tossing a coin and promising to do whatever it says, however dangerous. This is how he thinks he stays lucky, and he thinks that Jess coming into his life is proof of his system, proof that if you spin the coin the right way, take the right turnings, luck will follow.

But Jack’s luck is about to run out. And only chance can save him – but will it? At the end of the book I offer two endings and before you read them you have to toss a coin to see which one is true for Jack and Jess. Life or death. But you find that it's not as simple as life or death. You may decide that there's no such thing as luck, or chance, or choice. Which is a scary thought...