Category Archives: New Adult fiction

Sailing, bookstore news and the NA Crush Tournament

Sailing

Guess what I did last week? I took a four-month-old baby sailing. Doesn’t that sound like a great idea? No? Turns out you’re right. Little Mackenzie wasn’t a huge fan of the open seas, but seeing as we booked the holiday with friends eighteen months ago, we gave it a good crack anyway.

Despite Mackenzie’s misgivings, we had a great time overall. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself in the middle of the beautiful Whitsundays!

Bookstore news

Moving on to book-related matters, The Big Smoke is now available to buy in two bricks-and-mortar bookstores! It’s a wonderful feeling to see your novel for sale at your favourite bookstore (Avid Reader, West End), on the same shelf as one of your favourite authors (Nick Earls).

The Big Smoke for sale at Avid Reader bookshop

The Big Smoke for sale at Avid Reader (third from the left).

New Adult crush tournament

NA Crush Tournament banner

The fabulous NA Alley team has announced they will be holding the very first NA Crush Tournament! What does that mean, I hear you ask. It means that heroes from the New Adult genre will battle against each other for the crown of ‘best New Adult crush’.

Seb

Seb – a worthy contender for the NA Crush Tournament?

NA Alley will post the official rules of the competition next Tuesday (4 June), when nominations for crushes open. I’m looking forward to taking part in the competition (and just between you and me, I’m also hoping that someone might nominate the hopeless-yet-loveable Seb from The Big Smoke).

Your turn

Would you take an infant sailing? Who’s your latest literary crush? Anything exciting happening in your world that you’d like to share?

2 Comments

Filed under New Adult fiction, Personal, The Big Smoke, Writing

Book review: Easy by Tamara Webber

Book blurb

I'm glad I had an e-book without a cover because my version of Lucas is so much hotter!

I’m glad I had an e-book without a cover because the Lucas my mind created is so much hotter than the one depicted here!

When Jacqueline follows her long-term boyfriend to college, the last thing she expects is a breakup. After two weeks in shock she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, ignored by former friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, she is assaulted. Rescued by a stranger in the right place at the right time, she just wants to forget that night. But when her attacker turns stalker she has to make a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Her savior proves protective and intriguing, but he’s hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly, knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

My thoughts

I literally just finished this book, which could be a bad thing because my emotions might get the better of me and I might gush. Quite simply, I loved this story. I kept reading it when I should have been catching up on much-needed shut-eye (with an eight-week-old baby, sleep is an elusive commodity), but I just had to read on. The story was that addictive.

Jacqueline and Lucas are beautifully crafted characters. I felt like I got to know them both intimately throughout the book, and my heart ached as their stories unfolded. I’m sure the author would be thrilled to know that I now want to take self defence classes because she’s shown me how empowering (and necessary) they can be.

Jacqueline is a brilliant main character, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her grow and learn. There were times when I was disappointed with her decisions, but they just made her all-the-more real.

And Lucas. Wow. What can I say? There are so many layers to Lucas that I never tired in reading about him. The connections that developed between him and Jacqueline felt so real and organic – I really admire Webber’s ability to develop authentic connections and not just rely on superficial interests as some books do.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys realistic, gritty stories in a college/university setting. The plot deals with some pretty heavy topics so if you’re up for a light read, this may not be the book for you. But if you’d like to read a novel that introduces you to flawed, vulnerable-but-beautiful individuals, get your hands on a copy of Easy!

PS If you’ve read Easy and would like to read another gritty novel set at college/university, try my novel, The Big Smoke! 😀 (couldn’t help adding that plug in there!)

My rating: 5 stars

 My 1-5 scale (updated)

1: Terrible.
2: It was okay.
3: I liked it.
4: I really liked it.
5: I loved it. 

Your turn

Have you read Easy? If so, what did you think? If not, is it on your to-read list?

3 Comments

Filed under Book review, New Adult fiction, Reading, Writing

Nick Earls interviews me about new adult fiction; Mental Health Monday; and writing from the perspective of the opposite sex

Tonight’s post is the finale of my blog tour for The Big Smoke, and let me assure you, it ends with a bang!

