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.
Drawing the line between artistic use and copyright can sometimes be quite difficult to do. Albanese’s article in Publisher’s Weekly covers this when talking about how Chooseco is suing Netflix for trademark infringement. This can be used as both a warning on monitoring your own work to see if it oversteps on copyright as well as an example of how people can create their own ideas based off of others. It is just important to ask others if it is okay to use their work in association with your own. Read the Deets here at Publisher’s Weekly: Chooseco Sues Netflix, Alleging ‘Bandersnatch’ Trademark Infringement
J.K. Rowling provides her tips on how to write as well as the ups and downs of being a writer in this article. One topic she emphasizes is that you should write the way you want and to toss all the advice on writing what the market currently wants. This I found to be particularly similar to Natalie Goldberg’s view in her book, Writing Down the Bones, where she said to write without the influence of your ego. This article seems to highlight that the most important thing to do is to write your truth. This idea creates an inspiration in all writers that their work is worth it.
CLICK HERE for the article.
Sarah J. Maas’s inspiring story of how Throne of Glass came to be is detailed in this interview on the UK’s Writers & Artists site. It’s an older piece, but Maas is a master, so it’s always timely. This article is a great read to know what her process of writing is like as well as find out the inspiration for her morally grey but highly lovable female assassin Celaena Sardothien.
Interview with Sarah J. Maas (from Writers & Artists)
In an interview with Sarah J Maas, YA author of The Throne of Glass books, she discusses writing fantasy, what inspires her to write & building up a huge online fan base – before getting a publishing deal.
What inspires you to write? Are there any books or writers that have influenced your work?
Music—especially movie scores and classical music—is usually my main source of inspiration. But I’m also inspired by art (I adore Pinterest), movies/tv, traveling, and history. As for writers/books that inspired me… Well, there are two books that I read when I was younger that really kindled my love for reading fantasy and my desire to write it: Garth Nix’s Sabriel and Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown. Both of them are set in wonderful fantasy worlds and feature strong, clever heroines. And then there’s Robert Munsch’s delightful children’s book, The Paper Bag Princess, which pretty much shaped who I am as a human being from the get-go (and which I made my parents read to me a bajillion times when I was a kid) . . . Read more at Writers & Artists UK by clicking HERE.
This quick opinion piece I found on THE CONVERSATION looks at the progression of female protagonists in young adult fiction as well as how much further they need to change. This really made me think of the importance in having female protagonists that are not the majority and how they can help readers feel more represented. Perhaps reading more protagonists that are different from ourselves can help us understand how others experience the world and apply it into our own lives.
For a great list of diverse-voice female heroine books, check out BIRACIAL BOOKWORMS LLC! Goodreads also has some huge lists of diverse books in many categories, so make sure you check them out. Happy Reading!
How female protagonists have changed – and stayed the same – in young adult fiction
Strong female protagonists in young adult fiction are nothing new. From Nancy Drew to Annemarie Johansen – Lois Lowry’s selfless heroine in Holocaust-era “Number the Stars” – to a plucky young Lucy Pevensie in “The Chronicles of Narnia,” young adult fiction has always enjoyed a healthy share of women ready to figure it all out, enlighten, and sometimes literally save the day.
But the female protagonists who star in this decade’s crop of young adult fiction show three interesting shifts . . . Continue reading on THE CONVERSATION by clicking HERE.
It’s no secret that I juggle WAY too many things at once. I blame it on a type-A personality and a brain that runs in overdrive. Which is why my blog has suffered (BAD ME) and is also why I reached out to my key audience, young adults, and asked, “HEY! Wanna be a contributing blogger??”
That act of begging immediately intrigued writer / college gal Kristen Gregg, who I have known for several years now. She’s a kick-butt writer in her own right and has been to several of my writing workshops. This powerhouse young woman is going places and the fact that she wants to be a literary agent when she graduates college makes her even cooler.
So, without further blathering, here is the 411 on Kristen! Her posts will appear here on Cape Cod Scribe along with her tagline so you know when it’s her content, versus my mindless rambling.
KRISTEN GREGG, Contributing Blogger
My name is Kristen Gregg and I am a Writing for Film, TV, and Emerging Media major at Ithaca College. I love fantasy and sci-fi novels and a slight fanatic of self-help books. My dream job is to become a literary agent where I can help writers achieve their dreams of seeing their name on the shelves of bookstores, which is a dream I am in the process of as well.