Hang on. You mean I wasn’t supposed to put sex in a YA romcom? Aww, man…
As someone making the jump from YA to NA author, I’ve been doing a lot of chatting about what new adult actually is. Inevitably, I am met with one of three reactions:
- That’s like YA with sex, right?
- *blank stare*
- Isn’t that just a BS marketing label?
Confession time. I’ve actually had all three of those reactions at one point or another. But my decision to write and market my latest romantic comedy Get Real as new adult wasn’t one I took lightly.
For me, YA is all about the high school years. That 13-18 age range where we’re generally still under parental control and stuck in a very unnatural environment of being grouped by age. YA speaks to the specific concerns of “Who am I?”, “How do I stand out?”, “How do I not stand out too much?”, and most awesomely “I’m in love for the first time! lalalalala”. Teen passion has a beautiful hilarious awkwardness to it. Not so much for my poor deluded characters, but you know, for the rest of us on the outside.
Once we graduate, leave those high school walls, we’re looking forward. Thinking about what it means to be an adult, with all the challenges and heady freedoms involved. And yes, that includes sexual experimentation at a whole other level. Probably. Though, if it was just about sex, I wouldn’t have bothered to write NA. It’s about thematic concerns. YA wouldn’t have been an honest fit for what my characters are facing, but calling it an adult romantic comedy didn’t work either. Because they’re not yet adults. That’s the point of the journey – figuring out on what terms to start their adult lives, and how that impacts being in love.
I italicized that last bit because it’s at the heart of things. *insert pun groan here* I write romantic comedy (with some urban fantasy elements). New Adult provides a very specific lens and POV where love is concerned. Maybe my characters have only had that one sweet other. Maybe they tore their way through their high school roster. Whatever the experience, it’s formed them, up to a point. The clay hasn’t hardened fully. Now I get to come along and set them in a hilariously painful way. How great is that for me as an author? (And hopefully fun for you as a reader.)
I’m super excited to keep exploring this brave new world of new adult and I’d love to hear your thoughts about it. Do you read NA?
Book title: Get Real
Release date: September 26, 2015
Page count: 358
Genre: NA Romantic comedy with urban fantasy elements
Publishing house: Te Da Media
Blurb about the book:
Magic and Mayhem in Manhattan
Francesca Bellafiore comes from a nice Jewish family — one that happens to have magical powers. Underneath her good-girl exterior, though, she’s a wannabe badass with dreams of becoming a paranormal detective.
Party boy Rafael Muñoz does everything possible to publicly disappoint his high profile father. Privately, it’s a different story. His carefully crafted bad boy reputation masks the fact he’s a master illusionist, forced into solo covert ops. The role is wearing thin and Rafael longs to be part of a team.
When Francesca and Rafael meet, it’s love at first sight… For about five minutes. Rafael is spectacularly attractive—and, Francesca discovers, fully aware of the fact. Rafael knows from experience that girls like Francesca are more trouble than they’re worth.
So it sucks big time when they’re caught in a web of magic, minions, secrets, and enough sexual tension to power NYC. Their only chance to save the city and survive is to team up, trust each other–and maybe even fall in love.
Provided they don’t kill each other first.
Get Real is a romantic comedy, urban fantasy whirlwind with sass, sex, and swoon.
Excerpt or link to read an excerpt:
Get Real Teaser
The moon was full. I’d lost my cardigan somewhere in the house but this late in June, the night
before the summer solstice, it was warm. The thump of bass and tinkling laughter from the party kept
me company, but I was alone until a familiar weight crushed my lap.
The swing jolted sideways.
“Give us a sip,” Devi said, sprawling across me. “I’m parched.”
I half–heartedly shoved her. “There’s this amazing old–school technology called a tap. It pours water
to quench your thirst.”
“It’s too crowded in there. And some obnoxious ass is juggling kegs. This does not bode well for
the rest of the evening.”
Great. I’d probably end up on healing duty.
Devi slid off me and swung her legs onto my lap, nestling against the green cushions resting along
our backs. She held out her hand imperiously.
I handed over my soda. “Any sign of the target? Or his friends?” I asked.
