Monday, July 21, 2014

Both Sides of the New Adult Coin by CD Brennan

A few months back, I got to review CD Brennan's delightful novel, Watershed. I'm currently in the middle of her latest novel, A World Apart, and hope to review it next week once all the excitement of RWA dies down. One of the hot topics at RWA is the subject of the New Adult genre. But what is that? Today we get a great explanation from CD Brennan who explains what New Adult means and how it's changing the world of publishing! -- Mary Ann

Both Sides of the New Adult Coin
CD Brennan

As both a writer and editor of New Adult romance, I am particularly interested in the future of this genre. It was practically genius who devised New Adult. I love that the age range is vast, from 18 – 26, because growing into who you are as an adult takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight, or within the halls of a high school, and some mature faster than others. Personally, I dawdled—bad. It took me, like forever, to figure out who I was, what I believed, what was important to me without letting outside influences alter my path. Looking back, I think I was a complete and utter eejit those years. Where was my head? In my heart, most likely. But that’s okay, and an often explored meme in New Adult.

I’m first and foremost an Editor, then an author. Editing is my job and I love it. I’m not being modest when I say that I am a better Editor than I am a writer. Writing and editing are different disciplines. One uses the right side of the brain; one uses the left. As an editor, I work with parameters and rules, including grammar and construction. I work within the laws of the language and guidelines set by my house. I evaluate a book’s development as if it were a puzzle, rearrange content, if needed, for it all to fit. As an author, I develop settings and plot lines, create loveable, iconic characters, and devise witty, realistic dialogue. From nothing. From thin air. Poof! Okay, maybe with help from a glass of wine and 80s love songs. Everyone has their muse.

I am a Content & Acquisitions Editor with Lyrical Press, a romance imprint of Kensington Publishing out of New York. In the last year, we have seen a large increase in New Adult submissions. As a new genre, it is still growing, and that means writers are expanding into new territories with New Adult. Lately, I’ve received some great NA subs, including time-travel, historical, and fairytale. New Adult writers are dipping into other subgenres, which I am pleased to see. The possibilities are endless. Perhaps a NA sci-fi? Or even better, NA dystopian? I’ve got an idea for that one myself. Or why not New Adult erotic romance? Who’s to say a college chic can’t have an erotic journey of discovery with a hunky grad student on a summer archeological dig? Tent + middle of nowhere = no one will hear them scream.

Maybe NA is becoming more popular for its first mature love combined with youthful fantasy and silly mistakes. Young adults face profound life choices and powerful emotion. Parfait them with great sexual content, and you can’t help but have a winner. The best YA stories make me so effin’ excited when they first kiss, I could cry. Then I want more. How many YA stories did you think to yourself – God, I just wish they could get it on?

That’s where NA comes in. New Adult doesn’t have to be red hot, but it can include characters’ sexual exploration side of their relationships. My series is low in heat, but I reckon if I knew then what I know now, I would have written them a bit sexier. New Adult sales are stronger with higher heat levels. And fair enough. How many young twenty-somethings do you know who aren’t having sex? Sometimes copious amounts! Don’t mistake edgy and angsty with sexy. They don’t have to go together like tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum. There is nothing wrong with a lighthearted storyline with lots of great sex. You can have a strong storyline that integrates sex into the character or relationship development, without the need for uber-drama.
What I am trying to say, is that whatever way you choose to write your New Adult novel, this genre currently has the most potential for new and different. The possibilities are endless.

All Things Writing members interested in publication with Kensington Publishing’s Lyrical Press line may submit directly. Believe in your story and send it to me.

Or, I’d be more than honored if you wanted to check out my own NA series, Love Where You Roam.

Happy Writing!
Corinne DeMaagd


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me Mary Ann! So glad to be here. Hoping to get lots of questions and subs from my visit :-)

    1. Thanks again for being on the blog, CD! I'm planning to point some New Adult writers your way when I'm at the RWA conference. You may get bombarded.....

    2. Oh, I hope so! Please do! Have a brilliant time, wish I was going.