Thanks so much to the Sporty Girls Books team for inviting me to post!
My name is Katie Van Ark and I wasn't always a sporty girl. In elementary school, I was overweight and my lack of depth perception due to vision problems (I have double “lazy eye”) meant I pretty much sucked at any sports involving a ball. I failed volleyball in gym class. I was so bad at tennis that when our school got a new student who was a refugee from a third world country, the teacher placed her just above me in the rankings, figuring no one could possibly be worse than me.
I started swimming in middle school and the sport saved me. I finally got into shape, started eating more healthy, and felt good about myself. I made the varsity team in high school and went on to swim in college, where my event was the mile! After college I wanted to stay in shape but was ready for a change after spending years being chlorinated. A friend of mine from my high school team and I decided to sign up for classes on Egyptian belly dancing and figure skating. While belly dancing was fun (and a great workout), it was skating that won our hearts and we both went on to compete (and medal) at the U.S. Figure Skating Adult National Championships. Now that I have two sporty daughters, I don't have as much time to train but I enjoy skating with my synchronized team for fun, exercise, and friendship.
Sports were a challenge for me but my experiences with swimming and skating taught me a lot about dedication and discipline and gave me the belief that I could really do anything I put my mind to. So I decided to take on another project and write a sporty book. I'm excited to announce the upcoming release of my figure skating novel, being published by MacMillan's Swoon Reads imprint in February 2015. The novel is titled The Boy Next Door, and it's a young adult love story about two teenagers who are next door neighbors as well as figure skating partners.
Here's the book description:
Maddy Spier's been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls. How can she make him realize that they can be partners off the ice as well?
Gabe’s relationship with Maddy is vital. He can’t imagine skating with anyone else, and together they have a real chance at gold–maybe even making it to the Olympics! So he’s decided to think of her as a sister. After all, family is forever, but he’s never dated anyone for more than two weeks.
Then their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, and everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big break-up that Gabe has always feared?
The book is available for pre-order from Amazon now, but here's the most exciting part. All sporty girls are invited to help choose the book's cover! The cover contest will be posted on the Swoon Reads blog, tentatively on June 2!
I'm excited to connect with more sporty girls and hope you'll visit me online at www.katievanark.com. I'd also love to share discussions about sporty girl books on Goodreads.