For Readers

Why I Hate the Wind.

Farming families are obsessed with the weather, but for those of us who have glasshouses and poly tunnels, storms are our enemy. I’ve been tracking the approach of Storm Eunice on the Met Office app and checking the neighbourhood WhatsApp group for news of disasters. Aesop wrote a story about a dispute between, the Sun or the Wind – who was stronger? The Sun won. I dispute that result. I’ve seen what the wind can do.

Ten years ago, I wrote this post.

 3rd Jan 2012

Wind is the weather that frightens me most. I have cowered in a caravan while wind has rocked it like a demented mother.  I have stood paralysed while a tornado blackened the sky and ripped its dark path though one greenhouse after another. I have held my breath in the after calm,  shocked by the devastation, fearful of its return and grateful that things were not much, much worse.

Yesterday the sky blackened once more.

Beloved,  knew it was coming. Winds had been forecast , and were already high, but he’d also had a phone call from Father-in-Law, who lives a couple of hours away, warning us a line squall had passed over his place and was heading our way.

I was working on the end-of-year report when it hit. My computer switched off. The power was out. In a heartbeat, the gusting wind outside changed to a tearing, rain-lashed storm force 10. Fence panels and gas canisters blew past my office window. My first thought was for the children.

Safe at school. Solid, brick-built, sturdy school.

But where was Beloved? I threw my coat on and battled outside. The rain was tidal, lashing in horizontal waves, the wind threatened to tip me over. I struggled to keep hold of the farm office door but he was there, and safe.

Narrow escape for the greenhouse

‘I’m scared.’ I said.

‘I know.’ He said.

We clambered through the fallen trees that blocked the track and pushed through the rain to check the greenhouse. Some of the guttering had been torn free but it hadn’t smashed into the glass.  I ran on, turned the corner expecting to see upturned caravans, the farm camp looked intact. All seemed okay until we saw the tunnels on the back field. Plastic flapped like the wing of some huge, distressed bird. Metal was buckled and flattened. The wind billowed under remaining covers, sheering rope and threatening more damage. Beloved ran to the rope store. As rain washed our faces and wind tugged tearing rope burns into our hands,  we lashed down the plastic and saved at least some of the metalwork.

Crushed metalwork
Blown out glass

The wind eased, the sky cleared.

We headed out to the road. Trees blocked it in both directions. So much devastation in such a short time.

‘I’ll get the chainsaw.’ Said Beloved.

That’s my man.
Power or no power, homework can always be done.
But you might have to share your desk space.

Stay safe people, see you on the other side. I hope.

For Readers, Writing Advice

I’m Fine. I’m Fine! Oh wait…

How coronavirus unpicked the stitching in the story of mental health I’d created for myself.

I see myself as a steady platform for others to climb aboard when they’re having a tough time. Call me. Come and stay. Let me do that. Pile it on, I can cope!

I’m the person who steps in when other people are struggling. I’m the fixer when people have problems. I’m a shoulder. A volunteer. A do-er. A coper.

I’ve been stupidly smug about how well I cope with life. I work hard, I manage all sorts – working two to three jobs, running my own business, volunteering, caring for my children, caring for elderly parents, competing in international fencing competitions, hanging out with pals, maybe not being the best friend but being a friend to a lot of people.

I cope. I cope.


I have strong, stable, mental health. Others have issues but not me. I am fine.


I told myself. Over and over. Until I believed it. The way I quite literally couldn’t eat for years after my mother died? Like the doctor said when he saw my skinny six year old self – just one of the lucky ones who never puts on weight. I’m fine. The sexual assault I experienced as a fourteen year old that stopped me sleeping for weeks? Just too many scary books before bed. I’m fine. The physical and mental mess I was in after I had my first child? Everyone has a difficult birth story, we both survived didn’t we? I’m fine.

I put time between me and the worst parts of my life and buried them under a thick blanket of being busy. All the ‘busy’ left no time for me to be on my own with my sadness and fear. Being busy made me useful, it made me feel needed. It made me feel I was earning my place in the world. Like I deserved to occupy space.

And then overnight, Corona Virus stripped away of all the things I did to hold onto my self constructed blanket of ‘fineness.’ I was left, cold and exposed and almost immediately, not fine at all.

