Hi everybody! My name is Michelle Leighton and I’ll be talking about the New Adult Wave.
I’ll warn you that I don’t have any studies to quote or statistics to cite, no scholarly experts to call upon and no extensive dissection to prattle on about. In fact, I don’t think anybody does, really. From publishers to booksellers to authors, I think the New Adult wave has taken everyone by storm. Whether it started with the reader
or the writer
matters not. New Adult is here, and it’s here to stay.
For my money, I’m gonna say both it started with an unspoken agreement between readers and
writers. I think many of us grew up and turned a corner at the same time. Readers wanted to read something…more
and writers wanted to write it. Point in case: ME!
Let me first give you some background on me and my story. My journey may share commonalities with many other readers and writers, one that might give some insight into WHY there’s a New Adult Wave.
I began writing in June of 2009. That’s a story in and of itself, so let’s just hit fast forward and skip to the end of January, 2011 when I self-published my first young adult paranormal romance. Why I chose YA PNR is pertinent because it was “the thing” at the moment. It was hot! Between Stephanie Meyer’s success with Twilight and Amanda Hocking’s success with her two self-published series, YA PNR was hitting its stride. So I jumped on board and wrote a few of those to self-publish in hopes of achieving even a portion of their success. My books did moderately well. Some better than others. I wasn’t busting any charts wide open, though.
The turning point for me was when I had written several YA PNR and found that I didn’t want to write another one. Not yet, anyway. I wanted to write something different. Something more. I didn’t want to be boxed in–by anything, be it the paranormal aspect or the young adult aspect. I wanted to tell a story MY WAY with no restrictions, no preconceived notions. No rules. So I wrote my first New Adult Contemporary Romance. It was entitled “The Wild Ones” and it was by far my biggest seller up to that point. The question is: WHY? What was so different about this book? Well, this is where things get interesting.
I think this book found success for a couple of reasons. For one, I think I let go and wrote what I wanted to write, how I wanted to write it. And I think it resonated with readers. But more than that, I think it struck a chord with many of them who were tired of fade-to-blacks and stilted conversations in books that were
intended for the younger generation. That doesn’t mean we older readers love them any less. Heck, like many of you, Twilight is one of my favorite books. Ever. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish we would’ve been given a more intimate look into Edward and Bella’s wedding night or been able to see them handle some more mature subject matter. Because I do. Oh, how I do. LOL But what it all boils down to is that Stephanie Meyer wrote those books for young readers.
She was exercising a good conscience by keeping things age-appropriate. I commend her for that. Many authors don’t show any such restraint, but that’s a whole other bothersome ball of wax. For today, let’s get back to wanting more.
Enter the New Adult book. It’s got all the charm and innocence of Young Adult material, only it has teeth. Sharp ones. And not always the paranormal kind. This stuff has some steam, people! And readers the world over are rejoicing! They get to see the characters they’ve grown to love step into the bedroom. They get to see behind the curtain, beyond the fade-to-black, beneath the clothes. And we’re loving it! Er, I mean they’re
loving it. *giggles* Yes, I’m over twenty-one and I like my steam. Love it, actually. I’ll admit it. I like reading it and
I like writing it. And so do a lot of other readers and writers. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I doubt I’ll ever go back to writing Young Adult. It’s in the more mature stories that I’ve finally found my voice, as have so many other authors. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Young Adult is dead or should be a thing of the past. No, no, no! There is a need for it, and I still love it. But it’s shown us that there’s a need for middle ground, a need for a step beyond the Young Adult, but one that doesn’t go Adult
Adult. It’s a place where the two collide. It’s a new place where we can have the best of both worlds, and it’s a new place that’s making waves. New Adult waves.
My opinion? Bring on the New Adult! I think literature has never looked better.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, M. Leighton, is a native of Ohio. She relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she can be near the water all summer and miss the snow all winter. Possessed of an overactive imagination from early in her childhood, Michelle finally found an acceptable outlet for her fantastical visions: literary fiction. Having written over a dozen novels, these days Michelle enjoys letting her mind wander to more romantic settings with sexy Southern guys, much like the one she married and the ones you’ll find in her latest books. When her thoughts aren’t roaming in that direction, she’ll be riding horses, swimming in ponds and experiencing life on a ranch, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.
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