as her new Young Adult novel,
Falling for Wonder Boy
hits shelves today!
Unfortunately, golf is a game of focus and Kate’s distractions are mounting by the day: her growing crush on her best friend Scott and dealing with the local bully seem tough enough without the extra distraction of the cute British exchange kid her dad hires for the summer. But when vandals damage the golf course and Scott is accused of the crime, the stakes suddenly become bigger than any tournament. To clear Scott’s name, Kate takes on the responsibility of finding the culprit before the course is vandalized again. Otherwise, winning the tournament won’t even be on the table, and neither will a future with Scott.
Falling for Wonder Boy has truly been a labor of love for me. When I started writing in 2006, I was drafting mostly picture book texts for my toddler—they were okay, but not great. I got some nice feedback, but nothing more. When a friend reminded me of an anecdote from our teen years, I had an epiphany. It would make a great YA short story.
My parents managed a golf course in the 1980s. They bought it when I was in the 6th grade. For my entire teen years, we lived, worked, and played golf. When I was in high school, I was the only girl in my four years to go out for the golf team. It just wasn’t a sport girls played in my world.
After I wrote the short story, I shared it with a few trusted friends. And the overwhelming response was that people needed to know more about the characters. That short story ended up being published in Golfer Girl Magazine in 2008 as “The Knight in Tan Khakis” and is more or less Chapters 9 and 10 in the book—where Scott tosses Kate a sweatshirt to cover up a see-through wet t-shirt.
Since 2008, that short story has evolved. For a long time, the title of the novel was The Sweet Spot. It’s been through a dozen revisions, it landed me my agent (more than once). It was acquired by a publishing company and then rejected after the decision was made that golf wasn’t something that would sell to teens. I’ve written other things, including a ton of nonfiction and two published novels (Any Way You Slice It and co-written The Art of the Swap). In fact, Any Way You Slice It was a direct result of that failed acquisition.
The Sweet Spot was shelved for years, but in late 2018, after ten years of close calls, I decided to work with K.R. Conway at Wicked Whale Publishing to independently publish the book. I changed the title to Falling for Wonder Boy and I haven’t looked back.
I’ll be honest, in some ways it’s scarier than anything else I’ve ever published. There are pieces of my heart on display for all to see—it’s mostly fictionalized, but there are moments that really happened (like the sweatshirt toss). Emotions that were real.
This book is truly the book of my heart. Not only is it firmly grounded in my own history, it’s also been the backbone of my writing career. Working on this book taught me how to write. It opened doors for me professionally. It deserves to be out in the world.
I’m grateful to K.R. Conway for her support, guidance, and amazing design skills. I could not have imagined a better skin for Kate and Scott to live inside. I’d love to engage with readers. Please let me know what you think!
Kristine is 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.
Visit her at www.kristineasselin.com/
One lucky reader can win a copy of one of Kristine's YA novels, Any Way You Slice It or Falling for Wonder Boy. A second reader can win a copy of The Art of the Swap, the MG novel Kristine co-wrote with Jen Malone. (Click here for a review.)
Leave us a comment. Winners will be announced March 1, 2019.