New Adult Fiction: Misconceptions and Moving Forward by NA Alley Blogger Carrie Butler

NA Alley blogger & New Adult author, Carrie Butler, is my next guest. She’s here to celebrate today’s release of her new NA paranormal romance Strength, as well as discuss some of the misconceptions she sees regarding the emerging New Adult genre/category of fiction. She’s also giving away an e-book of Strength to one lucky commenter. Welcome, Carrie!



What it is. What it isn’t.

Thank you so much for having me over, Jill! To make sure everyone is on the same page, I thought I’d give a quick definition. 🙂

“New Adult fiction (NA) is a category of literature that encompasses the transition between adolescence and adulthood. 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.

Other terms for NA include: Upper YA, Crossover Fiction, and Mature YA.”

Whew! That was quite a mouthful. So, now that we know what NA is, let’s talk about what it isn’t:

  • NA is not a genre. Genres tend to have content-based criteria, i.e. to be considered romance, a novel must have an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending”. Categories, on the other hand, help readers find what they’re looking for by giving general expectations—age of the main character, stage of life depicted, voice, levels of violence and sexuality, etc. Genres fit inside of categories. That’s how we form labels like adult romance, NA thriller, YA fantasy, MG adventure, etc.
  • NA is not “sexier YA”. Contrary to what some publications would lead you to believe, NA isn’t all about sex. In fact, some novels don’t portray it at all—and that’s okay. It works like any other category.
  • NA is not a marketing ploy. I know it’s difficult to take my word on this one—after all, my background is in marketing—but I promise, NA isn’t some greedy attempt to compartmentalize fiction. It’s a way of acknowledging the literary gap between YA and adult—a way to help readers find the stories they’ve been looking for.
  • NA is more than contemporary fiction. Given NA contemporary’s recent successes, it’s currently the most popular genre in the category. But you know what? There’s more to explore! I’m ready to see more speculative New Adult fiction. Paranormal romance, fantasy, dystopian, horror, etc. When do we get to read a supernaturally charged love story set on a college campus?

Okay, okay. That last sentence was a plug. My debut novel, STRENGTH, releases today, and I couldn’t wait to tell you about it!

If anyone has questions about NA, I’d be more than happy to answer them. Thanks again!

More About Strength

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, she’s stunned. Wallace Blake is everything she’s ever wanted in a man—except he can’t touch her. His uncontrollable strength, a so-called gift from his bloodline, makes every interaction dangerous. And with a secret, supernatural war brewing among his kind, there’s no time to work it out. To keep Wallace in her life, Rena will have to risk a whole lot more than her heart.

Strength is available at:

More About Carrie

Carrie Butler
Carrie Butler

Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

Carrie can be found online here:

STRENGTH_PARTY_SidebarSo, everyone, there’s been A LOT of great discussions concerning New Adult fiction all over the internet. Who still has questions? What are your thoughts on Carrie’s clarifications? Are there any other misconceptions? One commenter will win an e-book of Strength.

I’ve really enjoyed hosting this New Adult Guest Blog Series (which is not over yet! At least two more of the NA Alley bloggers are going to blog here before I wrap it up). I hope everyone else has enjoyed hearing from the authors who are publishing in this up and coming category of fiction.

Congratulations and best wishes for Strength, Carrie! Thanks for guest blogging today!

Published by

Jill Archer

Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels including DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and POCKET FULL OF TINDER.

15 thoughts on “New Adult Fiction: Misconceptions and Moving Forward by NA Alley Blogger Carrie Butler

  1. @Brinda – Thank you! I hope you enjoy it. 😀

    @bn100 – Thank you very much! 🙂

    @Sabrina – I agree with Jill. If the label helps, use it. If not, use whatever aids you best. 🙂

    Hah! I love that your friends use your bookshelves as a kind of library. You’re a trendsetter!

    @Stacey – Thank you so much! I appreciate that. 🙂

    @Jill – Oh my goodness. I just realized I typed Dorothy instead of Jill. That’s what I get for trying to multi-task on three hours of sleep. That comment was definitely intended for you. Gah! I’m so sorry.

    Anyway, I like to think of categories as the big boxes that genres fit inside of. For example, if I see a box marked MG, I know it doesn’t contain anything graphic—I’m given an expectation. Inside that box, I find smaller boxes labeled various genres (mystery, adventure, etc.), depending on the books inside and what their plot/content is.

    Yes, having a sort of “fledgling” category, there’s plenty of room for growth. I’m glad you’re on board with the idea of more otherworldly NA! Wow. Dark Light of Day really does sound like NA! Would you like us to list it over at NA Alley?

