so what the heck is new adult and how do I know I write it?
This is not an April Fool’s Joke. I’ve made an amazing discovery. My Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series is New Adult. So what exactly is New Adult? Contrary to some of the spurious claims by the media it is not YA porn. No, in fact it is targeted at older readers, just not so old they want to read bout forty year old heroines and second marriages. According to NA Alley, a blog targeted specifically for New Adult books, this genre is:
We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature—meaning, it gives readers content expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence—a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction—and true adulthood.
Protagonists typically fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.
Other terms for NA include: Upper YA, Crossover Fiction, and Mature YA. -http://naalley.blogspot.com/p/about.html
That says it all.
So, I looked at my books. My characters are all under twenty-six and over eighteen. Red (from Little Red Riding Wolf) is dealing with trying to separate from her over protective family and balance her loyalty to her pack with her desire to go to college. Evan, her love interest, is recently graduated from college and trying to make a new career in the forest service.
Does that sound like the above definition? Yeah, it really does.
Okay, what about Snow and the Seventh Wolf? Snow isn’t as normal as Red. Snow has had to deal with her evil step-mother, but she’s almost twenty-one, about to inherit, and oh-so-ready to split! Seth is angry and dealing with his own issues. He feels differently from his family and he needs to figure out where his priorities lie.
And what about my newest book? Goldi and the Bear (out Fall 2013). Goldi discovers that her dad has lied to her and they are about to lose their ranch, the only home she’s every known and now the only person she can turn to is her ex-boyfriend, Zeke. Goldi’s learning about facing adult reality: foreclosure, no job (she’s only ever worked on the ranch), and most of all, even your dad is only human. (Actually, he’s a werewolf, but they have human frailties). And Zeke is about to finally make it big, he’s been trying to prove himself to everyone, his dad, his brothers, but especially his ex-girlfriend, Goldi. Now he has to make some hard choices.
These do sound like NA plots. What about themes in NA plots. Well according to NA Alley they can be:
New adult touches on that space between adolescence and adulthood, so there is a wide range of themes and issues to tackle.
Common themes in NA are identity, sexuality, race, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, bullying, empowerment, familial struggles, loss of innocence, fear of failure, etc.
Combine those themes with common new adult issues: living away from home for the first time, military deployment, starting college, engagements and marriages, etc.
I’ve got all that too! Red has to deal with sexuality and the rules of her pack as well as her identity and the issue of going to college or fulfilling family expectancies All three books deal with racism. Okay, it’s species-ism, human versus werewolves. That counts! Snow loses her innocence and Seth finds his identity. Goldi learns empowerment through her familial struggles and Zeke faces his fear of failure.
Check, check, check.
Now we come to the big question. What about the heat level. Come on, let’s face it. My books are hot! They are so hot I blush when I talk about them to strangers, my parents, even my writer friends. 🙂
Can NA be hot? I’ve done extensive research on this and the answer is, YES! Come on, the readers are ADULTS. This is the time of life for experimentation, failure, new commitments. Sex is a huge part of adult life. Will you? Won’t you? Should you? So yes, spicy is just fine for New Adult.
Not all New Adult books have sex. Not all New Adult books are romance. They cover a wide range of genres, just like regular adult books and YA. But they do have all these things in common, the age of the main characters and the search for answers. So explore the world of New Adult. I’m trying some right now!
Have you ever read a New Adult book? Did you read it and not know what it was? Did you like it? Would you consider reading more or what about writing it?