From Sassy to Sexy: Young Adult Fiction Grows Up.
So, what the heck is New Adult? It’s a bit of a genre bender, often a romance but might also be a mystery or fantasy. Generally, the main character is between the ages of 18-25 and, for the first time, experiencing life away from home. The story line focuses on the transition from adolescence to adulthood. More often than not, the content is racier than its young adult counterpart. In other words, it’s what happens when YA grows up.
Once I decided to dip my toe into New Adult fiction, I needed a protagonist. I briefly considered recruiting my main character from the Unbidden Magic series, the smart, sassy (and virginal) Allie Emerson. I could age her a few years and make her choose between the two hot guys from the series: Sexy ex gangbanger Junior Martinez or the studly half-demon, Beck Bradford. Bottom line: I couldn’t do it. Allie will remain virginal, frozen in time.
Instead, I developed a new cast of characters for Affliction, the book I’m currently writing. Due to childhood trauma and her inappropriate social behavior, twenty-two year old Honor Melanie Sullivan (Mel) has been diagnosed with Aspergers, a mild form of autism. But Aspergers is not Mel’s true affliction. She prefers not to gaze into someone’s eyes because she is a soul reader. What she sees in a person’s eyes can be frightening. It also gets Mel into trouble. She leaves her family home and travels to Bend, Oregon to stay with her best friend. Once there, she gets a job as a waitress, becomes involved in her first serious relationship and finds herself embroiled in a human trafficking/baby selling scheme. Whew! The girl has to grow up fast.
Here’s a little taste of Affliction:
Dani is my ride home. But I’d hesitated when she was ready to go. Foolishly, I thought I had a chance with a cute guy I remembered from school. Long story short, I didn’t. A willowy blonde chick named Heather beat me to the punch. I’m not a good loser. Disgusted by the fickleness of the male species, I decide to split.
Pausing for a moment outside the door, I notice a black BMW with tinted windows parked next to the curb, engine running. I try to clear the fog from my brain. Where the hell did we park the car? I’d just stepped off the porch when I hear muffled cursing and a yip of pain. Female pain.
“Get your hands off me, asshole!”
Dani’s voice. High pitched with fear and rage.
Two figures emerge from the shadows. The smaller one jerks free and runs for the street. Her much bigger pursuer covers the ground in three strides and grabs her as she reaches the sidewalk. He wraps both arms around her and lifts her off her feet.
“Dani!” I yell, racing after them. “What’s going on?”
At the sound of my voice, the guy holding Dani turns to face me. I recognize him from the party. He and his friend had been sharing a joint and looking around the room with bored expressions. I glanced into his eyes, didn’t like what I saw and steered clear of him. I forgot to warn Dani.
He looks at me and sneers, “Get the fuck outta here. We’re having a little disagreement. Nothing major.”
“Bullshit!” Dani cries, struggling to free herself.
“Let her go.” I reach for my cell phone. “I’m calling 911 right now.”
“Go ahead,” he says, tipping his head toward the BMW. “We’ll be gone when they get here. We’re going for a ride, aren’t we, Sweetheart?”
He gives Dani a little shake and starts toward the car. “You’re going to learn not to be such a prick tease.”
No time for 911. I jump in front of him. “Let her go. Now.”
The guy grins down at me, his teeth flashing white in the darkness. “Who’s gonna stop me, pipsqueak? You? I don’t think so.”
Nobody calls me pipsqueak. I double up my fist and swing from the heels for his perfectly shaped, aristocratic nose. Because of the disparity in our heights, I miss. Instead of his nose, my fist plows into his throat. Gagging, he drops Dani, clutches his throat with both hands and stumbles backward. His knees buckle and he crumples. The back of his head bounces off the curb. Wide-eyed, Dani and I watch in horror, willing him to move. He doesn’t.
The door of the BMW swings open and his friend pops out.
“Call 911. Your friend’s hurt,” I call.
I grab Dani’s hand and we run like hell.
Marilee’s blog is Book Blather, http://bookblatherblog.blogspot.com where she features aspiring and published authors as well as some tidbits of her own.