STOP ELEVEN

Stop eleven was an unexpected, but extremely welcome, detour from my scheduled route. I received an email over the weekend from one of my all-time favourite authors, Nick Earls, to see if I’d be interested in answering a few questions about New Adult fiction on his blog. Naturally, I agreed! Here’s a taste of the post…

Away from the internet, the NA market is still in its infancy in terms of connecting books with buyers (in my opinion, at least). There’s a strong opportunity to establish a relationship between NA authors and universities/colleges because so many students in higher education are part of the NA target market, but I don’t believe this has been explored much at all yet.  Read more…

STOP TWELVE

In my twelfth stop, I’ve been interviewed about The Big Smoke by Laura Diamond as part of her Mental Health Monday series. Want a preview? Here you go!

What’s your technique for drawing out authentic emotions in your characters?

I don’t know if my technique is anything ground breaking – it mainly involves taking my hands off the keyboard, closing my eyes and imagining what it would be like to be in the situation my character is experiencing. What would it feel like? What thoughts would be running through your head? What would you notice about your surroundings? Read more…

LUCKY STOP THIRTEEN

In my thirteen and final stop, I’m guest posting over at Arlee Bird’s Tossing it Out about writing from the perspective of the opposite sex and whether or not that’s a good idea.

Here’s a taste for you:

When I decided to re-write my New Adult novel, The Big Smoke, so that it was told from the first-person perspective of my two main characters, I knew it would be challenging for me (a 29-year-old woman) to create a realistic and engaging teen male voice. Seb, my main male character, is 17 at the beginning of The Big Smoke and comes from a different background to me, but I was determined to get into his head somehow and use his words to tell the story. Read more…
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SIGNING OFF (FOR NOW)
Thanks for following me around the blogosphere! Hope you’ve enjoyed my guest posts and interviews about all things The Big Smoke. 🙂
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4 Comments

Filed under blog tour, New Adult fiction, Nick Earls, The Big Smoke, Writing, Writing craft

Green by Nick Earls and NA Alley’s New Adult Online Book Club

Green by Nick Earls

I’ve got two super-cool things to tell you about this evening. The first is Green, a newly released collection of fiction by one of my favourite authors, Nick Earls. Green includes a short story Nick wrote in 1995, a few more short stories in 1999, a novel he wrote in 2001 (called World of Chickens), and a brand new short story written earlier this year.

What’s the link between the stories? They all feature the same two main characters, the always-hilarious Phil and Frank, who start off as newbie med students at Qld Uni in the first short story and end up as 50-year-olds in the final one. Apart from the stories themselves, there are two awesome facts about Green.

Awesome Fact 1: Nick took a risk with the last short story, and it kind of bit him in the butt. He explains in his latest blog post:

“I figured Frank would be prone to a big mid-life gesture and, in May this year [when Nick was writing the last short story], I decided it would be, of all things, the 2012 New York Marathon. Okay, so it was slightly in the future but, in its more than 40 years, nothing had cancelled the New York Marathon, right?…

Then along came Hurricane Sandy, causing damage and loss of life in the Caribbean and eastern US. The New York marathon, which around now should be a litter of Gatorade cups on New York streets, was cancelled.

So I’ve got myself a brand new 7500-word Frank and Phil story that can only exist in a parallel universe, where the weather was November average and the only chaos affected my two characters…”

BAHAHAHA! Is it evil of me that I find that hilarious? 😀

Anyway… moving on to Green Awesome Fact 2:

Nick and his publisher are donating every cent that comes in from sales of Green to the New York Mayor’s Fund, to help the city recover from the hurricane. At the moment, Green is only available outside of Australia and New Zealand (BAH!), but I know that suits many of my wonderful followers who hail from America and other parts of the globe. If you’re interested, you can read more about Green over at Nick’s blog (but not until you’ve read the rest of this post!).

NA Alley’s New Adult Online Book Club

Remember how, at the beginning of the post, I said there were two super-cool things I wanted to tell you about? Well, this is the second one. Today, Bailey Kelsey announced a new feature on the NA Alley blog. It’s called Alley Reads, and it’s a New Adult Online Book Club. In Bailey’s words, “Alley Reads is designed to be a leisurely book club, giving all of us a chance (and the motive) to tackle that NA reading list while still managing other life priorities.”

A new New Adult book will be announced every seven weeks. People will have plenty of time to read the book, and then, at the end of the seven-week period, Bailey will host a live blog discussion about the book in question.

