Writing Advice

Why Writers Need Friends.

kathy-evans-8101422-smallI’ve been looking through my ideas file for the next thing I want to work on, and  found something I want to share with you, especially if you are an unpublished writer feeling like it’s never going to happen.

It’s from 2010,  the early days of Facebook and it mattered to me so much, I  screenshot the thread and saved it.

I posted:

  Kathryn Evans would like to feel a little more positive about the possibility of ever getting a book deal but, shall instead, be grateful for what she’s got. Honest.

I hope the lovely people who replied don’t mind me sharing their responses, here are a few of them – I’ve redacted their names just in case!

Jxx

It’ll happen, you’re a talented writer! I remember thinking that at Miriam’s Winchester workshop the year before last!

Yesterday at 12:06 ·

Mxx

me too! :o)

Yesterday at 12:07 ·

Jxx

It will probably happen when you least expect it……

Yesterday at 12:10 ·

Axx

And you are allowed a grrrrrrrr in the meantime…..

Yesterday at 12:36 ·

Jxx

oh most definitely… should we have a group ‘grrrrrrrrrrrr’ for you?

Yesterday at 12:37 ·

Kathryn Evans

Group ‘grrrr’ much appreciated and thanks guys……it was something Cxx said about 3 out of 300 subs from agents being accepted by an editor last year… from agents…..I know the talent level out there is phenomenal – which IS great for children’s literature but, but, but….

Yesterday at 13:11 ·

Exx

The book I spent 19 months writing has had 7 rejections to date so I can sympathise Kathryn. Every reason under the sun given from – it’s got a boy as the main protagonist (God forbid!) to – it’s too issue driven and not my usual light comedy. It does start to get me down sometimes but as you say, it’s important to be grateful for the royalties that keep my affloat while I’m waiting! Keep smiling. 🙂

Yesterday at 13:41 ·

Nxx

I will join with you in ggggggggggrrrrrrrrrr-ing! Especially when I hear people wittering on about “trends”…

Yesterday at 14:13 ·

Txx

I wish I could make you feel better but I can’t, except perhaps to say, I’m sure it will happen and I love Shem  and when it does happen I want a signed copy and an interview for my blog and an invite to the book publication party and… well, here’s a virtual hug in the mean time (( xx ))

Yesterday at 14:20 ·

Exx

Positive attracts positive. When you send it out visualise it being accepted. Hold the positive thought in your mind and believe. It works for many things including parking spots!

Yesterday at 14:26 ·

 

Nxx

I wouldn’t stress about probabilities – I mean what was the chance of you getting an agent in the first place? But I absolutely share your frustration. Grrrr, indeed.

Yesterday at 14:39 ·

Lxx

You’ll get there, Kathryn! It’s just taking longer for everyone’s manuscripts to find a home. So many editors have lost their jobs that it’s making them gun shy. But they still need books to publish… 🙂

Yesterday at 15:10 ·

Dxx

You will get there. You ARE getting there. Me too and we shall each have our books in stores at the same time! I shall see your titles and you shall see mine. We shall each have little endcaps. Pact? Intend it, baby!

Yesterday at 16:50 ·

 

Jxx

oh I know i can’t say anything knowledgeable about publishing (except there are some mad ones out there because Dylan and Mouse hasn’t been published yet) but….as soon as it happens, I’ll be first in the queue at Waterstones!!xx

Yesterday at 17:49 ·

Bxx

It’ll happen.
Bx

Yesterday at 18:12 ·

Mxx

We know the odds are stacked against us, but we still do it. Just keep swimming xxx

Yesterday at 18:20 ·

Lxx

and i’ll be right behind you Julie saying in a very loud voice “‘ of course Kathy and i go WAY back….we were at Uni together you know!!”

Yesterday at 19:51 ·

Kathryn Evans

LOl – oh you lot are fab –  ….. I so badly want an editor. There, I’ve said it, they make good books great. Yep Mxx, just keeping on swimming :O)

Yesterday at 20:07 ·

 

Pxx

Kathy. “Hi!” Just logged on for the first time today. The editor Cxx is referring to is, I believe, J-H-W and I’ve no reason to doubt her if she claims that she only went for 3 out of the 300 agency-submitted manuscripts… but if every editor chooses a different 3 out of 300, what’s to say that one of your manuscripts won’t be one of them? You have talent. You have an agent and you have perseverance. A winning combination, I reckon.

