In search of inspiration, Caroline Deacon invites established writers and illustrators to tell us about their creative space. This month features Kathryn Evans, Co-Regional Advisor for SCWBI-BI and author of the Carnegie nominated novel, More of Me.

Tell us about your creative space.
For years and years, I dreamt of having my own library where I could work uninterrupted. I got the library but not the life that goes with it. Running a busy farm office and raising two children meant that my workspace was multifunctional and practical. I have a bad back so my son cobbled together a standing desk and people randomly leave paperwork for me to deal with on my desk. Add to the mix the many animals that just HAVE to be within three feet of me at all times and that’s pretty much my space. Overcrowded, untidy, invaded. I’ve learned to work in the pockets of peace between other responsibilities.

Kathryn in her busy, productive workspace. 

Do you need particular prompts to get started?
Deadlines help! And to remember the clock is ticking on life.

Your creative tools - what are they?
I’ve got a bit of a process. The germ of an idea gets scribbled in a notebook and then I think about how I can make it work and what I want the story to say. Then I use Scrivener to write my first draft until it’s ready to send to my agent. Then I export it to word and edit from there. I try and edit with purpose and not go back and forward – if I spot something that needs changing I’ll make a note and go back to it in another pass.

Do you have a routine?
I have a really busy life – too busy if I’m honest – every day is different but they all have one thing in common, I fit writing in whenever I have a spare minute. It’s not good really, I never feel like I have nothing to do. I need to work on my downtime.

What is the best creative advice you’ve been given?
To join SCBWI and learn my craft.

Favourite ‘how to’ book about writing.
Stephen King’s On Writing – it’s a really good read but it’s full of great advice too.

Does exercise help the creative process?
Yes! Walking is key to unblocking plot problems – my dog is an essential part of the writing process.

Planner or Pantser?
By nature, I’m a pantser but I’ve learned to plot at least the beginning and the end and a few other key points along the way. I don’t plan enough though. I always end up doing a lot of editing.

And why children?
I wasn’t a very happy child so I guess I’m writing for that kid to try and make her see that the world can be different, things do get better, you have more power than you think. And I like that ‘genre’ doesn’t mean very much in young adult fiction – you can mash everything together and make something new and fresh. In my YA novels, I take contemporary themes and relationships, put them in a sci-fi context with a thriller framework and season them with a bit of creepy horror. Maybe you can do that in adult novels but I always felt right in children’s fiction. I didn’t even think about it, to be honest.

Kathryn’s first novel More of Me, won the Edinburgh Book Festival First Book Award, the SCWBI Crystal Kite Award, and was nominated for a Carnegie medal. Her latest novel Beauty Sleep has already been nominated for several awards. As well as writing YA, she flirts with poetry, fences competitively, belly dances for fun and runs a farm with her husband on the South Coast of England. Kathryn has two children who are mostly grown up and two cats and a puppy who mostly are not.

You can buy Kathryn's books at all good bookstores and online merchandiser

Caroline Deacon lives in Edinburgh and is the author of several childcare books. She now writes MG and YA and is agented by Lindsay Fraser of Fraser Ross Associates, Edinburgh. Find her on Twitter @writingdilemmas and at

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