Monday, September 29, 2014

New Adult ~ Expanding Beyond the College Campus

A dear blogging friend has agreed to splatter the Alleyway with her thoughts on writing in the latest new genre of New Adult. I absolutely love this post. I'm sure you will, too.

New adult contemporary romance: expanding beyond the college campus
by Kitsy Clare

New adult romance exploded on the scene a few years after St. Martins Press ran a contest that stated: “Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult” fiction.” Readers clamored for novels that described the college experience, first full-time jobs, and their first steamy adult romances as people hit their twenties.

NA authors delved deeply into issues such as in Tammara Webber’s powerful exploration of abuse in Easy, but the novels were always set in college, the drama often occurring in dorms and fraternity parties.

As the genre grows, authors are eager to expand into new subgenres and settings outside of college walls and break out of narrow confines that squeeze the genre into limited pigeonholes. Courtney Lewis, a librarian and blogger, otherwise known as the Sassy Librarian reports on a recent NA panel she attended: “It was suggested that the genre might gain more legitimacy when readers (and librarians and publishers) begin associating it with other genres, broadening the scope of the label.” I heartily agree.

Gritty NA romance that deals with more universal survival skills than the limited setting of the dorm scene is popping up all over. One example is J.R. Redmerski’s The Edge of Never, where the setting is literally the highway. Camryn decides to take a long road trip to reassess the life she’s lived thus far. Another is Collide by Gail McHugh, where Emily moves to NYC to be closer to her boyfriend, but ends up working in an Italian restaurant and meeting a new love. A third example is Nikki Turner’s Project Chick, the saga of a young urban single mom.

In writing my first NA romance, Model Position I stuck to the well-oiled trope template and set it in college. Well, I did stray a little; setting it in art school, where no one lived in dorms, but already had their own edgy apartments in Manhattan’s East Village. Still, many of the scenes were set in the drawing class.

But for the next in my NA Art of Love series, Private Internship I had a different idea for the setting. Artist Sienna’s bad-boy love interest is a sculptor she interns for. He creates installations out of sugar. What better setting than the factory building I’ve been I’ve been obsessed with for decades: specifically the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In it, Caz Mason has tons and tons of sugar to play around with!

You see, I moved right around the corner from that spooky factory before the neighborhood became a hipster paradise. I recall strolling by it when it was still in business, ever eager to see which cargo ship had docked on its East River port. They came from Cuba, Brazil, even Thailand—a myriad of exotic, faraway places. Here’s a summary of Private Internship:

Sienna’s bestie, Harper warned her not to intern for famous bad boy artist, Casper Mason. After all, he just fired Harper who helped Sienna get the interview. But the moment Sienna sees Casper—or Caz—sweaty and practically shirtless and swinging from chains while he works on his sculpture, she’s hooked. He’s the richest, hottest artist in New York, and he lives in the fabulous Williamsburg Sugar Factory. But he’s also an incorrigible game-player, who seems to relish testing Sienna’s loyalty with a string of unsettling tests.

She knows she should get away fast. But by the time Sienna sneaks into his locked storage room and begins to unearth his dark and terrifying secret, she’s fallen way too hard for the handsome, charismatic Caz.

Little did I know that my setting for this novel was going to be a constant fixture in the news last summer when famous sculptress Kara Walker would set up her regal sugar sphinx mama in that doomed place. As Walker explains through her sugar slave boys who, in the heat of the summer, were literally melting—an arm dropping off here, a nose there, the sugar trade was a very nasty business, fueled by oppressed slaves hauled in from Africa to the Caribbean and elsewhere.

Coincidentally, in Private Internship I have Caz quoting from Voltaire’s Candide, when a horrified Candide comes across a slave boy who’s lost an arm and leg. The boy explains: “When we work in the sugar mills and get a finger caught in the machinery, they cut off the hand; but if we try to run away, they cut off a leg … it is the price we pay for the sugar you eat in Europe.”

Caz is no fool; he’s aware of the dark side of his spun-sugar art medium. Ironically, as he tears three sugar packets and pours one after the other into his gourmet blend coffee, he says to Sienna in all seriousness, “Sugar, it’s delicious yet deadly, sweet yet bitter to the arteries. It’s no good for anyone.”

