Ramblings on New Adult

engagement-1718244_1920I’ve debated about writing about the genre of new adult for a time because I have a sense that there many writers and readers with strong opinions on this topic. I am not an industry expert and feared that if I wrote about this, I’d only expose what I didn’t know. But I am, as anyone must be who devotes hours a day to something, passionate about the genre. The bossy part of me wouldn’t let me get away without blogging about it. I set out in this entry to put down my personal observations about new adult based on my experiences as a reader and a writer of new adult.

First, I suggest reading this article from Publisher’s Weekly which, though a couple of years old, does a fabulous job of outlining a generally accepted understanding of the genre as well as its potential in the marketplace: click here.

NA features characters in their late teens and early twenties who are transitioning into the adult world. Whether we are talking about college experiences, a first career job, or a first big romance, these experiences present challenges to the characters. NA can be higher in intensity and emotion than adult since the stakes are often higher. Think about how many life-altering decisions are made in that short period of time. People choose careers. They choose where they will live. They make friends and connections that may last their entire lives.

NA is not a stepping stone from YA to adult. To assume so is insulting to the audience, whose ages range wider than the characters’ ages. It’s also missing the point of the NA genre which is to define this hot spot in the continuum of a character’s life. It’s the place storytellers so often revisit because it’s exciting to imagine oneself at that point of change. It is not so much a coming-of-age story as it is an okay-I’m-of-age…now-what? kind of story. NA characters are complex. They have a deep understanding of the world based on experiences, and that understanding will be challenged. Like most good fiction, there will be sacrifice and change.

young-couple-1031642_1920NA has been breaking ground in the digital market, and I love my digital books! In print, it’s been tougher for NA authors to break through. As a consumer of fiction, if there was a clear place for NA in the bookstore aside from the occasional end cap, I’d gravitate there. But NA, for the most part, has been mixed up with YA or adult books. I was lucky enough to listen to a panel of editors at YARWA’s special event at RWA nationals a couple of years ago. The editors suggested that NA writers tailor their books so that they fit better on YA or adult shelves rather than writing NA. I am not opposed to tailoring a book–at least with the current market–as I understand consumers may be confused by the genre of NA. There is a point where a work ceases to be art and becomes a product, and it is easier to sell something that fits into a box. Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t hope for a day where this genre has a more distinctive place in the physical as well as digital markets.

There is a stigma that NA romance should have a high heat level, but I’ve seen as much range in NA in terms of spice as I’ve seen in adult romance. I think it’s important for NA romance authors to continue to write at the heat level that they feel is appropriate for their characters and their stories. I would consider my own NA projects to have a medium heat level. If I’m going to get on a soapbox through this blog, it would be to say this: heat level should not define NA. The voice (closer to YA) and themes surrounding first experiences as an adult should be what defines NA (in my opinion–please don’t burn me at the stake!).

Here’s a list of some NA books I’ve read and loved (in no particular order):

FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

HOPELESS by Colleen Hoover

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas

UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder

SHE LAUGHS IN PINK by Jessica Calla

BEAUTY TOUCHED THE BEAST (BEAUTY SERIES) by Skye Warren

AT ANY PRICE by Brenna Aubrey

PERFECT CHEMISTRY by Simone Elkeles

OBSIDIAN by Jennifer L. Armentrout

As always, I am adding books to my TBR list. Two NA books I’m excited to read next are THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES by Jeaniene Frost and DREAMS OF A WILD HEART by Danube Adele–both paranormal NAs.

Do you have a favorite NA book or a few? Let me know–I’d love to hear about them!

Michelle Joyce Bond

 

THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS Took First Place in the Beacon Contest!

beacon-winnerI am singing and dancing and hugging my rabbit! My geeky, dark new adult paranormal romance took first place in the paranormal category of First Coast Romance Writers’ Beacon Contest!! I am so thankful to everyone who’s supported me: my critique partners, husband, and family. I’m really pulling for this story and hope to make them proud by publishing this strange, little piece of fiction, but we shall see. 🙂

Each time I get contest news, I like to write a bit more about my inspiration for the story, so I’m going to share about the gamer side of things. Since college, I’ve enjoyed hanging out with my husband and his friends who are retro-gamers. My job and writing leave little time for me to play games, but I’ve played many a game vicariously through my real-life, geeky husband hero. He spends a lot of time researching retro games and began collecting both systems and carts a couple of years ago. His collection is modest, but he’s got some great classic carts in there–mostly NES, SNES, and Genesis titles.

A few years ago, we noticed arcades like Yestercades of Red Bank and Somerville, NJ opening up. These retro arcades are a fun place not just for adults to relax and reminisce, but they seemed to attract a decent population of teenagers who were curious about retro games and really seemed to enjoy them. This echoed a trend I noticed on retro collection videos posted on YouTube where its not just Gen Xs reveling in the nostalgia. These incredible games hold appeal for people of all ages as they are timeless, fast-paced, and just plain fun.