Now, as if that wasn’t cool enough, guess which book is first cab off the rank? Yes, that’s right. It’s THE BIG SMOKE!!! How exciting is that?! I am so looking forward to it!! I strongly encourage you all to get involved and make this book club a success (and my encouragement has nothing to do with the fact that you have to buy my book to participate! Okay, maybe a little. But I’d be encouraging you to participate even if it was another NA book, I promise!).

If you’d like to find out more about Alley Reads, head on over to NA Alley!

6 Comments

Filed under New Adult fiction, Nick Earls, Reading, The Big Smoke

A character interview with Seb!

In the second stop of my blog tour, the awesome Rachel Morgan is interviewing The Big Smoke‘s main male character, Seb.

Rachel: First things first: How would you describe yourself? 

Seb: Um, I’d try not to. But if I had to, I guess I’d say that I’m a country guy who’s attempting to get used to living in the city and going to uni. And not doing a very good job at it!…”

Read the rest of the interview at Rachel’s blog. Rachel really makes Seb squirm!

And don’t forget to take part in The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest by the end of the week. A $20 Amazon is up for grabs! So far a grand total of ONE person has participated, so if you give it a crack the odds of winning the moolah are pretty high!

5 Comments

Filed under blog tour, New Adult fiction, The Big Smoke, YA fiction

Mental illness in teen fiction

Today is the first stop in my blog tour to celebrate the launch of my debut new adult novel, The Big Smoke. I’m over at Michael Offutt’s blog talking about mental illness in teen fiction.

“…I’ve just launched my debut New Adult novel, The Big Smoke, which is extremely exciting, but I’m here to talk about a serious issue that is covered in The Big Smoke – mental illness.

Although things have improved a lot in the past decade, mental illness is still quite a taboo topic in many societies. I’m Australian and my experience of this is mostly home grown, but from what I’ve read and seen, the reluctance to discuss mental illness is also paramount in other parts of the globe…”

Read the rest of the post at Michael’s blog!

And don’t forget to take part in The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest by the end of the week. A $20 Amazon is up for grabs! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under blog tour, New Adult fiction, The Big Smoke, YA fiction

Who would like an Advance Review Copy of The Big Smoke?

Exciting times! I’ve now gone through all of the line edits from my copy editor for The Big Smoke, and I’m thrilled with his recommendations. I feel like he really ‘gets’ the novel and its characters, and his feedback has helped to iron out any minor issues and given me ideas where I can take scenes that little bit further. The writing is also more concise now, with almost 10,000 words culled from the total word count.

Thankfully, it seems he’s enjoyed the process as well, judging by the feedback I received from him:

I’ve edited and reviewed writing by many well-known Australian authors, and have also mentored a large number of emerging writers as they’ve worked toward publication. Working with you on The Big Smoke has certainly been among the most enjoyable of all these experiences.

What you achieve in this novel is significant. With authentic characters you take the reader through those momentous transitions young people make, from school to tertiary study and from country to city. Ceara and Seb are truly brought to life, each at the centre of a network of friends and family – and there’s just enough overlap in those networks to ensure that readers can keep their bearings with ease.

It’s a rare first novel that runs beyond 100,000 words and sustains interest throughout. That this is achieved reflects the strength of the central characters, and the immediacy they are given in your first person narrative strands. Capturing the ebb and flow of relationships is no easy thing, and you do this very well indeed through the skilful depiction of a whole spectrum of friends and acquaintances. You have a great ear for dialogue, and your evocation of an emotional landscape will resonate with many readers.  The Big Smoke is a polished and memorable piece of writing.

Isn’t that awesome? Warm fuzzies!

By the end of this weekend, the content of The Big Smoke will be finished. Done. Like I said, exciting times!! This means that I’ll soon be able to give people Advanced Review Copies in e-book format. So, who’s keen to read a contemporary realistic novel of the new adult variety? You’re under no obligation to give the book a positive review (or any review at all) if you don’t enjoy it. If you do enjoy it, feel free to post a review on your blog, on Amazon, on Good Reads, on a billboard… 😉

In case you’ve forgotten/don’t know what the book’s about, here’s the blurb:

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

The book will be available as an ARC in MOBI, Kindle and PDF formats, which means it will be readable on all e-reader devices (I think. Correct me if I’m wrong!).

