I've been hearing a lot lately about NA and I wanted to find out more about what it is and who should write it. So I asked the wonderful NA author and blogging friend, Stina Lindenblatt to clarify for us. Take it away, Stina!
Ever since New Adult contemporary romances exploded on the scene, people have been scrambling for an answer to the question: What is New Adult? Unfortunately, this has led to a lot of misinformation, the most common one being that NA it’s just another name for YA. Or better yet, NA is really YA erotica.
Sorry. Wrong answer.
Many of the contemporary romances do, indeed, have sex in them. But this doesn’t necessarily mean the sex is graphic. Like with YA, it can be nothing more than a fade-to-black scene, where the reader uses her imagination to figure out what happens next. The scenes can also be such that they will leave your mom blushing (or at least mine), but that doesn’t mean the story is erotica.
So what is New Adult then? It’s the time period after high school, when the characters are between 18 to 25 years old. They don’t have to be in college. They can be married. They can be in the military. They can be traveling the world for a year before heading to college. The main thing is it explores that new found independence that comes with adulthood, and from moving away from home for the first time. Many of the “firsts” experienced in this age group are similar to YA, such as having sex for the first time or working part time while at school or falling in love. And like with YA, the happily-ever-after ending (which is only necessary if you write romance) doesn’t need to end in marriage.
This time period is also when you struggle to figure out who you are, and what you want to do with your life. It’s a time to face new stresses and new joys. And it’s a time to deal with issues that didn’t exist when you were a teen—or the issues now become bigger. Some of the issues are similar to what we find in YA (e.g. alcoholic parent), but the impact on the college-aged character will be different. Now they can escape the home situation, but the situation will continue to haunt them and become part of the story problem, or at least influence how the character deals with the problem.
As with YA, raw emotion is a staple of NA. This is why so many YA writers have found it an easy transition to make. It’s a fun time period to explore, with so many story possibilities.
Have you read any New Adult stories? If so, what do you like about them? If not, what do you remember about this time period of your life?
Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes Young Adult and New Adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and can be found at her blog/website. She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero, and finds it weird talking about herself in third person. Her debut New Adult contemporary romance, TELL ME WHEN, will be released 2014 (Carina Press, HQN).