A few years ago St. Martin’s Press had a New Adult fiction contest and I lost track of what happened. But I didn’t lose track of the New Adult genre.Here’s what New Adult Fiction is, for those who don’t know. And no, it’s not unrated adult oriented material.
According to St Martin’s Press, they fit in a new, previously-unidentified genre called ‘New Adult’. JJ from St Martin’s Press explains that, ‘New Adult [fiction] is about young adulthood, when you are an adult but have not established your life as one (career, family, what-have-you)’.
I heard about New Adult even before this announcement from SMP and started working on short erotic stories with new adult characters. Although I didn’t classify them all up front this way because I wasn’t sure readers would get it, I have more than a few out there hiding in disguise. There’s always a plan.
I became fond of this new genre because all new adults are sexually active…if not at their peaks sexually…and I write erotica and erotic romance. And new adults are of legal age to do anything they want. I think the first time I came out and stated I was working on a New Adult story was last Christmas with the release of THE COMPUTER TUTOR. I’ve written others after that with New Adult characters, but I didn’t go into detail because the genre is so new I didn’t want to go into overkill.
Agent Kristin Nelson talks about New Adult here with regard to how much sex will be in New Adult fiction.
But back to the original Arizona question that started this entry. How much sex is going to be allowed in the romance?
Well, this new line at SMP is not a romance imprint per se—which is what I think that participant thought it might be. They are more a line for publishing smart, upmarket fiction for this target audience where sex and relationships are simply part of the question. In other words, it’s not so much about the happily-ever-after, which is the focus for a romance, nor is it about the sex—explicit or otherwise. It’s more about the story that will speak to older teens and twenty-somethings. Think Emily Giffin’s SOMETHING BORROWED, Curtis Sittenfeld’s PREP, Nick Hornby’s SLAM, and even GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING in some respects.
That post was written in 2009. Since then New Adult TV shows like “Girls,” which I posted about here before, too, (somewhere…I can’t find the link) have come into the picture and changed the scenery a little. This show has been described as the better, updated version of “Sex in the City,” because it has New Adult characters. These characters aren’t bopping around Manhattan in designer shoes. These people are living in Brooklyn trying to figure out how to pay the rent. The realism is so much better it makes SATC look stupid. And there’s plenty of sex…far more than the trite tidbits allowed in SATC. In fact, Hannah can be a very naughty little girl at times and people seem to love it. I nearly fell off my sofa when her boyfriend peed on her in the shower…ON TV. I CAN’T GET AWAY WITH THAT IN EROTIC ROMANCE! There are a few things about “Girls” I wasn’t in love with, especially their treatment of gay characters. But overall I think it’s an excellent example on TV as to what New Adult authors are going to try in New Adult fiction in the future.
I’ve not only been doing New Adult for a while, I’m going to continue to focus on the genre as much as I can. The lines drawn between gay and straight aren’t as vivid with this age group. And I might not always write these things in the form of erotica. I’m finding this new generation of New Adults to be a very interesting crowd and the material to write is endless. I even went there with Jim Darling, the main character in “Chase of a Lifetime,” with regard to him just graduating from Princeton and not knowing what to do with his life…and making tons of mistakes along the way. And Jim’s best friend Cain Mayfield, who I bring back in the upcoming sequel, is the perfect New Adult character fresh out of college and trying to get his life together.
The only area where I find it difficult to focus is the erotica part. So many in publishing frown…actually they sneer…at erotica in any form it’s hard to be taken seriously. If you write erotica you are classified in erotica forever and nothing else matters. But with my next release on Amazon I’m going to rectify this for everyone. It’s an experiment I’ve been working on that I hope will recitfy some of the things erotic authors have been dealing with forever. Because I’m self-publishing this I have the freedom and control to do this…a publisher would never go fot it. But I trust readers now more than ever and I think they’ll understand. And I will post about this experiment I’m doing very soon. I have no idea how it will be received, but so far it’s working out well in the editorial stage. My only big decision is how to release it.