Exploring the New Adult genre

A Q&A with Angela James (Editorial Director, Carina Press) and Margo Lipschultz (Editor at Harlequin HQN)

What is New Adult and why is it so popular?

ML: I see New Adult as a genre that fills the gap between YA and contemporary romance. NA stories revolve around college- or just-post-college-age characters (18-25ish), characters that are experiencing some kind of monumental first—first love, first time away from home or first real job, first sense of adult responsibility. These stories are hugely relatable not just to the 18-25 crowd currently experiencing similar firsts, but to those of us who look back on that era of our lives with nostalgia, smiles, or regrets.

AJ: I think the popularity of new adult has a lot to do with the tone of the stories. There’s a certain unique element of emotional intensity, as well as a freedom of character that’s permitted in New Adult stories and gives readers an immersive rollercoaster experience while still providing a very emotionally satisfying resolution.

What isn’t New Adult?

AJ: New Adult isn’t sexed-up YA, an excuse for adult YA readers to feel okay about themselves or the modern version of chick lit. Those descriptions miss the boat on a genre that offers a lot more, as you can see from our answers!

If New Adult is aimed at adults, how is it distinct from contemporary romance?

ML: Aside from the ages of the main characters, I see a distinction in narrative voice between the two genres. Many of the NA books I’ve loved are written in the young, candid, often first-person narrative voice that to my mind is a hallmark of the YA genre, whereas contemporary romance often unfolds in third person. I’ve also noticed a trend in NA of alternating his-and-hers first person points of view.

AJ: One of the major differences I notice between NA and contemporary romance on the market now is the relationship issues being tackled. Yes, there are similar conflicts, but NA romances tend to be very focused in the here and now. Contemporary romances quite often have the main characters dealing with questions of babies or children, divorce and marriage. NA love stories rarely, if ever, mention any of these issues and concentrate on life and love in the now.

Who are some New Adult authors to watch for?

AJ: Our first NA release from Carina Press is RUSH ME by debut author Allison Parr, releasing in digital April 2013 and print in 2014. Being that Allison is living the “new adult” years, she certainly has the authentic experience and voice to bring Rachael and Ryan’s very turbulent but compelling relationship to life. What do you get when you cross a smart, prickly, goal-oriented woman with an NFL quarterback who can have any woman he wants—but who wants her? You get the excellent New Adult story of RUSH ME.

ML: I’m excited about Chelsea M. Cameron’s MY FAVORITE MISTAKE, the story of a college sophomore who has good reason to avoid relationships, until the brand new (maddeningly appealing) male roommate she can’t get rid of makes it his goal in life to tear down her emotional walls. Chelsea nails the voice, the campus setting, that feeling of inexorable love with someone who seems all wrong, the difficulty of letting go of the past. I hope NA fans will check out MY FAVORITE MISTAKE from Harlequin HQN in ebook now, or in print this coming September.

Are you excited about these upcoming releases?

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Comments ( 14 )
  1. Links Galore « Annie Cardi
    January 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    […] case for New Adult I’ve seen […]

  2. DeAnne Marie DuMaine
    February 18, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Yes, I am so excited about this N.A. interest which is timely for my new series…indeed are in sync.
    As if someone, my higher Muse, perhaps – tapped me w/the proverbial rubber mallet to write this series… In Her Mind’s Eye…Visions of a Proverbs 31 Adonis (As Told by Her Alter Ego).
    I just love the “poor gals” copyright…do it for Title and M.S. chapter by chapter. Every author needs to do that to protect their work. Just mail your copy to yourself, via Registered Mail. When it arrives don’t open it. It’s quite legal…FYI.

    View all my titles/projects along with my other writing mischief is listed on my FB Fan Page site. Vistors are welcome. I just love company. Please do leave me a message as to your impressions.

    Harlequin watchers/lurkers, I welcome your attentions. I’ve been considering a couple of other Publ. but I’m reconsidering submitting to HQ.
    It’s been good for my role model and fella RWA member, Debbie Macomber. I’m joining 500 other hosts in throwing her a Book Release Party in Houston at my home on March 23, ’13. It’ll be such fun.

    Remember my name DeAnne Marie DuMaine, you’ll be seeing it more and more…I’ve come out of a publishing pause,but never a writing pause. My journalism work has landed me a job w/RWR of RWA. Not my first gig, even w/44 years of active work as a lic. Nurse, recently retired from that. All my Stats/Profile is on my Fan Page.
    HQ are you watching…you too are welcome to visit my Fan Page site, check my Status lines and then click on About, look to your right column for PRODUCTS. It’s all there.
    Again, do leave a message on your impressions, and feel free to invite me to submit.
    Sincerely and Creatively Speaking,
    DeAnne Marie DuMaine…birth name Diane Dumaine Martinez of Naw’lins. Check me out!