Yesterday at 22:13 ·

Kathryn Evans

Dxx – most of the time I do, honestly, just now and again, gah! You know…Pxx you are a nice man :O) I hadn’t actually thought that – some of those 300 would be subbed elsewhere, true enough x

Yesterday at 23:11 ·

 

Cxx

oh but i think your writing does stand out. it’s just a matter of finding the right editor … i think getting that yes isn’t like a love-in, the editor has to fall head over heels for all the right reasons. i know people who are disappointed with their writing life because they are taken on for the wrong reasons (eg commercial ideas, exploitable). i have to say though that i felt exactly like you did last year.

4 hours ago ·

Kathryn Evans

I shall print these comments off and stick them to the inside of my brain x

 

I did print them off, and they kept me going until the right manuscript, and my super agent, Sophie Hicks, cracked it.

 

More of Me was published in 2016, my next novel comes out early next year – I’m still not supposed to talk about it but it won’t hurt to tell you that Shem, one of the characters mentioned above, lives again – different story, same boy. Nothing is ever wasted – which is why I’m going back through my old files and why you, if you are still trying to break through, should keep going.

Lean on your friends, join a writer’s group, if you’re a children’s book writer or illustrator join SCBWI,  try and bump over the disappointments and revel in the highs. I’ve said it so many times but if you are a writer, you have no choice so you might as well get on with it and try and enjoy the  ride. Your pals will help. They really will.

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Most of my lovely CHi-SCBWI group!
Events

Book Week 2018 (A bit belated)

I had an amazing book week earlier this year but I haven’t posted about it yet for reasons that will become apparent…

First stop was  Torbridge High in Plymouth, where they matched their book of the week poster with my galaxy hair! This was such a lovely welcoming school, I had a fabulous day.

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I travelled North via Bath  fulfilling a dream to visit this amazing city… I even got a chance to swim in the legendary spa waters – though not these ones, that’s not allowed…

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I arrived in Gloucester, where even though it  snowed, only one school cancelled. I arrived early at a very organised Katherine Lady Berkeley School:

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I caught up with wonderful author Bryony Pearce before moving on to Wycliffe where they absolutely spoiled me rotten!

I was so glad I made it. It started snowing pretty seriously and my next school had to cancel but I squeezed in one more, and I’m so glad I did,  Dean Close School was an absolute delight – they even put me up for an extra night because I got snowed in!

 

Thankfully I got back in time for a  Very Important Fencing Competition in London. If I came in the top 3, I had a high chance of being selected to represent Great Britain. And guess what?

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I did!

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Unfortunately I didn’t get selected – I’ve missed a lot of competitions from injury and illness and I don’t have experience of fencing abroad – all things to work on – one day it’ll happen!

After the competition I headed back to the South West for the Concorde Book Awards which was HUGE fun . I won Author Top Trumps and Author 101 but I was only runner up in the actual award which went to Joshua Khan – curse him! Still, I did get to hear the pupils talking about More of Me which was amazing!

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And then…I was laid low by the flu.  And that is why this post didn’t get written because there is no pushing through with the flu. No amount of Lemsip will make your limbs work, or your brain function in a normal  way so I gave in and spent a fortnight quietly editing my new book from my sofa.

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To be fair, there are worse places to work…

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I’m fully recovered now, my edits have been turned in and I’m nearly finished writing my third book so it’s about time I caught up on blogging.

P.s. I’ve already got two schools booked in for Book Week 2019,  so do get in touch with Author’s Abroad if you’d like to book me. I’ve got something super exciting planned for next spring too – because after a mere three years, I’ll have a new book! There’ll be a new talk on Self Esteem and Social Media that will definitely feature my very swollen lips after an encounter with tooth whitening toothpaste…

Kathryn Evans is an award winning author and accomplished public speaker – if you’d like to book her for an event, please contact Authors Abroad.

Books, For Readers, More of Me

And the winner is…Bold, Brilliant and Bonkers.

By Kathryn Evans

Bold, brilliant and bonkers? Me? Well, maybe, but I think Addy Farmer was talking about my book in this fabulous video of the SCBWI Crystal Kite for Uk and Ireland:

And proving that she was probably right about me, this is what I was wearing when I received the award…


I know, I know but it was fancy dress?! ( Gold star if you know who I was???)

Huge congratulations to the other shortlisted authors, Patrice Lawrence, Eugene Lambert, Ally Sherrick, Peter Bunzl and Sue Wallman – I read and loved all your  books. If it was a Strictly vote I’d have run up quite a phone bill and possibly done myself out of a SHINY THING.