“No sightings yet.” Eli slumped down on my other side. He flicked my knee to get me to move my
leg from under his, since he’d sat on it. Then he snatched the bottle from Devi before I could grab it,
and took a long swig.
Eli sputtered at the taste of it. “Coke,” he said with the same disgust reserved for “herpes.”
I wiped off my arm with a grimace. “Where’s Byron?” I asked.
Eli set the bottle down between us. “Last I saw, she was pretending to hostess but really watching
the front door like a hawk waiting for her boy toy to show.”
Byron gracefully sat down into the teak chair to my left, placing her own drink on the low table in
front of us with a gentle clink of ice. She’d changed from her more casual sundress into dark skinny
jeans and a sparkly black top, her hair curled in gentle waves. What a good–looking bunch we were.
“Hardly a hawk,” she said.
“A lady hawk.” Eli leaned forward to inspect the dark liquid.
“Rum and coke,” Byron said, sliding her glass away from him. “And off limits to boys who insult.”
I leaned my head on Eli’s shoulder. “This is nice. Who knows how many more moments we’ll have
like this for a while?”
Eli slung his arm around me. Devi reached up to take his hand, while Byron swung a foot onto
his lap, as we all watched a couple dance in lazy turns on the lawn to the dubstep pounding from the
I was really lucky to have them, these friends who loved me for who I was, pointless boiler aspirations
and all. I sighed, all warm and snug.
Then some guy stepped into the back doorway, framed by the soft light over the door and I forgot
these people existed. Hip braced against the wood, he lounged all cocky arrogance. He wore dark
straight–leg jeans, hanging low on his lean hips, and exposing a glimpse of hard abs under a T–shirt
reading More Issues Than Vogue.
I laughed softly, even as my stomach clenched in swoony delight.
I couldn’t tell his eye color but he had black hair, cut short on the sides and longer on top.
He flexed a hand, rubbing it roughly over the top of his head. It left his soft–looking strands all
mussed up. Even his fierce scowl didn’t detract from his looks. Though he wasn’t my usual pretty boy
The more I watched him from my cover of the shadowed swing, the more his smoldering dark looks
made “pretty” kind of boring. “Figo,” I sighed. “Who is that? But don’t—”
Every single pair of my friends’ eyes swung toward him.
“… Stare,” I said.
“Hey.” Byron bounced on the seat at the sight of him. “That means Jones must be here.”
She glanced around.
Eli clamped a hand down on her as she tried to get up. “Play it cool.”
She grumbled but stayed put.
Devi swung her head between the unknown beautiful boy and me. “Do tell. I’m intrigued by any
male who gets Frankie so hot and bothered.”
“Am…” I started to protest, but got distracted by the view as he turned around.
My friends snickered.
“Not,” I finished.
“Yeah you ‘am,’” Eli said. “Name him already Byron, so that Frankie may harness his body for
I waved a flustered hand at him. “Shut up.”
Devi half–raised her hand. “Wait. I want her to speak them. The acts.” She took my hand and
placed it on Eli’s leg. “Or just point out on Eli where you’d like to touch this guy.”
I snatched my hand back with a long–suffering look. “Who is he?”
Byron lowered her voice. Not like he could hear us. “You must have heard of him. Rafael Muñoz?”
Devi’s eyes widened. “That’s Javier’s infamous kid, Rafa?”
I deflated. Only because of his reputation and not at all because he now chatted with a supermodel–
gorgeous blonde. “Could he invade her personal space any more?”
I guzzled down the dregs of my Coke.
“Don’t think of Rafa as marriage material, more like ‘for a good time call,’” Byron said.
1) YA & New Adult romantic comedy author because her first kiss sucked and she’s compensating.
2) Firm believer that some of the best stories happen when love meets comedy and awkwardness ensues.
3) Sassy minx.
Both a hopeless romantic and total cynic, Tellulah Darling is all about the happily-ever-after, with a huge dose of hilarity along the way. Her romcoms come in a variety of heat levels and flavors; straight up romantic comedy, shaken with Greek mythology or stirred with urban fantasy.
Sassy girls. Swoony boys. What could go wrong?
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