Sidlesham’s Kathryn Evans explores identity and what it means to grow up, in a debut novel sure to make an impact.
Published by Usborne for the young adult market, More of Me is already getting huge positive feedback, people loving its intriguing premise.
“It came from a lot of ideas, but the core was that feeling you get when you have not done something you should have done and you are cursing yourself. And it is almost like you are angry with another self, almost like you are disconnected.”
The notion also goes back to Kathryn’s childhood – or rather the way she looks back on that childhood now: “I didn’t have a particularly-happy childhood. I was not a very happy child. My mother died when I was young, and you can’t take somebody’s mother away and not leave a great gaping hole of grief. But I look back now on that little child that I was, and I feel a million miles away from her. I feel pity for her, and I feel disconnected. I don’t feel it is me. But then I started thinking ‘What if that younger version of myself still existed?’ I started wondering ‘What if you could talk to that younger version of yourself.”
The thought paved the way for More of Me, a contemporary tale (the school it depicts, though not named, is actually Chichester’s Bishop Luffa), but a tale with an element of sci-fi.
The book is the story of Teva. She is sixteen, she goes to school, studies for her exams and spends time with her boyfriend Ollie and best friend Maddy. To the rest of the world, she’s normal.
But when she goes home, she’s anything but. Because at home there are twelve other Tevas – nearly one for every year she’s been alive. Because once a year, Teva separates into two, leaving a younger version of herself stuck at the same age, in the same house…watching the new Teva live the life that she’d been living.
And since Teva entered her teens, her strange existence has become a battleground. Because when suddenly there are boys at stake, friends lost and lives snatched away, Teva has a fight on her hands… with herself.
As her sixteenth year rolls around, Teva is all too aware that time is running out. She knows that another version of herself will soon be breaking free and taking over her life, and her future. Desperate to prevent this from happening, Teva decides to find out more about her past. In doing so, she finds new empathy for her younger selves and, when she comes head to head with her fifteen-year-old ‘sister’, she comes to realise just what a difference a year can make.
Kathryn is thrilled at the positive response the book, published on February 1, is getting – not least because it is the end of a very long journey.
“It has taken a very, very long time to get here. 15 years… because I don’t think what I wrote before was good enough. I got an agent five years ago, and my first novel didn’t sell. It didn’t get picked up. But having written this book, I know now it just wasn’t good enough. I just know this is the best thing I have written… so far! I was writing all the time, but I think I have grown so much as a writer. I have spent the past 15 years learning my craft.”
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