Happy sigh….

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Writing Advice

Top Tips for New Writers

By Kathryn Evans

School visits are always over too quickly – here’s a little motivational video for the fab writers I meet when I’m out and about 🙂

And here’s another on developing characters!

Feel free to ask questions!

Events

Author Visits with Kathryn Evans

What  does an author do on school visits? What’s the point of them?

Continue reading “Author Visits with Kathryn Evans”

Events

Edinburgh Book Festival: 2017

In which I nearly miss the most exciting event of my writing life.

Last year I was invited to take part in Edinburgh International Book Festival. I was very over excited – it was my first major event as a published author and I had a hard job believing I was actual there….

In my actual life.

Jo Cotterill held my hand and we put on a pretty good show. We laughed a lot. AND THEN…

Thanks to a huge number of wonderful voters, who I will forever be indebted to, More of Me became the very first YA novel ever to win the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award. Roll on a year…and EIBF invited me back!

You’d think I’d have calmed down a bit after a year wouldn’t you? Well…non. I was even more excited because I knew how much fun I was going to have. I had two events planned, and  it was my turn to hold the hand of a new girl – a real honour  that was too  because I loved Penny Joelson’s unusual debut, I Have No Secrets. But firstly…firstly I was on a panel discussing gender in books and toys, hosted by South East Scotland SCWBI co-ordinators Sarah Broadley and Anita Gallo. And on the panel with me….

JONATHAN STROUD AND DAVID LEVITHAN.

I nearly wee’d myself when I found out.

I know.

I am so not cool,  but it’s true.

I devoured Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood series and David Levithan wrote one of my all time EVER favorite books, Everyday. And I was on a panel. With them both.

The big day arrived – I had a comfortable six hours between arriving in Scotland and going on stage. So comfortable I planned to see Tanya Landman and Laura Dockrill’s event before my own.  I arrived at the airport super early, paranoid, as ever, about being late, and checked in my bag (too big for the cabin because it’s full of ridiculous petticoats) – then I settled down with a cup of tea and my laptop and wondered if it’s okay to take a picture of the large number of armed police eating cake in Costa.

Armed Police eating cake
Couldn’t resist…

I wrote a bit, tweeted a bit and then looked up at the departures board. I blinked. I couldn’t be reading the board right. My flight was delayed by three hours. THREE HOURS.  I hurried to the harassed looking woman on the desk – could I get on a different flight?  No – because I’d checked in a bag.

Oh My Actual….AAAARGH!!!!

Three hours. I had no choice, I had to calm down and wait- it still left me a cushion of three hours. We’d be boarding at 2.55. It would be fine. I rang the wonderful Roxburghe Hotel where the fabulous James organised a meet and greet taxi for me. I let the festival know I was running late but I would be there. I repeated, it would be fine. Fine. 2.55 came….and went. With no further information at all. The tiny airport was  crammed with people from other delayed flights. I returned to the harassed airport staff to ask what was happening with my flight. The woman looked at me like I’d spat in her tea and said,

“It’s been delayed.”

“I know that, but can you give me any idea when it will be taking off, I have a really important event I need to get to.”

“No. I can’t.”

“Just roughly? Please? I need to let people know if I’m not going to make it.”

I was nearly crying by this point, and trying very hard to keep my cool. She poked a few buttons other computer –

“There’s been an electrical storm, the plane has diverted, it should be here in the next 30 minutes.”

That had to do, I sat down and waited. And waited. Half an hour came and

…went.

My plane eventually arrived and so did I, in Edinburgh, with 5 minutes to spare.

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Anita Gallo, Kathryn Evans, Jonathan Stroud, David Levithan, Sarah Broadley.

I threw on my frock and raced across the road to the festival. I’d missed Tanya and Laura’s event, I had no time to curl my hair or iron my dress but I’d made it. The event had sold out, the audience were fantastic, the night was one of the high points of my author life – to think I could have missed it…

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Edinburgh Book Festival lived up to it’s reputation in my heart for being a little corner of book heaven. I met up with pals, both writers and not writers; hugged the wonderful Book Witch ( if you don’t follow her blog – you should, it’s brill); had breakfast with Juno Dawson,  opposite Eddie Redmayne’s gorgeous little girl (and her Mum and Dad, also gorgeous);  I met readers.