So, what do you reckon? 

Fancy giving The Big Smoke a bash? You can read the first two chapters if you’d like to get a taste of the book before deciding. If you’d like an ARC, leave a comment or drop me an email at callyjackson at gmail dot com. Feel free to spread the word…

11 Comments

Filed under Editing, New Adult fiction, Self publishing, The Big Smoke, Writing

The date is set… for my cover reveal!

Yes, that’s right. The date you’ve all been waiting anxiously for has finally been decided (well, the interim date before the REALLY big date of the book launch). The cover for my debut New Adult novel, The Big Smoke, will be revealed on … drum roll… Wednesday 26 September! Only 25 sleeps to go!

To whet your appetite, I’ve included two slivers of the cover in this post. If you’d like to be part of the biggest cover reveal this year (hey, a girl can dream!), let me know in the comments and you’ll go in the draw to win prizes, such as my eternal gratitude and never-ending friendship. In fact, every entrant is guaranteed to win both those prizes. Could this get more awesome?! I think not!

In other news, baby-girl-in-tum is growing nicely, and Mark (beloved) and I are having all kinds of fun coming up with possible names. There are some front-runners but we don’t have a firm winner yet (and if there was, it would be a secret!).

Your turn 

Any guesses about what’s featured on the cover based on the slivers? Would you like to be part of the cover reveal? Have you seen any truly awesome covers recently?

P.S. Thanks to those who have already said they’d like to be involved in the cover reveal. I’ve got your names saved and you receive an extra large dose of gratitude!

25 Comments

Filed under Marketing, New Adult fiction, Personal, Self publishing, The Big Smoke

New Adult fiction – the missing genre?

Have you ever read a book that didn’t seem to fit squarely in either Young Adult (YA) or Adult fiction? It might have been about someone who has just moved out of home to go to uni. Or someone who’s just finished uni and is now trying to prove himself in his first professional job.

The protagonists in these books are too mature to be considered YA protagonists, but they’re not worldly enough to be considered Adult protagonists. So where do they fit?

According to St Martin’s Press, they fit in a new, previously-unidentified genre called ‘New Adult’. JJ from St Martin’s Press explains that, ‘New Adult [fiction] is about young adulthood, when you are an adult but have not established your life as one (career, family, what-have-you)’.

Kristin Hoffman elaborates further, explaining that New Adult fiction is, ‘…about transition. The transformation from child to adult doesn’t happen overnight—just ask as anyone who is or has been (or is a parent to) a teenager. But the transition from teen to adult doesn’t happen overnight either. There’s a period of time where adulthood feels like a new pair of shoes. The expectations of independence and self-sufficiency are still new, still being broken in. New Adults are the people who have just begun to walk in those shoes; New Adult fiction is about their blisters and aches.

Kristin goes on to explain that New Adult protagonists are mostly likely in the range of 18 to 26 years old. ‘College, first jobs, first relationships, or marriage… There’s a lot that can happen when you’re 18-26, but the fact is, those same events feel very different at that age than they do at 12 or at 40. Because kids and teens focus on the present, while adults draw on their past experience to inform their present and future decisions. New Adults are somewhere in between…. That distinction might seem subtle, but it comes through loud and clear in the voice of New Adult fiction.’

I’ve been overjoyed to discover this new genre of fiction. Why? Because I’ve always described Tangled (my novel-in-progress) as Young Adult, but that categorisation has never sat comfortably with me. Now I know why. Now I have a genre that fits. Tangled – which follows the journey of two country teenagers as they try to survive living away from home to attend an inner city university –  is well and truly New Adult. It describes many of those New Adult blisters and aches Kristin talked about, including struggling to get along with flatmates and trying to deal with changing relationships with close friends.

A number of my favourite books could be classified as New Adult, including:

Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life and Somebody’s Crying by Maureen McCarthy

World of Chickens and Bachelor Kisses by Nick Earls

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Book covers of new adult fiction

So, what do you think? Do you agree there should be a New Adult genre? Or do you think it’s splitting hairs and the Young Adult and Adult genres are sufficient? Are there any books you’d classify as New Adult fiction? Do tell!

62 Comments

Filed under Authors, Maureen McCarthy, New Adult fiction, Nick Earls, Reading, Tangled, Tracy Chevalier, Writing, Writing style, YA fiction