Covid Lockdown took away the best parts of my job – visiting schools and meeting young people. It took away my beloved sport and the training I’d worked so hard on to over come the broken bits of my body. It took away my creativity – I couldn’t write.

I was terrified my parents would starve or get covid and die alone. I couldn’t visit my dying father-in-law who I’d been the primary carer to for years. And when he died, I couldn’t give him the funeral he wanted. I couldn’t see my grown up children; they are my world and I lived in fear of them getting sick without me to care for them. I felt guilty about feeling sad because I have a lovely house, a lovely garden and a lovely dog, and a husband I actually like who was still able to work and earn money..

I knew I was lucky. I knew people had it worse than me. But I still cried silent sheets of tears as I walked my wonderful dog in the beautiful countryside right outside my back door.

I did everything I could to stave of depression. I spoke to my family everyday. I built things and painted things. I joined Tiktok. I zoomed with friends and ran online workshops and started Our Corona Diary. I tried to train. I ran and danced. And I sank. And sank. And sank.

George Floyd was murdered.

Sarah Everard was murdered.

Two people I didn’t know but whose deaths illustrated the cruel disparity of privilege in our world so acutely, it hurt. It really, really hurt.

I was crushed.

I was broken.

I was not coping and I definitely was not fine.

Even my hair deserted me

And as we opened up again, I thought I would magically recover myself. Lol. My first night back at fencing club, I left early and sat in the car and cried. I haven’t been back. I can’t quite explain why. It was partly that I couldn’t face the physical pain of dragging my body back to that level of fitness. Partly that I couldn’t face the increased anxiety that comes with competition. Partly, I don’t even know what.

I wasn’t the same. Something had changed. I was forced to re-assess my life and acknowledge that I needed space to sort out my own mental health. I asked my agent to hold my hand as I started writing again. She did and I have, and it’s going quite well. I walk my dog. I spend time with my family and friends. I’m working on some small, achievable volunteer projects that I’m passionate about – I can’t change the world but I can help a tiny bit of it get a leg up.

I’m getting there.

Recovery is fragile Things I have little control over can tip me into anxious depression – the cruelty we see in the world sometimes, the thoughtlessness. I panic and respond with my heart not my head. I cry a lot. But I don’t feel helpless anymore.

Yes. I’m getting there.

I’ve started to speak to people about how bad it was and the funny thing is, few people noticed apart from the ones who I was speaking to everyday. My children. My husband. My fencing coach. A handful of friends. To the outside world, I still looked like I was coping. Even when I said I wasn’t. And that’s why I’m writing this now.

If someone tells you they’re really busy, so they can’t do x, y or z, listen carefully: they might be telling you they aren’t coping and that one more thing is just too much. They might just need to catch their breath from all the trying. They might just need a little space to remember who they are.

I’ve lost count of the number of times people have told me :

You should learn to say no.

But it always seems to come with a side order of:

As long as you don’t say no to me.

Be the person they can say no to without fear of causing upset.

And if you are not coping – the world won’t fall apart if you say no. Seriously, it won’t. You don’t have to do it all to deserve a space in the world.

You are enough.

And it’s okay to not be okay.

Kathryn Evans is a UKYA author. She writes contemporary fiction with a Black Mirror style sci-fi twist.

More of Me was nominated for the 2016 Carnegie medal and won of the EIBF First Book Award and the SCBWI Crystal Kite.

 Beauty Sleep won the 2020 Crimefest Award and was shortlisted for the Steam Book Prize.

For Readers

I’m Back!!!

Yesterday, 22nd June 2021, I did my first live school visit in 15 months at the wonderful Tor Bridge High in Plymouth. It wasn’t quite what we’d planned, the delay to ‘Freedom Day’ meant we couldn’t do whole year groups assemblies but instead, were a more intimate library full of 30 young people at a time – and it was WONDERFUL.

It’s been a miserable covid year but I’m double jabbed and things are, at last, looking up. I am not going to dwell on the misery, I am going to celebrate!

I have two new talks in addition to Self Esteem & Social Media – and an updated post-covid version of Reading and Resilience , I also have What Women Are and Empathy.

You captivated all the students with four fantastic workshops full of energy,  enthusiasm and passion – Joanne Bowls, librarian

See here for more information and details on how to book me for your school or college. I can’t wait to visit!!!