The festival sold out of my books; I spent more than I should on other people’s books; I fan-girled a bit (a lot);  I went to a drop in workshop run by Jonathan Stroud  where Christopher Edge and I invented a brilliant game of Snakes and Ladders called:

How to Make It Big in Books.

(Rights still available)

And finally, I had my picture taken by the amazing Chris Close.

Genuinely, there is no happier place for a writer and a reader than Edinburgh International Book Festival. If I don’t get invited as a writer next year, I’ll be going as a reader 🙂

Kathryn Evans is the author of More of Me, winner of the 2016 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award, nominated for the Carnegie medal and  winner of the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award 2017

Events

Edinburgh International Book Festival

I am SO EXCITED!!!

I still have  a week until I head up to Edinburgh for the festival but I can’t sit still. I’ve already had my hair done and my petticoats are packed.  Continue reading “Edinburgh International Book Festival”

Book Reviews

A Storm of Strawberries

By Kathryn Evans

If you don’t know me very well, you may not know that as well as being a writer, I also run a soft fruit farm with my husband. Last year, the world of words and the world of fruit collided in the most serendipitous way.

I was asked to do  an event with author, Jo Cotterill at the  Edinburgh International Book Festival. We put on a pretty good show – and had a ball – so when she asked me if she could come down to the  farm to research her new book, A Storm of Strawberries, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Kathryn Evans and Jo Cotterill
Kathryn Evans and Jo Cotterill sign piles of books!

 

I told Jo all about the realities of farming ( she captures the distracting stress of the parents in her book brilliantly) and we had a tour around so she could see what a hi-tech business soft fruit growing is now – although still very much at the mercy of the weather- storms are very frightening and quite often, very expensive – here’s a post I wrote after a real life storm on our farm.

 

We were just having another cup of tea when something horribly sad happened.  My husband came in to tell me he’d found  my adored young cat, Pike,  dead in our driveway.

I raced to my cat and as I picked up his little body, trying to puzzle out what had happened,  I felt a hard  pellet under his skin. Somebody had shot my beautiful Pike with an air rifle. I was heartbroken. Pike wasn’t very clever but he was incredibly friendly. He was so loving, in fact, that it was hard to get any work done because of his demands for cuddles. Here’s a video I made, after he’d died:

 

I brought Pike home, wrapped him up and tried to finish giving Jo all the information she needed for her book – she’d travelled a long way and I didn’t want her to have wasted her time. When she left, I took Pike to the vet so they could confirm what I suspected. Yes, indeed, someone had deliberately taken his life. I reported it to the police – it is a crime – and they took it very seriously. I wrote an open letter to the killer that was shared far and  wide and even made the radio and the press  but we never found out who  had done such a horrible thing.

We buried Pike in our garden and one of my lovely friends  sent me a cherry tree to mark the spot where he is. I still miss him, it’s rare to have such an adoring little creature land in your life, but I’m grateful I had a little while with him.

Then Jo’s book came out, A Storm of Strawberries,  and right on the cover, is the silhouette of a little cat, my little cat.

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Not only that, at the end of the story – which, by the way, is a story so full of love and heart  it near made mine burst – Pike gets a mention.

My funny little boy cat has been immortalized in a wonderful story.

What a gift.

Thank you so much Jo – I’m so happy our worlds collided xxx

 

Authors Misbehaving
Books, For Readers, More of Me

Redbridge Book Award

More of Me has  been shortlisted for a few regional awards which is absolutely lovely. Even lovelier is that you get invited to award ceremonies that are heaps of fun. This week I was in Redbridge  with Teri Terry, Anne Cassidy, Christopher Edge and Peter Bunzl.

We were spoiled rotten with an amazing lunch – I ate all the cake before it could be photographed but you know, if you will serve macaron that perfectly match my hair, I am going to eat them.

There was a quiz in which I answered all the questions about More of Me without any help from Peter Bunzl. I’m such a fibber! How do you forget things from your own book!!?  Mind you, I wasn’t alone, cough, cough… Needless to say, the author table did not win the quiz.

We did all enjoy answering  the very interesting, beautifully phrased questions, such as:

Do you magpie away ideas?

Yes! We all do. We pick up all the shiny ideas and squirrel them away .

As if we weren’t spoiled enough, we were given flowers and certificates.

Kathryn Evans And Teri Terry

It was huge fun and then someone gave Christopher Edge an award and it went completely to his head….

 

 

 

Books, For Readers, More of Me

The Shiniest More of Me of all – Einzig!

Look at this German edition of More of Me – it is SO SHINY! I adore it.