Interview with Kristine Carlson Asselin
Kristine Asselin is the author of both works nonfiction and fiction. She writes both YA and children’s and is currently working on Falling for Wonder Boythat will be published through Wicked Whale Publishing. In this interview, she touches upon how she writes and the publishing industry.
Falling for Wonder Boy seems like it will represent how society is today: a busy world where kids are having to learn to balance responsibilities and relationships. What a better sport than golf to show the need for focus in today’s world. What was your inspiration for this book, was it anything to do with the added work that seemed to be placed on kids these days?
That’s a great question. This book is actually very much inspired about my own experiences as a teen. My parents managed a golf course while I was in high school and college. Golf was both my part-time job and obsession for several summers. As a girl playing golf in Central Massachusetts, my only competition was my brother (no competition actually, he WAS the phenom) and adorable preppy boys.
I’ve been working on this book for years, and over time, it’s taken on a more contemporary theme, that of focus and pressure on kids. I always thought the golf course would make a great backdrop for a young adult novel, and I hope I’ve painted a picture that both represents my childhood, as well as highlights a sport that is relatively underrepresented in children’s literature.
You have written numerous types of books, from nonfiction to short stories to YA fiction. Do you have a writing process that is the same for each kind of book? If not, how are they different and do you have a favorite type you enjoy writing?
I have had the honor of writing a lot of different genres, and I’m thankful for all of those opportunities because I think every project has made me a better writer. I’m sad to say I don’t have a tried and true process—every new book feels different. My biggest challenge is getting to the “muddy” middle and trying to push through to the end. I have so many really great starts of books that are floating around on my computer waiting for inspiration to finish them.
My favorite type of project is taking some thread of reality, some anecdote or moment, and spinning it into a scene or a hook for a new book.
You have published books through a variety of ways and publishers. Do you have a preference on how you like to publish books?
I’ve published traditionally. I’ve done work-for-hire and freelance. I’ve published with a small press. I’ve published digital-only. And now I’ve published independently. They all have their pros and cons—I loved publishing traditionally and seeing my book show up in national chain books stores. That was a dream come true. But I also love the control I’ve had with publishing independently. Especially with someone like K.R. Conway as a mentor and adviser helping along the way.
Do you have any advice on how to publish a book? Are there certain publishing routes that are suited better for different kinds of books?
I think my best advice is to write the book. “Butt in Chair,” as Jane Yolen says, and write the book. And then revise the book. Worry about how and where you’re going to publish later.
I’m a query consultant and I read a lot of queries. The most common thread with queries I see is that the book isn’t ready. You can have the best query in the world, but if the book isn’t ready, you’re not going to sell the book to an agent, an editor, or a reader. Focus on making the book the best you can, and then worry about the next step.
Lastly, are you a plotter or a pantser and why is that?
Sadly, I’m a pantser. I *wish* I could be a better plotter, and I try constantly to outline and plot. But those characters are always doing things I don’t plan on and making different decisions! I will continue to try to outline because I know I could work faster with a detailed outline!
ABOUT KRISTINE CARLSON ASSELIN
Kristine Asselin writes MG fantasy and contemporary YA. She grew up on a small, family-owned golf course in Central Massachusetts, which was the inspiration for Falling for Wonder Boy. She is also the author of sixteen works of children’s nonfiction as well as the YA novel Any Way You Slice It and co-author of the middle grade novel The Art of the Swap.
She loves being a Girl Scout leader and a Library Trustee, and volunteering with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her alter-ego is The Query Godmother and she loves critiquing queries and helping people with submission packages. She lives on the outskirts of Boston with her teen daughter and husband, and is represented by Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.