For Readers

Beauty Sleep Book Club Questions.

Beauty Sleep is an interesting choice for book clubs because it has a number of themes worthy of discussion and a very human take on the science fiction genre. Book Box Book Club very kindly shared their thoughts with me – and I answered a few of their fantastic questions. Thanks to Anna, Nikki, Maria, Laura of Book Box for letting me reproduce them here:




I like to write page-turning stories but I like them to have a central core that really matters. A few years ago,  I met a man living on the streets of New York  – he was a photographer and  insisted that he wasn’t homeless, that his home was the streets of New York. His pride and determination brought into sharp focus that each sleeping bundle in a doorway equals someone with hopes and dreams and loves and losses. Another time I was walking down a main road in Edinburgh and there was a homeless person every 20 metres. I try and speak to people when they speak to me and it took me half a morning to get down that road. I was so shocked at the sheer numbers of people living on the streets, they just wouldn’t leave my head. And then  I have a friend who was made homeless recently, she has a job and two kids but she got a tax bill she couldn’t pay ( to do with waitressing tips) and it sent her over the edge, she couldn’t pay her rent and was evicted.  It could happen to any of us, a little bit of bad luck is all it takes.





Ahhh! I think I’ve told too much of the story of Shem, Bert and Scrag for that– you know how it ends! Also, there’s so much back story that doesn’t make it to the final book, I kind of have written their story, it’s just not for public consumption.





It was difficult to keep the balance between the past and the near future. I grew up in the eighties so the temptation to revel in nostalgia was strong – my excellent editor helped a lot there – she ‘strongly suggested’ pruning a lot of the eighties stuff out and putting in more of the future ideas. It was quite fun speculating what might be but I wanted it all to feel possible, touchable if you like – so I looked at things that we already have and just added the ‘what if this was taken a step further’ question. As to whether we’ll still have Instagram in ten years – I think so. Facebook has been around for fifteen years already and there’s no sign of it disappearing. There’ll be other platforms – there already are – I’m on Wechat ( Chinese Facebook)and WeMe (alternative platform to Facebook) but none of them are really taking hold in the western world. I think the next big platform will offer something truly different – like TouchTime.





I think it would have to be Marsha. She was such a victim of circumstances and has such a good heart but she needed more time (and therapy) to forgive herself. I like to think that Laura eventually breaks down her defenses and is able to help.





This is a tough one – Miss Lilly is a narcissist. She truly believes everything she does is right and, like a lot of ( bad) parents, she saw Laura as an extension of herself. So firstly, she felt like she had enough control of Laura and the school to be able to manage her. Secondly, she genuinely believed ( and at the time had no reason to disbelieve) that Laura would just become a mini Miss Lilly. Thirdly, she wanted to be seen to do the right thing and allow Laura a normal life – keeping her at home wouldn’t have allowed that. Miss Lilly’s public persona was very important to her. Fourthly, Laura was going to want more than the environment of the clinic and Miss Lilly could see that – this was a better option than allowing Laura to return to her old school.

They also asked about Chapter 45 and came up with some amazing thoughts about why I’d written it in blank verse…if indeed I had?  I might leave that one for you to decide.

Their final thoughts were whether they would recommend the book to other book clubs?

Beauty Sleep is available now from all good booksellers:

A pacy, gripping thriller – Sunday Express.

A Black Mirror twist on Sleeping Beauty – The Book Seller.


Beauty Sleep Title Page
Beauty Sleep, For Readers

Illustrated YA? What do you think? Chris Riddell Makes Beauty Sleep More Beautiful

An amazing thing happened to me a few weeks ago. Continue reading “Illustrated YA? What do you think? Chris Riddell Makes Beauty Sleep More Beautiful”

For Readers, Writing Advice

What do you mean, “I’m Privileged?”

UPDATED August 2021 because I’m still learning and still trying to do better.

A few years ago, my daughter told me I wasn’t a modern feminist because I didn’t include everyone in my version of feminism.  I thought she was wrong. I was insulted.  I said something along the lines of, ‘What are you saying? I’m nice, I don’t care what people’s colour or sexuality  is, I just see people as people.’

‘If you  don’t see  colour or sexuality,” she said, “you also don’t see how much harder life is for some people and you’re ignoring all your  advantages  and that isn’t fair.’

