I'm less than two weeks away from releasing the seventh and final book in my New Adult, paranormal Soul Savers series, which feels incredibly surreal. I started writing this series in January 2009, in a very different time for both the publishing world and the NA category. In fact, NA wasn’t even a “thing” at the time. St. Martin's Press coined the phrase “New Adult” in 2009, but their call for submissions seemed to be a bust. Where were today’s NA writers then? Probably trying to rework their stories to fit YA or adult.

You see, we were all told back then that nobody wanted to read about college-aged characters. They wanted our characters' ages changed to fit YA or Adult, and then we could resubmit. I reevaluated my own story, but I couldn't meet their demands. My characters come to me with their stories, not the other way around, and changing her age either up or down would have made no sense for her story. Although I couldn’t make the change, I know many other authors did with theirs (thus, the number of YA books that take place at boarding school—can’t have parents in the picture, but can’t put the MCs in college either).

Like many writers of this age category, I took the self-publishing route to get my story out there. This was back in 2010, when self-pubbing wasn’t much of a “thing,” either. In fact, it was pretty much looked down on and called a career-killer. I didn’t have a career as a novelist at the time, so I didn’t really have anything to lose. I went forward, and over the next couple of years, other writers did, too, including many of those who'd written stories with NA aged characters. We all know what happened after that.

In NA stories, characters are forging their ways down new paths. In the book world, we have done the same. During the past five years between hitting that publish button on my debut and getting ready to hit it on the conclusion to that story, we have witnessed and helped along needed change. We have been a part of the indie community breaking through the barriers, and with it, the NA market. We had to fight our way to publication and readers, but one of the most inspiring aspects to adversity is change. And wow, how everything has changed.

I hope over the next five years, the industry and the market continue to evolve. Although most of us here see NA as an age category that includes all the genres, much of the book world remains focused on contemporary romance. There are amazing paranormal, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, mystery, and other spec fiction NA books that are waiting to be discovered. They exist! And they need to exist. They need to be read and enjoyed, because this life stage—the time of breaking out on one’s own and discovering one’s self—brings a whole new dimension to the spec fiction genres. Ignoring this age group in any genre would mean the world loses out on discovering truths for this time of life that can sometimes only be found in the midst of a murder mystery or on a spaceship headed for a fantasy world.

We just have to keep forging our way, spreading the word, and continuing to do what we lovers - and the characters - of all things NA do best: facilitate change.


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  1. Beautifully said, Kristie! (And 7th book in the series?! That deserves a massive WOOT! :-) ) I'm 100% on board with being the change in New Adult. It's why I'm involved here at the Alley and with various other NA groups and projects. I have a passion for writing about the 18-26 (or whatever) experience. It was such a huge part of my own life and I want to explore it with my characters.

    Readers are clearly supportive of other kinds of NA, so it's a matter of time until others are, too. :)

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    1. I'm so glad you're involved like you are, EJ! You're a pioneer in this category. And I agree - this stage of life that is NA is huge, and also one of the most exciting and dramatic times. It's naturally bursting with story opportunities.

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  2. Congratulations on coming up on lucky number 7 in the series!!

    I feel like for a long time New Adult spec-fic was absorbed into Adult -- we see a lot of what we'd consider in the normal world to be college-aged characters in fantasy novels, after all. But I'm excited to have a category that fits these stories better, and let's face it, we've all been in that place where we're trying to figure out what being an adult means and how we're going to tackle the world!

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    1. Thank you, Amalia! I think it has more to do with what the characters are facing in spec fic than it does the age. In fact, in my Soul Saves Series, by the end she's 29 years old, but the entire series is about her going from young girl to coming into her own as a woman and a leader. In YA spec fic, we're only getting the beginning of these kinds of stories, and in Adult, the transition is glossed over, more backstory than THE story. Finally, we can make this time of life the story, with all of its mistakes, victories, and consequences.

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  3. Awesome post, Kristie! This is such a positive message. Change can happen in significant ways as long as those of us who truly believe in NA speculative fiction continue to write amazing stories that touch lives. The more people read these stories, the more the word will spread. So excited for the last book in the Soul Savers series!

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    1. Thank you, Sarra! Yep - keep writing! Keep sharing and keep talking. :)

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  4. You're doing beautiful work, Kristie! Isn't it amazing sometimes how, when we're part of the change, we don't see the change happening until we look back? I felt like nothing was different last year until I looked back and said WOW. I can't wait to see what happens this year and many years forward.

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    1. Truth! When you're in the trenches, it's hard to see the progress on the front line. But it's happening. The future is wide open.

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  5. Well said Kristie! That quote btw has been my mantra for all things over the last few years. It helps put things in perspective.
    Wow 7th book?? You're a superstar! Congrats! <3

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  6. This was a very encouraging post. As someone who is taking the plunge into NA (and possibly self-publishing), it's nice to hear that there are people out there that don't think this isn't just "sexed-up YA". I wish you great good luck with your series.

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  7. It is SO much more than "sexed up YA!" Please share your stories!!

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  8. As someone finishing up a new adult paranormal novel (my first!), I found this post very encouraging. Thank you!

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