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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Interview with Author Kristine Asselin

Kristine and I met when she was agent sisters with one of my CP's. She was so sweet offering to help with my query and first pages at WOC last year and then checking up on me on twitter. Since then we've kept in touch and both contribute to Sporty Girl Books. I'm thrilled she sold her own Sporty Girl Book, THE SWEET SPOT. 
Hi Kristine! *waves*

First, could you tell us about this amazing book you've sold--and I was lucky enough to beta?

Thank you so much, Robin, for having me! I’m still pinching myself that I’m talking about my sale! The PM announcement is:

Kristine Carlson Asselin's THE SWEET SPOT, in which it is hard enough being a sporty girl in a guy's world without having to figure out who wants to destroy her family business, especially when it could mean accusing her best friend… and secret crush, to Meredith Rich of Bloomsbury Spark by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

It’s basically about a girl who is a talented golfer and who waffles about being one of the few girls playing competitively. She also waffles about what playing golf will do to her social status. Her family and her crush pull her in one direction and her BFF pulls her in another. Should I? or Shouldn’t I? sort of stuff. When someone vandalizes her family’s small golf course, things get real. She starts focusing on things that are more important than her vanity or her nerves or whether or not golf is cool or not. And her game gets better when she stops worrying about it. Of course then there are other things for her to worry about. :)

I understand it was through a pitch contest that you piqued the interest of your editor with this tweet: A near-miss kiss from Scott, Dad hires a hot new Brit & SOMEONE torches the 8th green. How can Kate focus on her golf game? #YA #pitmad
What was the first thing you did when you received your offer?

The very first thing I did was probably squeal. A lot. LOL. The next thing I did was call my friend Ansha Kotyk, followed quickly by a barrage of text messages to my CP Trisha Leaver, and then probably my husband. I was on my way to a family party and spent the whole time texting a couple of close friends and panicking because even though my query had a great request rate and I had a bunch of fulls out, I hadn’t signed with my agent yet.

Yes, that is slightly unconventional, you got an publishing deal offer before you signed with Kathleen Rushall. Could you tell us about your unique agent-seeking journey?

I had been querying agents since my previous agent left her agency to seek her fortune elsewhere. I didn’t intentionally queried Bloomsbury. Meredith Rich was interested in seeing my MS after the twitter pitch contest, where I had been focused on agents.

Once I got the offer from Meredith, I stepped up my agent search, knowing that I wanted an agent to work with me on the contract and help me with selling my other work.

Kathleen had seen my work previously and we had corresponded about both THE SWEET SPOT and my middle grade project. When I got the offer from Bloomsbury, I reached out to the team at Marsal Lyon, along with several other agents I knew and respected. Kat and I talked a bit about my other works-in-progress, and she offered.

I ended up having two other agent offers as well, so it was bittersweet to have to turn down fabulous people. I’m so happy with Kat and look forward to a long and successful relationship!

I LOVE seeing timelines of book to print. Could you tell us the process for THE SWEET SPOT?

You’re sure you want this? It’s a long one…

Writing: THE SWEET SPOT started as a short story I wrote in August 2007. It was about 2500 words, called THE KNIGHT IN TAN KHAKIS. It was published in (now defunct) Golfer Girl Magazine in December 2008.

Over the course of the next 3 years, the short story morphed into a novel, was critiqued, workshopped and rewritten multiple times.

Revising: I was a finalist for a pitch contest on QueryTracker in 2010. I revised a bit as a result of working with an agent involved in that contest, as well as through other professional critiques at conferences and crit partners until I felt like it was ready to query.

Querying: I officially started querying in spring 2010, and signed with my first agent in March 2011.

Submitting: It was submitted by my first agent in summer 2011 to a short list of editors and didn’t sell. I completely rewrote it in the first person POV in spring/summer 2012. My first agent left agenting in November 2012. Flash forward 6 months, Meredith saw my pitch in the #pitmad feed and Kathleen signed me soon after.

As an aside here, I’m a poster child for the concept of Do. Not. Give. Up. Persistence in the face of bumps in the road. Keep writing, keep learning your craft, write other things, but don’t give up.

Publication: Scheduled for publication in late spring 2014

You, like THE SWEET SPOT's Kate, are a golfer. If you were golfing together how do imagine the game would play out?

Kate would kick my butt. And then kick it some more. She’s a much better golfer than I ever was, though I can hold my own with a five iron.
a five iron, in case you're like me

What does your writing space look like?

I wish I had a “real” writing space. Insert frowny face here. J I write on my couch, on my dining room table, at the library, at the Barnes and Noble coffee shop. Wherever there’s space and where I think I can focus that particular day.

What project are you working on now?

I’ve got a couple of works-in-progress, including a MG fantasy and MG mystery as well as a YA supernatural, but as I dive into revisions with Meredith I’m actually contemplating a sequel for THE SWEET SPOT!

Thank you for being on Robin Hall Writes! 

Where you can find out more about Kris


  1. I loved reading this story. Congrats Kristine!

  2. What a great publication story, Kristine! And it does go to show that there are many, many paths to getting published. Things don't always happen in the order you expect them to!

    LOVE that tweet, by the way! No wonder you got requests for it!

  3. Congrats Kristine. Loved hearing your road to publication.

  4. Very cool story. Love Kristine's example of hard work and persistence.

  5. I love hearing about people who got agents through #pitmad. Hopefully I can be one of them :D Sounds like an awesome story. Congrats!!

  6. What a lovely story! I am so happy for Kristine and her success. Thanks for the interview, ladies!

  7. Nice. Thank you for sharing. It is really nice hearing how other people found success in life.

  8. Thanks to Robin for having me today! and thank you for all the lovely comments and wishes. :)

  9. My husband is the golfer in the family, but it would be interesting reading golf from a girl's perspective. My perspective is to sigh long-sufferingly when he tracks grass and dirt in from his golf shoes, lol! Congrats, Kristine!

  10. Great don't give up story. I love hearing those!

  11. Yes. Congrats Kristine. Sounds like you finally hit the Sweet Spot in a long and arduous publishing journey! Worth the effort, no doubt. And when it's out in print, worth the read for us, as well!

  12. Thanks for sharing your story, Kristine! Really encouraging. Wow, you've had a busy end of summer.

  13. What a great story! We just never know what's waiting around the corner, do we?? Congrats Kristine!