When I stopped sulking, I started to think. And then I started to ask questions.  I realised that  if I wanted to be a fully rounded, inclusive, and emotionally literate human, a human I had a duty to be as a children’s author, I had a lot to learn.

I’m not alone in finding this stuff difficult.  A lot of  people find the concept of inclusivity, intersectionality and affirmative action hard to get their heads round.  I’m a white, cis woman who, from a difficult-ish start, has done okay for herself. I used to think,

‘Yay! Go me, look what I did!’

But my daughter was right. I didn’t recognise  how much help I’d had on the way. I didn’t  think about it, because I didn’t  even see it.

How could I, a working class woman who has been sexually assaulted on a number of  occasions,  been the subject of sexism in a male dominated work environment over and over again, whose mum died before my third birthday and who went to a terrible school whose highest aspiration for it’s girl students was to be aa secretary, how could I  possibly be considered privileged?

Because I’m white, I’m cis-gendered and able bodied, I went to university when it was still free, I’m smart and while I consider myself pan-sexual, I’m in a stable heterosexual marriage.

Let me explain:

Imagine life is  a huge bumper car rally.

The day you are born, the race marshal assigns you a vehicle from an arbitrary list of criteria.

If you are  white, rich, male, non-disabled, straight and cis gendered you are given a fully armed tank. You get spinning tyre cutters  and smoke bombs to confuse other racers – you name it, you have it. We are talking top of the range bumper car tankness. Pretty much everyone  in the race is going to get out of your way  without you even trying. You probably won’t even have to deploy any of your fancy on board arms , because others know they are there, and that’s enough to keep them at bay. Most people will be nice to you, because maybe they’ll get a ride in the tank and in this rally, the tank is the safest place to be and let’s face it,  the most likely to finish the course.

Maybe you don’t quite fit all those criteria – you’re still white and rich but you’re female – you still get to drive a tank but it’s not fully armed and it’s not quite so big. Most people are going to get out of your way – everyone in fact, except Big Tank Guy.   Your tank is  still a pretty good place to be. and sometimes, Big Tank Guy lets you be in his tank.

Not everyone gets a tank.  Every time the race marshal sees something that’s a little bit different about you – maybe you’re poor  or a person of colour, maybe you have a disability , hidden or otherwise, maybe you’re gay or trans or non-cis gendered.  Maybe you’re one or all of those things – well, that’s bad news for you because  everyone of those effects which vehicle you get given.

If you’re lucky, you still get a pretty good car.  You have a chance in the race but maybe you have to work really hard to keep the car because track rules say you have to have constant driving tests along the way to make sure you’re conforming to the system. You’re going to be super careful, especially around the tank owners, because you could easy lose your car under their big crushy tank tracks.

Maybe you get a small, shonky car that hasn’t got great airbags to protect you in a crash. Track rules mean you have even more tests in case your car breaks down and gets in the way of  the really nice cars, or worse, the tanks. It’s a bit of struggle and you have to stay out of the way of those tanks because if you screw up, you could lose your car and whatever health you have .

Maybe you only get a bike.  You have very little  chance of winning the rally and you are very vulnerable amongst all the cars and tanks. If you’re super gifted at navigating around obstacles, you might just be able to stay alive around the course. You might just get to finish the rally.

A lot of people don’t get any kind of vehicle at all. They’re walking.  Maybe with a dodgy hip  and bad feet. Some people, through incredible talent and determination , will still find a way to do okay in the race – aren’t they incredible? But for most of the Walkers, the best they can hope for is to stay alive. It’s entirely possible they’ll get crushed because most people don’t even see them. Tank Guy definitely doesn’t see them.  He’s in a tank, visibility is poor.

To be fair to Tank Guy, he’s been in a tank all his life. Everyone gets out of the way for him. He thinks that’s how life is for everyone because he’s never known any different.

That tank is his privilege

The tank gifts him a clear road. He doesn’t have to think about  who’s in the way. He  rides right over them with barely a bump.  He can’t even see how easy the tank makes the race for him because, like I say,  his life has never been any different. He might not mean any harm,  he just doesn’t  see the damage his tank might cause. 

We’re not done yet.

