Welcome to SPORTY GIRL BOOKS. At SPORTY GIRL, we want to give all girls the chance to love, watch, play, read, and write about any sport that interests them. We look forward to the day when the words, "You play like a girl," is the biggest compliment anyone can receive.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Book Birthday to Kristine Carlson Asselin for ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT

AJ: This week on Sporty Girl Books we are thrilled to feature one of our own contributors, Kris Asselin! Kris's brand new book, ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT, launches today and I'm so lucky to get to interview her. You never know a friend so well that a few questions can't give you some more information-- Twitter Pitch Contest Winner, Query Godmother, Awesome Blog Tour? READ ON!

KA: I’m so excited that Any Way You Slice It is out in the world! And I’m thrilled to be interviewed on Sporty Girl Books—a blog that is very near and dear to my heart!

AJ: I understand this book had an interesting journey. Tell me about it.

KA: My editor expressed interest in a book that I pitched on Brenda Drake’s twitter contest #pitmad in May 2013. It wasn’t quite right for her new list, so she asked me to pitch something else with a sporty girl theme. I had five ideas that I pitched, and she chose the plot of AWYSI. But then I had to write it! I wrote it during NaNoWriMo 2013 and turned in the “final” draft in March 2014. Revision took about seven months, and then copy-editing and design. From the acceptance of the original one-paragraph pitch, it took about 18 months to launch.

AJ: On your website, you call yourself the Query Godmother. What are three query techniques that helped you land this book contract?

KA: I *do* call myself the Query Godmother, so it’s funny that this book didn’t actually ever get queried! It’s because after querying 150 times (probably more) for other projects through a couple of different agent searches, I fancy myself a bit of an experienced querier—if not an expert. Here are three tips that share with people.

1.     Keep it short and sweet—keep your query to no more than one page, and preferably no more than three paragraphs. Boil the synopsis down to one really tight paragraph—the most important plot line. This is hard, but necessary.
2.     Keep it professional—remember this is a business, and you want the prospective agent to see you as a business partner. For example, don’t try to tell any jokes that might not be understood, don’t try to write the query in your character’s voice, don’t use any questionable language.
3.     Don’t burn bridges—you may get a rejection from an agent one day, and then end up requerying her with something else a year from now. Make sure she’ll remember you as a class-act, both in your query, any accompanying communications, and/or on other social media outlets.

AJ: How has your extensive nonfiction experience helped your fiction work? How is it totally different?

KA: My nonfiction writing has given me a lot of experience writing to deadlines—and they are usually very short deadlines. This was especially handy with this book, as I wrote it on a deadline. I might not have had the confidence to do that if I hadn’t had the nonfic experience.

It’s different in that I outline with nonfiction, and don’t really outline for my fiction. There is also a lot of research and footnoting in my nonfiction, and while I did have to do some research for AWYSI, I didn’t have to footnote or cite any sources.

AJ: Writing instructors often tell new writers to "write what you know." How have your own experiences or emotions influenced this story? Did you do any skating or pizza slinging to help you write this book?

KA: I think this is sometimes true, you might have more passion for something with which you are more familiar. My nonfiction, however, has also prepared me to have the confidence to not always write what I know, but to research what I don’t know.

For this book, it was sort of a combination. I don’t skate or play hockey, but I have a great friend who does, who was really helpful with Penelope’s hockey scenes. As far as the pizza goes, my parents owned and operated a golf course when I was growing up—and there was a grill in the function area. Working at the grill and taking orders (even though it wasn’t pizza) was something really familiar to me.

AJ: How does your book stand out in the expanding sporty girl book world? What makes it unique?

KA: I really wanted to write about a group of kids who weren’t playing for Olympic dreams, and who
weren’t even very good at their sport. They love the sport, and so they play. Not that there is anything wrong with books about Olympic hopefuls, but I wanted to write about regular kids who just love a sport.

I also wanted to have parents in the story who aren’t evil or abusive. Pen’s parents are sometimes in their own world, but they love her and want the best for her.

In the end, it’s really Pen’s fear of their reaction (and then lying about it) that gets her in so deep. I wanted to tell a story that felt like it could maybe happen to someone you know.

AJ: Which is harder for you-- character and voice, or plot? What exercise or process helps you with that challenge?

KA: I think I’m really good at writing scenes. I love realistic dialogue and writing that snapshot which turns into a great scene. I have a harder time stringing together scenes to make a cogent plot. Even though I don’t really outline, I typically use the Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler as a jumping off point to make sure I’m not spiraling a plot out of control.

AJ: This book can be purchased in eBook form. How can people who want to support their independent bookstore purchase the book?

KA: It depends on the independent bookstore, but you should be able to purchase the book using the ISBN number and download through a bookstore’s website. It is available through the publisher, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and through Kobo.

AJ: You have a great blog tour planned this week! Where else can people see if they want to know more about you and the book?

KA: I’ll be on the following blogs this week:

April 19th Curling Up With A Good Book REVIEW + INTERVIEW
April 20th LuLo Fan Girl REVIEW
April 21st Bookhounds YA REVIEW + WHAT'S IN KRISTINE'S BAG?
April 22nd Swoony Boys Podcast REVIEW + TEN RANDOM THINGS
April 23rd Her Book Thoughts REVIEW
April 24th The Unofficial Book Addiction Club REVIEW + INSPIRATION BOARD
April 25th Bibliophilia: A Love Story REVIEW +  TENS LIST

Speed Round:
Pizza or sushi? Pizza, unless you have California Rolls with Wasabi.
Bike or run? Bike, I guess, though I prefer to walk! Or golf! I’m only running if someone’s chasing or if I’m late for a connecting flight. It’s not pretty. J
eBook or paper copy? (reading preference) *Hides face* paper.
Dance to loud music or talk with friends? Talk with friends
If you could be any animal what would it be? Siamese Cat

Thanks to Anna Jordan for these interview questions and to all the other women at Sporty Girl Books for supporting me through this journey!

Author Bio
Kristine Carlson Asselin’s published works include fifteen nonfiction books with both Capstone Press and Abdo Publishing for the school library market. In addition, her debut Young Adult novel ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT is due out on April 21 from Bloomsbury Spark. She critiques queries and query packages as the Query Godmother.

She tweets at @KristineAsselin as well as her alter ego @QueryGodmother, where she tweets query tips and suggestions.

Her website is www.kristineasselin.com and you can find out more about ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT here: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/any-way-you-slice-it-9781619637832/

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