This is my inspiration for Bess and her friends, characters in THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS. Freshmen in college, they are wacky, bright, and like nothing more than to chill in a local retroarcade. Of course, Bess isn’t really at a point in her life where she can be anything close to “chill.” And there’s the matter of her former academic rival, Serge, who shows up on the worst night possible and literally beats her at her own game…

Michelle Joyce Bond

THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS: Bit of News and My Inspiration Board

art day graphics heart clipTotally honored–my new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, is now a six-time RWA chapter contest finalist!

Last night, I got the call that my project finaled in North Lousisana RWA’s 2016 Suzannah Contest. What followed was a poor rendition of the Cha Cha Slide and my husband looking at me like I was a nut. They announce the final round in March, so I’m on pins until then!

In the meantime, I’m working on a new book with a new hero and heroine that would could fit into a series with THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS. This paranormal romance series would be centered around dark powers that are triggered by touch. And geeks. Hot geeks. 🙂

Recently, I also had a bit of fun putting together an inspiration board on Pinterest for THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS. Click here to visit the board. One of the coolest images is this woman blurring into smoke. She stands for the Shadow–the antagonist in my story. The Shadow is a malicious being who rises to the surface whenever our heroine kisses a guy and drags his consciousness down into a realm of nightmares.

Michelle Joyce Bond

Exciting News…

love cute kawaii heart i love youMy new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, took first place in the paranormal category of San Francisco RWA’s Heart-to-Heart Contest! This is an incredible surprise–I still can’t believe it! I have my fingers crossed for this project since it is close to my heart in so many ways.

Because every time I post about this project, I try to share a little bit more, I’d like to talk about one of its unique characteristics. My heroine, Bess, works part-time as a medical scribe. In other words, she takes care of the clerical functions of a doctor’s job so that the doctor can be more efficient. A minimum of a high school diploma, computer skills, and a responsible attitude are required for the job. Working as a scribe is a great opportunity for college students who are thinking of aiming for a medical degree and want to see if medicine is for them. It’s also a great way to build experience and can turn into a career! Learn more about it here:

Medical Scribe FAQ

17 Things to Know About Medical Scribes

In my book, Bess is working as a scribe in the ER, so the normal risks of the job as well as the stress are compounded. She is also working with an awful doctor who tests her at every turn.

Part of this tale does take place on a college campus, but I wanted THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS to be as unique a new adult book as possible. That meant new jobs, new settings, and unique characters. Oh–and of course–a strange little curse…

Michelle Joyce Bond

THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS Is Now a Five-Time Finalist!

the-beaconI’m incredibly honored to announce that my new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, has now finaled in five contests: First Coast Romance Writer’s Beacon Contest, Mid-America Romance Authors’ Fiction from the Heartland ContestSan Francisco Area RWA’s Heart-to-Heart ContestMissouri RWA’s Gateway to the Best Contest, and Windy City RWA’s Four Seasons Contest.

**Cue scene in which I spin in circles on a green hill and then break into Katy Perry’s “Roar.”**

These contests are all RWA chapter contests and their first-round judges have provided me with invaluable feedback about my project. The judges also gave me a lot of encouragement. Their comments just made me smile. 🙂 It’s one thing to believe in your book and quite another to hear someone else–a complete stranger–say they love it and can’t wait for it to be published.

Every time I sit down to write a new book, I try to push myself in some way. THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS is my first new adult book. It’s also my first book in dual POV, and I’ve woven my new learning from craft workshops into the fabric of the book. I also can’t help playing with things–like tying the paranormal aspect directly into the romance and its obstacles. The paranormal and romance plots do not coexist but are one in the same.

As always, I couldn’t do this without a few really savvy critique partners. When I was a teenager, I’d lock myself in my room and write and write and write. Those books are still somewhere in my basement on floppy drives (dating myself here)–fantasy paranormals that nobody ever saw but me. But as soon as I decided I wanted an audience and set that goal to be published, I knew I was going to need help. In many ways, it’s all about the journey, and I’m having an absolute blast working with my girls: Kimberley Ash, Arell Rivers, Noella Phillips, and Aryn Youngless. Write on!

Michelle Joyce Bond

THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS Is a Finalist!

I am stoked to share that my new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, finaled in San Francisco Area RWA’s Heart-to-Heart Contest!

excited sailor moon exciting fangirling hell yes

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

Here’s a micro blurb:

A gamer-girl geek puts every guy she kisses to sleep. Her former high school rival is the last guy she expects to try and break the curse.

This was a fun book to write not only because of the new freedom presented by the jump in genre (I usually write YA) but because the chemistry between the characters was so strong.

This is also my first dual POV book, and I absolutely loved being in the hero’s head! A closet artist with a searing intelligence and blunt nature, Serge pushes Bess to her limits. There’s a lot of fun banter between the two throughout the book, and Serge doesn’t pull any punches. He’s my favorite kind of hero–the kind I want to slap.

The heroine, Bess, is bright with tunnel-vision determination and more than her fair share of quirks. Bess and her best friends are retro-gamers which meant I got to write a some fun scenes that include them geeking about in a sweet arcade. Bess is also a medical scribe. This internship offered to college students was interesting to research and definitely helped me to amp up the tension in this book.

I am excited to pitch this new book at NJRW’s Put Your Heart in a Book Conference coming up next weekend. Can’t wait to talk books, make connections, and get my craft on. 🙂

Michelle Joyce Bond