Tank Guy has a family.  In fact,  Tank Guy has a whole load of ancestors  and guess what? They laid the original tracks for the rally. They  even made up all the rules about how the race should be run. His family are seriously important to the running of the rally. Tank Guy  knows that in every fibre of his being. To his core he knows he deserves that tank, he was born to it.  He never questions it. The track was even designed for his tank which surely proves it.  It’s wide and straight with a few rolling bumps for fun and it’s covered in gravel which is absolutely perfect for a tank.

Gravel is not so great for a car. Cars easily skid on gravel. It gives them a poor start and throws up tiny stones that can chip the windscreen and mark the paint and that can lead to crazed glass and rust spots.

Gravel is pretty terrible if you’re on  a bike. It throws the wheels sideways and if you come off the bike, it skins you.  It’s also pretty dangerous when there are no cycle ways – you could easily get thrown under a tank.

But gravel is the absolute  worst for Walkers. It cuts their feet and slows them down. They might even get an infection and of course, with no dedicated paths, they’re at risk all the time of being run down, especially if they fall on the track when it just hurts too much to walk.

Imagine how different it would be if Walkers designed the track?  They can see the tank so they’d allow a central gravel road. They can see the cars, and the bikes, so they can allow for a smooth separate run for them.  And they know the safest place for pedestrians is a footpath with an even pathed surface that won’t trip them up.

That doesn’t stop the tank.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs don’t mean  taking  away the privileged drives vehicle and giving it to someone who is walking.  It means redesigning  the track. It means that kids who aren’t handed a tank on the day they are born, can see that the track has space for them, and opportunity.

Kind of feels like cheating in the race if you don’t.  I know there’ll be plenty of people happy to cheat to win but I also know a lot of people won’t. That they’ll get it and want to step up and change the track.

I made a list of books if you want to learn more, click here.

Grateful thanks to my patient daughter, Emily Evans,  for help with this, and my even more patient friend, Patrice Lawrence, who always makes time for my stupid questions. Any errors are entirely my own.

Kathryn Evans is the UKYA author of More of Me, Nominated for the 2016 Carnegie medal and winner of the EIBF First Book Award and the SCBWI Crystal Kite. Her latest book, Beauty Sleep, has been described as a ‘fast paced gripping thriller’ – Sunday Express and a ‘Black Mirror take on Sleeping Beauty ‘ – The Book Seller.

Beauty Sleep, Books, For Readers, Press & Reviews

Beauty Sleep Blog Tour Announced!

Absolutely thrilled to be hosted on all these AWESOME blogs! Links below 🙂

Beauty Sleep Blog Tour Graphic

10th May:

11th May:

12th May:

13th May:

14th May:

15th May:

16th May:

17th May:

18th May:

19th May:

20th May:

21st May:

22nd May:

23rd May:


Beauty Sleep is out now. 

Beauty Sleep, Books, For Readers

Who to Follow on Instagram!

One of my author visit talks is all about beauty standards through the ages and how social media can make us place unrealistic expectations on ourselves that can have a detrimental effect on our mental health.

Trying to be perfect is poisonous.

And yet, I love social media –  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.  I belong to some great communities on those platforms and I’d really  miss them in my life. It’s not the social media that’s the problem, it’s the content that’s pushed in our faces. We often can’t avoid the adverts that are sent to us, here’s one that made me spit with fury:

Because using it makes us feel bad about our real life faces?

This lovely young woman’s photograph is not real.  Her skin has been smoothed and tanned,  her hair colour enhanced and her teeth whitened. I am 100% sure she looked completely fine before this image of  perfection was presented to the world.  The effect? We feel we can’t show our real selves because we just don’t match up. How horrible. What happens when we want to go out? Are they working on a Facetune for real life? Probably. If it makes money. Because that’s what it’s all about – making money off your insecurities.

If you want to play with filters, and some of them are really fun, use ones that are obvious and give Facetune a big ole poke in the eye.  And follow some people who’ll make you feel better about yourself.  Here are my top five six Instagram accounts that are good for your mental health!

  1. @CelesteBarber – this woman is hilarious – her account parodies images of models and celebrities and she makes me laugh EVERY DAY. Improve your life. Just follow.

