Writing non-traditional New Adult

Non-Traditional. That has a nice ring to it. And it sure beats being called ‘weird’ or ‘miss-labeled’. Almost official even…

When I first started writing Goddess Born, it was considered YA / Crossover. In the few years since, crossover gave way to New Adult, and it didn’t take much time before I was shown the YA door. To be honest, I didn’t want to go. Goddess Born was historical and sweet—not college and hot. And for the past year while preparing to publish, I’ve felt like the ugly duckling in the NA pond. When people familiar with the genre asked what I wrote, I soon got use to the confused or patronizing comments. “Really? New Adult? But you write historical. And your characters don’t have sex. How could you ever be New Adult?” Good question, and one I’ve asked a million times—do I belong here?

Fast forward a year. The space has started to expand… a little bit. Maybe just light between the cracks, but that’s something to work with. And I’ve grown too. So rather than give a hurried explanation of what I write in anticipation of the blowback, I’ve learned to dig some elbows in my fellow NA authors’ ribs, and say, “Hey, move over. There’s space enough for everyone here.” There has to be, or else NA won’t develop the necessary legs to stand on and will eventually tip over and die.

The years between 18 and 25—from young adult to full adult—are a time of tremendous personal growth. They are also a time when many young people buck at norms and restraints in their search of self and happiness. So why not give the genre adequate freedom to explore and create stories unique to this period of life? For some writers, this will bring them to college campuses with tattooed, motorcycle-riding heroes and heroines. For others, the ‘non-traditionals’ like me, it could lead to Colonial Pennsylvania with a few Quakers and a Goddess thrown in to keep things interesting.

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