    Thank you so much! 🙂

    1. Hi Carrie, no problem! I understand how hectic release days can be. At least it’s Friday. Hopefully you can get some rest this weekend.

      That would be terrific if NA Alley wanted to list Dark Light of Day as a choice for NA readers, especially if part of your goal is to broaden the category or showcase the potential diversity that NA can offer readers. I think DLOD would appeal to NA readers who also like fantasy with detailed worldbuilding.

      Thank you again!

  2. Congrats on your new release! The blurb sounds wonderful!
    I’ve been reading more and more YA recently, but realize that some of them would fit the NA catagory better.

    Wishing you much success on your novel!

  3. I’ve heard of the category New Adult, but wasn’t sure what it really was. I mean I’m STILL trying to figure out what is what in all these different genres and categories. And EVRYTHING can be mixed! Sometimes it can be really difficult to put the “correct” label on some books when you review them. To me, there are some genres who I like better than others and there’s definitely genres I stay clear off, but mostly, I go after what the blurb is, the cover, the author and the buzz. And quite a few times, I’m just jumping in and discovering great new reads and authors that way… although my TBR Piles don’t like it! 😉

    1. Hi Sabina!

      Here, here for the genre-benders! 😀

      Some people think the publishing community is way too concerned with these labels. My take on it is, if it makes it easier for you – or for the readers of your reviews – to discuss the book then the label is helpful. If not, no worries.

      I think the way you find new fiction sounds terrific. The blurb and the cover are usually packed with information to help a reader decide whether they will like the book or not. And the fact that you sometimes just jump in and take chances is wonderful! I’ll bet you discover a lot of neat stories that way.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      1. I get too confused by labels. Especially because essentially they’re just boxes, and most of the times you can’t put it in there anyway. 🙂

        Oh I found TONS of new authors and good books – and love to share. One of my friends use my bookshelves as a kind of library – we have somewhat the same taste in books. Now, if she just could read more than she borrowed… 😉

  4. Hi Carrie,

    Just wanted to add my thoughts to this discussion…

    First off, yep, glad you mentioned that NA is not just sexier YA. I think a lot of folks have been upset by the media’s portrayal of NA as just a group of books where the author has gratuitously put sex in the book (or used it as a major part of the plot) just so the book will sell. I don’t think that’s what it is and I certainly hope that’s not what it will become.

    I’m not sure I understand the difference between a category of fiction and a genre of fiction, but I absolutely agree that whatever labels we (authors, publishers, and readers) use should be used in order to help readers find books they like.

    I’m also glad to hear you say that NA fiction includes more than just contemporary set stories. Some of the “must read” lists I’ve seen have only listed contemporary books so I think there’s still some confusion about it. I guess that’s understandable since a contemporary setting might be the easiest place from which to explore many NA themes. But, I’m with you, I think there’s room for otherworldly set stories and “supernaturally charged romances.” 😀

    I hosted this NA guest blog series because my tastes are eclectic and I love hearing directly from other writers about what they’re working on in areas that interest me. But I also did it to explore the topic because my recently released Dark Light of Day has a lot of New Adult elements. It’s set on a university campus, the MC is a 21 year-old post grad magic user, and she is plagued by the sorts of concerns we often face in our early twenties: self-doubt, life’s direction, choice of career, boyfriend troubles, distant parents, difficult professors, etc., etc. (That said, the 2nd book, Fiery Edge of Steel, probably could not be considered NA under any stretch of the definition. It has a youthful tone, but the main question the MC grapples with is *not* one that is typically faced by other twentysomethings and the setting isn’t a university – or even an urban one.)

    In any case, I love that you and the rest of the NA writers and readers are breaking new ground. Strength sounds intriguing and the cover is very attention grabbing. Have fun with your new release!

  5. @Dorothy – Thank you so much for having me over! I really appreciate it. 🙂

    @Brianna – Thank you! That makes me so happy. 🙂 Like you, I enjoy contemporary, but it’s not my favorite genre. Whenever I try to write it, someone always ends up with some kind of supernatural ability, and whoops—it’s no longer contemporary. LOL

    Oh my goodness. That Nightline segment has been plaguing the NA community. I wish we had the reach to properly counteract that misinformation! 😦

  6. Hi Carrie,

    I’ve been looking forward to your book since I heard of it. I’m so excited for more non-contemporary romance NA. I love some of it like Colleen Hoover’s works, but contemporary has never been my favorite kind of book. So I can’t wait to see what you’ve written.

    Also, thanks for pointing out that NA is not sexier YA. After the Nightline segment, I feel that that cannot be said enough.

    Good luck with Strength!

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