    Enter a caption
  2.  @lewiscapaldi – cute, funny, real, honest. I LOVE HIM. His stories are brilliant. He’s a bit sweary sometimes but, lets face it, so am I. His posts are pure joy.
  3. @the.naked.farmer – it’s not what you expect. And it is. All of life embraced.
  4.  @alwynhamilton – author of Rebel of the Sands, absolute icon for positive body image – her stories are just fab!
  5.  @mattzhaig – well known for his books about mental health, his feed is full of positive affirmation but also the reality of coping with anxiety.

Thanks to @mattzhaig for permission to reproduce

6. I have to include Karen Ball @didyoumakethat for her fantastic series of photographs with a stranger – it’s joyous!

Add your favourite accounts in the comments and share the love – you can never have enough positive influences. And if you want to follow me, I’m @KathrynEvansInk

Beauty Sleep out now. 

Beauty Sleep cover

A pacey, gripping, thriller – Sunday Express.  A Black Mirror twist on Sleeping Beauty – The Book Seller.

School visits via Authors Abroad. 

For Readers

Ten Tips to Support Authors You Love

I’ve got lots of friends with books coming out soon. Some of them are well established writers who already have a following but some of them are debut writers, who might struggle to get their books noticed amid all the noise and excitement that surrounds big name books. So what can we readers do to help?

  1. Pre-order the book. Pre-orders help nudge a book up the charts in the early days of sales, that helps the book bob to the top and be a little bit more visible.
  2. Order from your local book shop – I’ve just popped in to my Waterstone’s in Chichester to pre-order Kate Mallinder’s Summer of No Regrets and  Thomas Taylor’s  Summer of No Regrets (Paperback)Malamander - The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea (Paperback)Malamander. This ensures the books pass through a book seller’s hands and hopefully, once seen, they’ll order more in.
  3. Be excited about the books to other people, share on social media, tell people about it. I’m super excited to see Marie Basting’s first book, Princess BMX – what a great premise for a story! And when Candy Gourlay’s new book, Bone Talk, was shortlisted for the Costa, I made this video and shared it without shame!
  4. Leave good reviews. You don’t have to buy a book from Amazon to leave a review there and they really make a difference – if a book gets over 50 reviews, Amazon will start to promote it. And a lot of readers use Goodreads – I used to love it until I was published but now it is a very scary place – someone I know gave me 1 star (the worst you can get) for More of Me when it first came out – I think it was a mistake but I couldn’t tell them because I didn’t want to upset them. That 1 star dragged down the average for ages. And before any copies of Beauty Sleep were available, some one gave it 3 stars out of 5 – they couldn’t possibly have read it but again, that score will effect the average rating. So be kind, if you love a book, go give it  4 or 5 stars and help counter any of those kind of blips!
  5. Send a message to the writer or illustrator about how much you liked the book and why – they really will be touched. It can be a lonely old business and one fraught with self doubt.
  6. Share their posts on social media to boost their own efforts to shout about there books – it all helps. Apparently you need to see something seven times before it even makes an impression. Be part of their seven.
  7. Go and see them if they put on an event near you. Take pictures, tweet about it. Let your local paper know what a great time you had – kind readers have done this for me and it’s very wonderful.
  8. Vote for them. Competitions crop up for all sorts of things, if you see one and get the chance to vote, do.
  9. Join in if they’re running a competition – or get your children to join in. Huge thanks to Cathy Cassidy who is running a competition for me on her Dreamcatcher’s blog.
  10. Follow them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress – where ever – let them feel the love!

Now following my own advice, here are a couple more books I can not wait to get my paws on. Click the books for a sales link.

Patrice Lawrence

Voices: Diver's Daughter: A Tudor Story by [Lawrence, Patrice]

Karen Ball


Beauty Sleep, Books, Events, For Readers

Beauty Sleep – Let the Launching Begin

The last two weeks I have been all over the place celebrating book week and preparing for the launch of Beauty Sleep. I can’t get over how lucky I am that this is part of my job – thanks to all the lovely schools and book shops that have welcomed me so far. We’ve laughed and cried and I met Hercule Potatoe  Two more weeks to go – in which I return to my old school for the first time in 34 years. Nervous. Moi? It’s keeping me from my beauty sleep…

Beauty Sleep is available in all it’s shiny glory from all good book shops! Foyles Charing Cross and Forbidden Planet have signed copies!