  3. DeAnne Marie DuMaine, Author
    February 18, 2013 at 5:18 am

    My bad…I forgot my manners. I invite everyone to my Fan Page and don’t leave the address…sorry, sorry, sorry.

    It is http://www.facebook.com/theinkpenleplume
    The Ink Pen, Le Plume is my DBA name.

    Okay, I’ll admit I’m of some French descent. How can I help it being from New Orleans, Luziana.

    About our N.A genre’ – it’s perfect and as a fella author said on her blog, when she did a book signing at a Y.A. book club. Mostly seniors in H.S. who count as they are entering college…and I quote.

    “We are tired of the myth and vamp tales, we want some real *relationship stories that tell about the challenges and coping of walking into life, real life.”

    Well, maybe a bit of that is paraphrased, but only a bit.
    Turns out this is exactly my story, series, and it was much already in the making.

    How can I not be excited about N.A. I feel like it’s somewhat of a cross over from Y.A. and that’s exciting, as well.

    Cheers all my readers!
    From your new Fav. Author…

    Creatively Speaking,
    DeAnne Marie DuMaine

  4. DeAnne Marie DuMaine
    February 18, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Dear me, what a PS person I’ve become.

    I came back to applaud another Author, a friend from my RWA/HBA Chapter, and who’s published w/HQ Love Inspired book division, Cheryl Bolen, w/her fine Historical Romances.

    I’m reading one of her latest…
    A Marriage of Inconvenience, by Cheryl Bolen. Oh, but I said that…repeatition never hurts.

    I read many of the love Inspired publications. They come directly to my home.

    I plan to be a part of it w/my book publishings.
    Love Inspired by HQ is, well, it’s just sweet romance w/integrity. What can I say…”it’s superb.”

    Came back this time to give a plug and a heads up to HQ for Love Inspired publications and our dear Cheryl Bolen.

    Everyone do remember her name and her genre’…Historical Romance. You’ll not be able to put her writings down. Charming.

    Cheers to all my readers.
    Your new Fav Author!

    Creatively Speaking,
    DeAnne Marie DuMaine, Author
    correction…birth name Diane Dumaine,
    married surname Martinez

  5. 5 Interesting Links for 07-05-2013 | Tales to Tide You Over
    July 5, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    […] Angela James of Carina Press and Margo Lipschultz of Harlequin HQN discuss what the New Adult genre is. http://harlequinblog.com/2013/01/exploring-the-new-adult-genre/ […]

  6. Sadie Carrieri
    July 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    My new project starts in senior year high school and ends in marriage. Does that fit New Adult genre?

  7. Vegemite: It’s a Matter of Taste |
    August 12, 2013 at 2:25 am

    […] which include them). Recently, people^^^ have asked me to “explain” the appeal of New Adult romance or Extreme Romance (eg, Kristen Ashley, Joanna Wylde).  I have tried but, like Vegemite, or No […]

  8. debie esmeralda
    September 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Hi, i would like to ask if my novel about a billionaire who falls in love with a prostitute fit in the New Adult genre, both characters were out of college, but their age is within the required age of the characters. It was like an novel version of Pretty Woman, only with this one the characters were younger and their lovestory stretched in three books.

  9. The Obsession with Labelling | Books, Teens and Magazines
    January 14, 2014 at 10:31 am

    […] the period that covers the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Probably from 18 to 25ish. A blog from Harlequin provides a definition of this […]

  10. Terri Main
    January 14, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    You know, the word out there in the world at large is that New Adult is basically 20 something porn. I’m glad you said it is not “sexed up YA” It’s not the sort of thing I would read personally. I’m not quite in that category. I can’t even see it in my rearview mirror, but I was getting a poor image of the genre.

  11. 10 Favorite New Adult Reads | LuLo FanGirl
    June 25, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    […] that does a really good job at dissecting the topic. If you wish to check it out, then click here. Otherwise, let’s get to my […]

  12. Books by Genre: Picking a Book Based on your Genre-Craving – Your Next Favourite Read
    September 28, 2016 at 11:13 am

    […] Colleen Hoover writes romance like no other. She creates characters and settings where romance would not seem possible, and yet she makes it appear, and appear beautifully. Hopeless is part of a new genre of New Adult Fiction, the successor of Young Adult Fiction, geared towards the 18-25 age range, which you can learn more about here. […]

  13. 5 Interesting Links for 07-05-2013 | Tales to Tide You Over
    September 3, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    […] Angela James of Carina Press and Margo Lipschultz of Harlequin HQN discuss what the New Adult genre is. http://harlequinblog.com/2013/01/exploring-the-new-adult-genre/ […]

  14. 5 Interesting Links for 07-05-2013 | Tales to Tide You Over
    September 3, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    […] Angela James of Carina Press and Margo Lipschultz of Harlequin HQN discuss what the New Adult genre is. http://harlequinblog.com/2013/01/exploring-the-new-adult-genre/ […]

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