I’ve always said I was going to write Young Adult stories. Since way back when I first started to write, which was probably 7th grade or so.
When I decided to publish my story, Ghost Whispers, after finishing treatment, I released it as a Young Adult book even though the characters are in college. New Adult was not quite a clearly defined book category. There was a lot of confusion about what kind of stories fell into this category. When I mentioned “New Adult” to people I talked about my book with, they looked at me like I’d sprouted another head because they’d never heard the term before. I was entirely confused, and for the most part, I still am. The other day I was reading a blog post about Young Adult & New Adult stories and there it was, in black and white (I’m paraphrasing something written about Young Adult here): the characters cannot be in college. That little tidbit seemed to clear up a lot of the confusion in my world. After all, college students are just starting out, just beginning to form their sense of self outside their family. Many are on their own and away from home for the first time. College students are embarking on their adult life. They are new adults. Confusion gone.
Then I think about other things I’ve seen. I don’t know about you, but when I read reviews of books I know the author intended as NA and see the reviewer writing something like “this is a great YA read” it makes me wonder. I mean, what is it readers expect to see in an NA story? College kids having sex? Based on the whole “starting out in the world” premise, I would expect something not unlike the TV show Friends. Maybe others expect something else.
Why am I thinking about this at all? Well, based on the fact that the characters in Ghost Whispers are in college, and if what the blog post stated is true, then I am a New Adult author, and I need to change that book’s category everywhere it’s available. But then I worry about whether readers will be expecting some steamy sex because the story is “New Adult.” I currently don’t write sex scenes in my stories. Alluding to and teasing on the other hand… Anyway, I don’t know if you want to know why I don’t but I’m going to tell you. I don’t because, honestly, there is a possibility that my mother or father or some other relative that isn’t my cousin or sister will read the story (I don’t have to worry about grandparents as they’re no longer with us). Silly? Maybe. Also, I’m not really interested in reading yet another “I’m on a quest to lose my virginity” story, so why would I write one? (of course, that’s not to say I never read steamy books, but my Nook and Kindle are full of all kinds of stories.)
So what is my whole point? A question. Do I take Ghost Whispers out of the YA category and put it in NA? Or do I leave it where it is and break this “rule”? And if I change GW to NA, do I have to change the Chosen stories’ category as well? Those only have two high school-aged characters, but everyone is facing a whole new world and neither high schooler attends school anymore.
Nope, nothing is clear. I’m still confused.