Today I’m hosting a guest post by new adult author, Julia Kent. The new adult genre has been growing and growing over the past few months so this is an interesting look at why this genre has rapidly gained popularity. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I do!
The Rise of New Adult (Erotic) Romance by Julia Kent
When trying to define what “New Adult” means, the most common comment I’ve read or heard is: “It’s Young Adult with lots of sex.” I’d argue it’s something far, far more – and is a direct result of the Harry Potter craze combined with Fifty Shades of Grey.
Huh? you’re wondering. What do books like Damaged by H.M. Ward, Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder, my own NA book, Random Acts of Crazy, and so many more have to do with a boy wizard and Christian and Ana?
Most agents, editors, and authors of New Adult agree that the main characters fall into the 18-25 age range – as do plenty of (though not all) readers. People in this age range are the original Harry Potter kids – kids who were brought to bookstores for midnight parties with each new release, eager to read J.K. Rowling’s detailed inner journey of the Boy Who Lived.
As the series matured (as well as the readers), paranormal romance took off – aided by the Twilight books. HarryPotter grew up – and so did his fans. They wanted richer stories about interpersonal relationships, sexuality, love and respect. Fumbling through those layers of life, finding a deep connection with another, being loyal to friends and standing with them through trials – all of those issues found a readership in urban fantasy and paranormal stories.
And then came Fifty Shades of Grey. Some people argue that the three-book trilogy by E.L. James is a New Adult book (Ana meets the criteria). Readers clamored for more, more, more – and New Adult books have now filled those gaps (without – mostly – the BDSM element).
Rich stories focusing on coming of age, on new adults experiencing their first major independent decision (or shaking off hover parents so they can make those decisions), and exploring sexuality within the framework of that new-found freedom – those are the hallmarks of the New Adult romance book. Not all NA fits into this definition, and that’s okay – it’s a fluid concept that has fuzzy boundaries.
Meanwhile, this summer readers are rabidly gobbling up NA books, New Adult dominates the top romance spots on all the major retailers, and plenty of NA books are hitting the USA Today Bestseller list (like mine) and the New York Times Bestseller list (not mine!).
Is NA here to stay? No one knows. Readers seem to love it, authors are branching out from erotica into New Adult (Jasinda Wilder, Mimi Strong and I all first published in erotica), and the level of awareness and infusion of eroticism into the books is a feature fans love. On the road to independence, people need role models, allegories, and worlds to sink into – and that’s precisely where New Adult fits in for so many readers.
About the Author
Julia Kent turned to writing romance novels after learning that she could not work as a fighter pilot because her fear of flying disqualified her. Turning to her second love, she became a dog groomer, but had to abandon that job after adopting too many strays. Writing about very real, very flawed people is a natural extension of her life and, well, her. She lives on the east coast with her partner, two small children, seventeen dogs that weigh less than fifteen pounds each, and a monthly consumption of Nutella, brie and french bread that makes cardiologists cringe.
If you liked this post, check out these:
Fairytales Retold: The Rise of the Fantasy Genre
Book Review: Random Acts of Crazy by Julia Kent
Book Review: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden
Book Review: The Geography of You and Me