Today I am welcoming Nicola Morgan onto Books 4 Teens as part of her blog tour to promote her new fantastic book, Wasted – you can read my review here.
1) Where did the inspiration for Wasted come from?
Many years ago, I had a weird chance encounter, on an escalator in London, an escalator which I shouldn’t have been on, nearly 400 miles from home. On it, I met a friend who was also nearly 400 miles away from home. It got me thinking: how often must we NOT have a chance encounter? For every chance encounter we have, there are an infinite number we don’t have. Some of them lead to huge changes in our lives and some don’t. What if there was a god who could watch everyone meeting, not meeting, nearly missing something, actually missing things? And what if the god watched and laughed at human powerlessness? But also, more importantly, what if we weren’t powerless? What if by making tiny changes we felt we could take control? It’s a complicated idea and took me 15 years to find the story to carry it!
2) Can you describe Wasted is about?
Apart from the fact that it’s about chance, luck, fate and risk, it’s about the passionate love affair between Jack and Jess, who are just about to leave school: freedom beckons. But Jack has a shadow over him: the obsession with luck caused by his mothers’ very unlucky deaths. Jess has a shadow, too: the fragility of her alcoholic mother. You get to see everything that happens but also things that don’t happen, as different realities peel away and disappear. You watch the characters hurtle towards a very difficult ending – or endings, because you have to spin a coin to “decide” what happens.
3) Which part of Wasted is your favourite and can you describe why?
I love the scene where Jess goes to Jack’s room for the first time. The scene is full of chemistry and desire, temptation and power. Jess sings and Jack is blown away for the second time by her voice.
4) Were there any chance events which influenced the plot of Wasted?
Oh yes! A pigeon smashed through my window while I was sitting there trying to think of a chance event that could delay one of my characters by a few minutes! So, I used the pigeon. But, to be honest, everything is chance because everything that happens in the book easily might have happened differently if it hadn’t come into my head like that.
5) What 5 songs would you say Jess would love to perform?
Oh wow, what an amazing question! She’d need clever lyrics, so probably something from The Beautiful South – maybe “How Long’s a Tear Take to Dry?” Then a couple from Alison Kraus and Union Station – I think “Let Me Touch You For a While” and “Momma Cried”. She’d want to sing something by REM, maybe “Wanderlust”. And then it would have to be “Remembrance Day” by Mark Knopfler. But she’d be fab at Kate Bush songs, too!
6) If you could live the life of one of the characters in Wasted who would it be and why?
It would have to be Spike. Mainly because all the humans have so much to deal with and Spike, being a cat, doesn’t know half the things he should be afraid of, so he doesn’t need to be afraid. Sam (Jack’s father) is so lovely and together but he’s had to deal with terrible sadness and he may have to deal with a lot more. I’d like to be like Jess, but I wouldn’t like to be that age again. Too scary!
7) If you had to choose 5 YA novels to take with you on a desert island which would they be?
Skellig by David Almond, because it inspired me to write for young people; Bloodchild by Tim Bowler, because I haven’t read it yet but I should have and because Tim is a good friend of mine; The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein because it’s my favourite book in the world; Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan because it’s radical and extraordinary and I need to read it again; and The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, because it’s fably dark and breaks a load of boundaries.
8 ) Do you have any plans for a new book soon or any other news we can get excited about?
Well, I’m writing a book about how to get published, “Write to be Published”, which will be published (phew!) by Snowbooks next year. And I’m working on a very edgy, dark, gritty and shocking YA novel currently called Brutal Eyes. I will have some news about that in due course.
9) Thank you for visiting Nicola, do you have any final comments before we say goodbye (for now)?
Just to thank you for taking the time to do this and to thank everyone who has given such tremendous feedback on Wasted. I took a massive risk with this book – it was a book I had to write but it easily could fail, because it’s a very unusual voice. So far, I’ve been bowled over by the response but I still don’t know if it will do well commercially. So, doing interviews like this will really help. And it’s fun!! Oh, and do drop over to the Wasted blog and leave a comment or three.
Once again I’d like to thank Nicola for stopping by and answering my questions, tomorrow Nicola will be at Kath Eastman’s place and you can check out the full details of where Nicola will be until the end of May on the Wasted blog.
More About Nicola
Nicola Morgan is an award-winning author for teenagers, with successful titles such as Fleshmarket, Deathwatch, Blame My Brain and Sleepwalking. She prefers to forget that she also used to write Thomas the Tank Engine Books… When she’s not writing, she loves speaking in schools, and at festivals and conferences in the UK and Europe, She also enjoys messing around on Twitter or her blogs. Nicola blogs for writers at www.helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com and has set up a special blog about her brand new book, Wasted – you can join the activities and contribute in lots of ways at www.talkaboutwasted.blogspot.com.