So, when I introduced Sydney + Clara, I mentioned that it was a “New Adult” novel. Here are some FAQs to help clarify some things…
Q: What does “New Adult” mean?
A: New Adult is a category of literature in which “protagonists typically fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.” says the NA Alley blog. Themes for these stories generally include sexuality, abuse, drug addiction, rape, and other hot button issues that people between 18 and 30 face. Some novels in this category are explicitly sexual, while others are not. Let’s put it this way… NA falls somewhere between Stephanie Meyer and Nicholas Sparks.
Q: How Sydney + Clara your book fit into this genre?
A: Well, as you can probably guess from the cover blurb, Sydney is facing some issues of sexual identity. As you read the novel, you’ll find that Clara’s background also has a lot to do with some of these major issues, such as loss of innocence and coming of age much younger than normal.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to write a novel like this?
A: Actually, no. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I pictured myself writing more high-brow, literary works (think Cormac McCarthy). Sydney and Clara‘s story, however, just fits really well into this genre. I let the story dictate how it will be “categorized,” not the other way around. My next novel is a YA novel geared toward younger teens in middle and high school. I don’t want to define myself by any one genre. I just want to write stories that people can relate to and carry with them through whatever struggles they may be facing.
Q: So… Sydney falls in love with a girl. Is this book about coming out as lesbian?
A: It is, and it isn’t. The major focus of the novel is Sydney’s relationships in general, and specifically her relationship with Clara. Sydney has had a lot of challenges in her love life, so when Clara comes along, she’s not prepared for developing feelings for her. Obviously, that’s a homosexual relationship, but the novel is also about friendship, trust, and developing a personal identity. As a teacher, I encourage my students never to do or be anything just because someone told them that’s how they should be. Sydney’s story is kind of an homage to that belief.
Q: Will there be any sex scenes with just the two girls?
A: Yep. I’m apologetically pro-love, in all it’s forms. If you can read Fifty Shades, no matter how much you might have blushed, you can read Sydney + Clara. There are also scenes with Clay and Scott. A little something for everybody. *wink wink*
Q: Who are some of your favorite NA authors?
A: I think the first NA novel I read was just last year – Breathe by Abbi Glines, and I’ve since read all of her other books. I also love Tammara Webber (Easy), Jamie McGuire (Beautiful Disaster), Colleen Hoover (Hopeless), and Rebecca Donovan (Barely Breathing). There are so many others, as well. I think over the past year I’ve read almost 150 NA novels. These ladies have really stood out in that arena, and are my inspirations as they all began as self-published authors as well.
If there’s anything I missed, or that you’d like to ask, please feel free to leave questions in the comments or e-mail me.