Still, out of Caz and Sienna’s power struggles, a sweet romance just might emerge. And what better place to set it in than an actual defunct sugar factory! So, choose your settings with care. Make sure you’re as passionate about them as you are about your characters and the steamy romance blossoming between them. Don’t get me wrong, a good college romance can still be a fabulous read. But if you’re writing NA romance, be brave, and consider writing beyond the confines of dorm life. If it’s an exciting time and place to you, it will surely be exciting to your readers, as well.
Kitsy Clare hails from Philly and lives in New York. A romantic at heart, she loves to write about the sexy intrigue of the city, and particularly of the art world. She knows it well, having shown her paintings here before turning to writing. Her new adult romance series The Art of Love is about artist Sienna and her friends. Living in a Bookworld says: “Beautifully written! We get to learn things about art & painting, which is refreshing. A colorful story from a promising new adult author.” Kitsy also writes YA as Catherine Stine. Her futuristic thriller, Ruby’s Fire was a YA finalist in the Next Generation Indie book awards. Fireseed One, its companion novel, was a finalist in YA and Sci-Fi in the USA News International Book Awards, and an Indie Reader notable. Her YA horror, Dorianna, launches on Oct. 24 with Evernight Teen.Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter
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PRIVATE INTERNSHIP: An Art of Love
by Kitsy Clare

Release Date: September 29, 2014
Publisher: Inkspell

Description: 
Sugar’s not so sweet and secrets can be deadly … especially with matters of the heart

Sienna’s bestie, Harper warned her not to intern for famous bad boy artist, Casper Mason. After all, he just fired Harper who helped Sienna get the interview. But the moment Sienna sees Casper—or Caz—sweaty and practically shirtless and swinging from chains while he works on his sculpture, she’s hooked. He’s the richest, hottest artist in New York, and he lives in the fabulous Williamsburg Sugar Factory. But he’s also an incorrigible game-player, who seems to relish challenging Sienna’s loyalty with a string of unsettling tests.

She knows she should get away fast. But by the time Sienna sneaks into his locked storage room and begins to unearth his dark and terrifying secret, she’s fallen way too hard for the handsome, charismatic Caz.
Book reviewers are saying:

"Beautiful. Amazing. A fantastic read that left me wanting more." -XoXo Book Blog

"A juicy read full of passion and magnetic chemistry that will have you hooked from beginning to end." -From the Purple Matter Book Blog.


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18 comments:

  1. Unfortunately NA now has the reputation of being young erotica. If you don't write that or care to read it, it's a tough genre to broaden. Which is unfortunate because it's such a wonderful age group to write and read about. I hate to see a genre become so limited.

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  2. Congrats, Kitsy. I wish the NA genre had existed when I wrote my series, because that's where it fits.

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    1. Oh really? That's interesting. I've often wondered about this sort of thing.

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  3. Thanks, Sheri! Catherine aka Kitsy Clare

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  4. That's a really unique setting for a book!

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  5. This sounds so fun! I'm pretty solidly a MG/YA reader myself, but I'm passing this link on to a friend of mine (Pat Esden) who just sold her NA trilogy. Woot for an awesome new market, and its expansion!

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  6. I really enjoy this post. I've seen lots of authors working to stretch the current "boundaries" of New Adult. They are taking it into space, fighting preternatural beings as recent high school graduates trying to find their place in the world or, like my They All Fall Down - just dealing with day to day heaven and hell issues trying to save the world.

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    1. I think the genre is interesting. Some might think it's not necessary, but I beg to differ. There is a place in the book world for 19 to 24 year olds, as in the real world. Of course, I think some boundaries are necessary or then they bleed into the adult realm. Just don't ask me what those boundaries are. LOL

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  7. Wow! The description makes me think a little of Blue Beard with the locked closet, though I could be completely off. Still, I really love the unique setting for the book!

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  8. I've never heard of New Adult but I hope the author does well with her book.

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  9. I didn't realise that's how New Adult began.
    I love the setting for your book.

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  10. I loved what Kitsy said about having a passion for your setting. That's key for me when I'm deciding where to set my stories.

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  12. Hi, Sheri, HI, Kitsy,

    Fascinating history on NA... Congrats Christy with your new book and thanks for your thoughts on this subject.

    I write edgy Y/A and it's good to know if and when I age my characters that they have a natural category to fall into now...

    I, too believe that N/A needs to be taken out of colleges. There is so much life and adventure out there for older teens and young twenty somethings. Life is full of joy, hard knocks, and surprises.

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    1. You really said that perfectly, Michael. There is tons of life/adventure out there between the ages of 19-24ish. I've always said that the age of 20 is the lost age. You're too old to do what high school kid are doing, yet you're too young to have the openings of the full adult world. I'm glad this genre is blooming.

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  13. excellent post and very relevant for me right now--just had a discussion with my agent about my venturing into NA for my next project. I've always been very fuzzy on the details of NA but I'm giving it a go and I'm excited about digging in to something that feels more "me"

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  14. The New York art scene sounds so interesting. I've been reading more NA and really enjoy it.

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