Monday, April 25, 2016

New Adult in Australia

When I first wrote Divided I had never even heard of New Adult. I queried it as a Young Adult story. An agent asked me to rewrite it so that the main character was in high school rather than at university. But a student having an affair with a teacher is a bit more taboo than with a university professor.

I believe New Adult is an important category as people usually read up, and there's a lack of stories out there for teenagers about what they can expect when they leave school. I know university life wasn't what I expected, and maybe getting the opportunity to read stories set straight after school would've helped with that.

I was so relieved with I heard about New Adult. Finally my story fit somewhere. Unfortunately for me, New Adult barely exists in Australia. In fact when I raised it at a writer's conference, someone else wrote a sneering tweet along the lines of "Of course someone brought up NA. Ugh."

We have stories that would fit as New Adult, like Rebecca James' novels, but they are categorised as Young Adult still. And we have authors such as CJ Duggan who are championing Australian New Adult. You can read an interview with her on it here.

I was excited to find that Booktopia now has a New Adult section. And some publishers (but not many) have NA submission options, like Escape Publishing and Bloomsberry Spark.

But the take up is much, much slower than in America. And I get the impression that Australian authors with New Adult novels are more likely to find an audience in America than at home. That's certainly been my experience.

The good news for Australian authors writing New Adult is global reading is definitely growing. Readers what to be transported in their books, and they do love visiting Australia in their books.

Hopefully the grassroots writer support bases in Australia, such as writers' centres and writers' festivals will embrace, support and promote New Adult by including courses on it, including it in their programs, and allowing education opportunities. Some have started, but there's a lot more opportunities out there.

If this base support starts, maybe one day I'll get to see New Adult Sections as a standard thing for Australian libraries and Bookstores.

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