New Adult Fiction: A Young Genre with Big Potential

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New Adult Fiction: A Young Genre with Big Potential

new adult novel

I’m amazed at how much in the publishing world slips by me, given that I’m a voracious reader and author. The New Adult genre was one of those things I feel like I probably should’ve known about, but didn’t. Thank goodness for author Sonya Ray, whose New Adult series of books pulled me into the 21st century and served as my introduction to this fascinating genre.

A Brief History of the New Adult Genre

The term New Adult (NA) fiction was coined in 2009 by St. Martin’s Press. They discovered a niche that, while similar to Young Adult (YA), could be marketed to a slightly older crowd as well. With its softer approach to sexuality than traditional adult literature, it can even be appropriate for older teens that have more advanced reading skills. This fits perfectly with its demographic, which is readers between 18 and 30.

Protagonists are generally in the 18-25 age bracket. They face issues common to this age group: leaving home, sexuality, and choices associated with education and career.  Traditionally, the YA fiction protagonist is trapped in youth by lack of perspective, leaving many life issues and experiences unaddressed. The new adult protagonist has the advantage of facing issues that require external, as well as internal, insight. These can include college experiences, new jobs, financial independence, and marriages and family beginnings. New adult characters are often more complex, with multifaceted interests and skills that appeal to a wider audience.

Another reason this genre intrigues readers is that, while it focuses on intricate adult matters, it also covers themes common in YA fiction, such as depression, suicide, drug abuse, and bullying. Its dual nature, a delicate compromise between the idealism of youth and the hard reality of adulthood, makes it the perfect backdrop for compelling fiction plots.

A Perfect Example

So, back to Sonya Ray, author of the Three Crowns series, which is categorized as a New Adult/Paranormal Romance. Sweet Tea is the first in the series, and a book which I am eagerly reading every chance I get. Ms. Ray’s writing is compelling and her characters intriguing and complex.

As Sonya says, the Three Crowns series:

“(The series) is about a normal girl whose life is more than what she will allow herself to imagine. It’s her journey of accepting that not everything is black and white. She learns that understanding something doesn’t mean things don’t exist beyond that understanding. Throughout the story she is protected, loved, groomed and pushed to her limits to prepare her for what lies ahead of her. She is tested in all areas of her humanity which will someday bring her to know the person she is destined to be. The human nature of love is a tangled web of emotions for she feels the love of two men who are continually being taken away from her for the sake of their positions in the future as well.”

Here’s what she says about finding her spot among other New Adult authors:

Prior to publishing Sweet Tea, my Editor and I discussed how I wanted to label this series. Although the series begins with high school seniors, it follows the kids as they grow up and deal with adult issues. For that reason, I did not place it under YA. But there wasn’t anything that really fit the series well. For example, it’s not Adult because that is generally erotica, such as Fifty-Shades of Grey. It’s not Chick Lit, because we’re dealing with various young people as they mature. There are “firsts” throughout the series dealing with intimacy. There are also hard core issues that are dealt with as the stories progress. Keeping in mind that this is fiction writing, by Book Six the vampires are calling the humans the true monsters.

Thankfully, my Editor and I agree that the New Adult genre offers a good fit for The Three Crowns in terms of its content. I want to reiterate that there is no hard core sex such as in Fifty-Shades, but there is intimacy that may be inappropriate for certain ages. I have had several parents ask me if I felt this was appropriate for their “age” child. Being a parent myself, that is not a call that I would make for another. I always urge the parent to read the book and decide for their child.

So far, Sweet Tea is fascinating and definitely a great example of this “new” genre. There are seven books to complete the series, with a novella to follow. Five books are currently available through Amazon, with the sixth installment coming soon. Check them out and prepare to be drawn into Ray’s world of love, chaos, and destiny. And, if you’re a writer whose current novel doesn’t “fit”, try the New Adult genre on for size. With its potential to reach a larger audience, it could what your books needs to get noticed.

See you on the next page!

After Sweet Tea, there’s North, Broken Boundaries, Absolution, and Legacy. Click the covers to enjoy!

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