Kathryn Evans' debut novel, More of Me, has been nominated for the 2017 Carnegie Medal and is the winner of the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Award 2016. More of Me is about Teva, a girl who every year, sheds her body, and now she's just stolen everything from Teva 15's life.
|Kathryn Evans, Diesel and a raspberry field|
WSD: Your book group is called The Papercuts! Is there a story behind that name and did it provide any inspiration for Teva's separations?
Kathryn Evans: There is – but it came a long time before the idea for More of Me – my book group was begun by a friend from my son’s primary school probably eight years ago? A long time anyway – and at our first meeting (I think the book was A Gathering Light which I loved) her youngest daughter got out of bed to show us a papercut on her finger. We were trying to think of a group name at the time and it seemed auspicious so we kept it. We still meet every six weeks so I think it worked!
WSD: More of Me is part science fiction (or not!) and part contemporary high-school frolics. Which
KE: That’s such a good question – it really is a blend. I am a reading floozy – I will read anything
and everything and have
done since I was tiny. My writing is a product of all I’ve read - I love how
writers like Orwell and Huxley and Atwood use sci-fi concepts to make social
commentary. Equally, I adore character led books from Hardy and Dickens to
books with wonderful characters like Bridget Jones and Georgia Nicholson. As a
person… Well, I have a peculiar mix of hobbies. I belly dance and fence and
I’m a citizen scientist on Zooniverse! Science fascinates me – the
endless “What If?” possibilities.
I think, in YA, you have the freedom to bring any elements together to create really unusual stories that address some quite tricky issues – More of Me is a giant metaphor for growing up, how painful it is, how difficult to balance all the things that are expected of you. My new book looks at family in a similar way. I think I am the writer and the person I am because of the reader that I am.
WSD: If you could have been one of the Teva's, which one would you be?
KE: There’s a little bit of me in all of them…the sad little girl that Six is, the fireball that is Fifteen…I’d like to say I’d choose to be Teva at the end of the book but in truth, I think I’d choose to be Fifteen. She’s so gutsy. Angry yes, but so driven!
|Kathryn Evans and Widget, the cat|
KE: I love dogs but for me, a house is not a home without a cat. Don’t ask me why, barbaric little beasts. It’s something about their wildness, and the fact they will trust and bond with you despite that wildness. I don’t know, I can’t explain it - I was heartbroken earlier this year when someone shot one of my kittens. The picture shows me with Widget, we inherited him from my Ma-in Law – he’s a grumpy old grandad and I adore him.
WSD: Who is Peepee? (note: Peepee is a comfort toy in More of Me)
KE: The original Peepee belongs to a gorgeous young man called Ludo – Peepee goes everywhere Ludo goes and is a soggy rag of love. He got left at my house once – I had to post him to a campsite in North Wales so they could be reunited – it was very stressful!
KE: It’s my husband’s nickname for me – his favorite novel is Neville Shute’s A Town Like Alice, and it’s kind of the nickname Joe Harman gives Jean because she makes herself so at home in Malaysia. My husband says I could make myself at home anywhere and it’s probably true. I love travelling but I can’t be trusted in a posh hotel – I’ll have the washing hanging out on the balcony by day two.
Kathryn Evans is author of More of Me, published by Usborne. Follow Kathryn on Twitter @MrsBung and Facebook @kathrynevansauthor.
Here's the link to Kathryn's post 'to the person who shot our cat'. Tissues, people, tissues, at least tissues.