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!!!

Writing Advice

Online Summer Creative Writing Workshops with Kathryn Evans


I’m an award winning author of books for teens, part of the BBC teach series for English and an experienced workshop tutor. This summer I’ve taken my workshops online so if you have a budding writer in your family, why not sign them up for the first one? Ideas, Plot & Structure. There are 2 age groups 9-11 and 12 to 16. Places are limited and it’s only £12 for 90 minutes of inspiring, fun and informative teaching!

Book Here!

DBS checked. Free, confidential places for disadvantaged children.

Writing Advice

Beauty Sleep Wins Crime Fest Award

I’m a tiny bit proud of this one… washed my hair and everything.

Our Corona Diary

How Our Corona Diary Began.

The original letter Kathryn Evans wrote to all school children.

Dear Children wether you are off school (or not!) ,

I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a way to help the thousands of you now suddenly off school for who knows how long.  A big part of my job as a writer is going into schools and talking to young people about the themes of my books and creative writing.  I already miss the challenging questions, the cheeky interruptions, the INCREDIBLE ideas and enthusiasm.

Cropped KE with small gp

Last night, I was writing to some of my Book Pen Pal schools with a heavy heart. My role in that organisation is to recommend books to encourage children to read for pleasure. I love being part of it but I felt I couldn’t recommend a book that so many children would not be able to get hold of  – schools and libraries have closed and not everyone has spare cash, for books, especially now so many are temporarily out of work.

My book pen pal suggestion, earlier in March, was The Diary of Anne Frank. I read it recently and was struck but how completely ordinary it was and yet completely captivating. I really felt I knew that young woman, through her writing, and it’s such a precious document of a horrible time.  It gave me an idea.

Instead of reading a book, let’s write one. Together. All you need to do is keep a diary of all the ordinary and extraordinary things that will happen and I’ll figure out the rest.

You will be heard. Stay well, much love Kathryn


PS If you want to know what book I would recommend through all this though, it’s another diary! Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging – guaranteed to make you laugh!

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”

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:

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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. 

Beauty Sleep, Books, For Readers

New Year, New Book

It is January the 3rd 2019 which means I can officially say I have a book coming out THIS YEAR. It’s taken me long enough – it’s been three years since More of Me came out in the UK but I handed in my copy edits on Christmas Eve.  I made some fairly major changes to the end, even though it had already gone out to some lovely people to read.

The fabulous author of The Extinction Trials,  S. M .Wilson gave me my very first Beauty Sleep review:

Read a brilliant book this weekend Beauty Sleep by A fantastic story which reads like a feature length episode of Black Mirror, with just enough creep factor to keep you on the edge of your seat! Loved it!

You can read the first chapter in The Usborne YA newsletter.  Complete with the stunning cover that Will Steele designed for it.

I’ll probably still want to tweak it a bit forever but…


I’m actually really pleased with it 🙂

Beauty Sleep…

Laura was dying. There was no cure for her illness. So her family decided to grasp a desperate last hope – Laura was frozen until she could be cured.

But what happens when you wake up one day and the world has moved on forty years? Your best friend is middle-aged, your parents presumed dead. Could you find a new place to belong? Could you build a new life – while solving the mystery of what happened to the old one?

Dark secrets lurk in the future of the girl from the past…

Available for Pre-order from:

Your local book shop.



Beauty Sleep, Books, For Readers, More of Me

Secret Content – Hidden Auras!

I’ve just been to the fabulous SCBWI annual conference and I learned a thing! Well, I learned lots of things but here’s a really fun thing you can join in with.

You will need:

A smart phone.

The HP Reveal app.

A copy of More of Me.

How to find the hidden content:

Download the app, discover and follow me: KathrynEvansAuthor

Scan the cover with the app to find the hidden content – let me know what you find!

I’m on Twitter @KathrynEvansInk Instagram, Facebook @KathrynEvansAuthor and Snapchat: KathrynEvansInk (no wonder I’m so far behind with my work…)


PS, If you can’t find a copy of More of Me, you can find some of the content by scanning the cover below…

More of Me new show card new