I Write New Adult!

Moonday Mania

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:

beautiful disaster by jamie mcguire

Have you tried this New Adult book?

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.

tiger's curse by colleen houck

While many NA are contemporaries, Tiger’s Curse is a paranormal.

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!

goodreads icon

Click the icon to be taken right to the New Adult page!

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?

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14 Comments

Filed under Jessica Aspen's Books, Moonday mania, New Adult, writing craft

14 responses to “I Write New Adult!

  1. I would not have known I’ve read NA had you not clarified this wide-open, all-genre category for me, Jessica. Thank you!

    One of the challenges we have as writers (or, at least one I have) is fitting my plot/characters/voice into a specific genre within the Romance category. It would take 47 floors worth of elevator pitch to blather aimlessly properly describe my sub-genre Contemporary Romance…er, with comedy…er, and suspense…er, and tons of steam.

    You do write NA. Good job on making the connection. Now, you can take your mega talent in all manner of directions without having to stop to consider whether it fits a preconceived definition.

    I suppose I’ve read NA that came under the Chick Lit umbrella back-in-the-day. Sophie Kinsella’s SHOPOHOLIC series had a protagonist in Becky Bloomwood who fit the age and life lessons parameters. Only problem? She never learned her lesson.

    Now if they’d only come up with a Romantic Hodgepodge Genre, I’d be golden! WOOT! Can not wait to read your next book.

    • Hi Gloria!

      I still feel like I write a hodgepodge, now I have one more genre to add to the list!
      Take a deep breath: Twisted, Paranormal, NEW ADULT, Fairy tale romance. Whew!

      As for you, comedic romantic suspenseful you! We’ll create a new genre. The amazingly hot, funny, contemporary, romantic suspense category is just waiting for a new author. 🙂

  2. No matter what genre your books fall into, Jessica…they are fun reads!!!

  3. New Young Adult is a great new category and you definitely for writing this genre. This new category makes me laugh because when I first started reading romance back in the day this was the norm. Now, it’s been rediscovered again and you’ve taken it to higher levels.

    • I know, isn’t it funny. At first we couldn’t find any older heroines, now there are lots of them. I love the fact that romance has grown to the point that we have so many subgenres now. It’s a great era to write or read romance!

  4. I was so excited to hear of New Adult. With every book or short story I write, I face the challenge of plugging the tale into a pre-cut genre. Suspense? Paranormal? My current WIP features a 23-year-old heroine. Suspense and romance and psychological twists keep this story flowing, but now I have a catch-phrase: New Adult!

    • Yay, Sherry! Of course, within New Adult there are genres. If you look at the NA Alley website they have a page splitting the books into sections, just like YA and adult romance. But the lovely thing is you can write New Adult and it doesn’t even have to be romance. Just like YA there are adventure books and urban fantasy. Of course I think its still dominated by romance, and why not? Everyone loves a romance of whatever type.:)

  5. Thanks for mentioning NA Alley, Jessica! I’m so happy to hear you’ve identified your book as New Adult. 😀

    • I would have done it earlier but I wasn’t sure about the heat levels. Now that I know that a NA book can be spicy I’m much more confident in claiming the genre. NA Alley is pretty cool and well organized and a great place to find information on New Adult!

  6. I’ve been reading a lot of New Adult lately. I have an NA manuscript (paranormal). 🙂

  7. I love new adult books. I love NA TV series too. You know, those with hot young people who are not in HS anymore? Think season 4 of Buffy. New Adult is a great category. You rock, Jess!

    • It’s a fun category to be in, and such a surprise. Like a lot of New Adult authors I just wrote what I wanted to write and now I find there is a whole genre of authors who want to write like this. Very cool discovery!

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