Readers, today we welcome Kelley York, a versatile writer who has written dark novels in both contemporary and paranormal settings. She’s here today to talk about New Adult fiction, which has caused quite a stir in publishing lately. So let’s all say hello and learn a little bit about what the NA classification means to one author.
Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I’m from Sacramento, California and I write mostly LGBT young adult and new adult fiction. Generally of a darker variety. 😉 I have three published novels to date, and my fourth one—MADE OF STARS—will be available from Entangled Publishing in October.
First of all, could you tell us what “New Adult” means to you? It’s such a hot topic lately — what do you think of it as a new classification?
HUSHED falls into the NA category, but it came out in a time when NA wasn’t widely accepted as being a “thing.” Now, NA is really taking off, filling (what I think is) a gap in the market. As a primarily NA writer, it’s a very exciting time for me.
What made you decide to write new adult fiction?
There wasn’t a conscious effort to write NA, it’s just what many of my stories have called for. With HUSHED, it was important for Archer to live alone, given the type of life he leads. He couldn’t have his mother lording over him. In SUICIDE WATCH, Vincent’s entire journey begins when he’s thrust out into the ‘real world’ with absolutely no knowledge of how it works.
What types of stories does new adult make possible?
We get protagonists who’ve likely already been through the teenage romance, been in love a few times, done all the high school drama, etc. Our “YA” years in high school do so much to shape us. New adult reflects the result of all that, while simultaneously thrusting the characters into the new situations that adult life presents.
What audience do you think new adult attracts? Is it like YA, attracting readers outside its age group? How does the audience alter the types of stories you tell and characters you write?
NA is going to attract an older audience than YA, which means as authors we can get away with more in terms of content. Language, sex, darker situations. While young adult can and does deal with these things, they do have to be handled with some tact because at least a portion of our audience are going to be young teenagers. NA lifts a good deal of those restrictions.
How does new adult affect the stakes for your characters and your audience?
In terms of contemporary/real world stories, I think the stakes are definitely upped. Our characters are being placed in charge of their own lives. They’re essentially children being thrust into an adult world and, sadly, many of them aren’t prepared for it. School doesn’t teach kids how to find a career, balance a checkbook, pay our bills, find a home, or how vastly different interactions are outside of school.
Why do you think people love to read new adult? How do you think the age-setting affects its audience?
They always say kids read up. Middle-graders read about young teens. Younger teens tend to read about upper teens. So…then, where does that leave older teens in the 17/18 range? If they read up, they’re going to be tossed right into adult books. There’s a whole section of life that gets skipped over. Growing up, I stopped reading in my teen years because the YA books available at the time began to feel too young for me, and I wasn’t interested in jumping into “adult” books yet. There was a distinct lack of books that seemed to be just for me.
For fun, what is your favorite genre to read? Why?
I’m a sucker for anything emotional and dark. I was big into paranormal for awhile, but these days I primarily read contemporary. Anything John Green, Hannah Moskowitz, or Sean Olin makes me happy. I love dark stories, or emotional stories that really make me feel as well as think. I’m big on character development. I’m also a complete sucker for books like Mira Grant’s FEED series, or Carrie Ryan’s THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH.
Kelley, thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for having me!