Thursday, August 8, 2013

RWA, New Adult, and Cora Carmack

     To top off my Summer of Smut, I was lucky enough to be part of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) Librarian Day in Atlanta this year. Making the road trip with several of my friends and meeting up with more friends there was a wonderful way to get away from Summer Reading (plus I got to meet Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Sylvia Day, Tessa Dare, and many many more amazing authors).

      There were 4 workshops with the first one of the day being titles “Let’s Talk: Young Adult, New Adult, and “Adult” Romance. There was a panel of authors including Roxanne St. Clair, Cora Carmack,  and Christie Craig aka C.C. Hunter. To me though, Cora Carmack really shined through on the panel. I had only heard of Carmack when researching some of the authors that were presenting. I had looked up her first book, a self-published new adult title, Losing It. I loved the synopsis of a soon to be college graduate who hasn’t lost her V-Card. She decides that it must go but at the last minute backs out and leaves a very naked British boy in her bed…who turns out to be her new professor. How could you not want to read that?
But before I get to Losing It , I just want to talk about Carmack’s take on New Adult. I have read several new adult titles including Easy by Tammara Webber, Abbi Glines’ Too Far series, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, and On Dublin Street by Samantha Young. All were fine and some were even pretty good (Beautiful Disaster), but all had one major factor in common: major angst.

      So when Carmack started talking about New Adult genre I was glad she mentioned this common denominator. She also stated that her series are pretty low on the angst level which intrigued me. All I knew about the New Adult genre was what I had picked up from reading the titles. The panel, mainly Carmack, went on to explain that while Young Adult materials focus on teens who are still stable and secure in their parents’ worlds and regular Adult romances usually focus on people who are stable in their own lives, New Adult tackles that particular age between 19 to 25 when we are on our own, looking for jobs, trying to survive college, or figuring out how to pay the bills. A question was raised by a librarian in the audience who wanted to know if New Adult was defined by the age group or the situations of the characters. The panel stated that the age group played a major part, but also the situation and storyline. We also discussed how New Adult has basically come out of nowhere with the rise of self-publishing e-books and for the first time the authors are in control, not the publishing companies. Carmack also mentioned about how if New Adult doesn’t break out of the mold they have created for themselves (angsty romances, usually an abused past, etc.) that they would be their own downfall. She talked about taking new approaches within the genre like paranormal and various other ideas.

     You can read more about Carmack’s take on New Adult on a write up she did on her website here.
I was extremely impressed with her take on New Adult. She was positive, excited, and sometimes it is hard to come across this enthusiasm in libraryland...especially when it comes to something new. She got me excited about New Adult.

       I couldn’t wait to read Losing It when I got home. Based on the previous New Adults books I had read I thought there would be graphic sex and lots of angst. What I expected and what I read were two totally different things though. Losing It is cute, light hearted and impossible not to love. Carmack created a set of characters that are smart, funny, and actually real. There was very little angst, but there was actual conflict and situations that were handled with a sense of reality that I have found lacking in other New Adult romances. Carmack stayed away from stereotypes and made her characters believable and loveable.

     One of the reasons that I think New Adult has become so popular is the fact that the stories jump right in. In today’s world this generation is busy and we don’t have time for long drawn out descriptions. We are in a hurry and we want everything to cut right to the point. The difference with Losing It and other New Adult books I have come across is that the characters in Losing It aren’t so rushed that the chemistry is left out. I also want to note that Carmack did a wonderful job creating chemistry and not being vulgar (ain’t nothing wrong with that though) with the sex scenes. They were descriptive but done with class. This is a great debut and a refreshing direction in a genre that is quickly becoming teeming with stereotypes and predictability.

    Overall this whole post is pretty much stating how much I think Cora Carmack rocks.

    Also, on a side note, I found this great website on New Adult through Carmack’s website called NA Alley, which is run by nine bloggers and writers who are passionate about New Adult. It is definitely worth checking out because they are doing a great job of bringing New Adult to the front burners and it is more than just what you find on Amazon’s top sellers. 


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