Thursday, June 6, 2013

S. Walden: Guest Post + Giveaway

 Recently a guy friend of mine asked me why women read New Adult fiction—specifically older women my age. First I had to explain to him that I didn’t much care for the adjective “older.” Then I had to remind him that age was just a number. After we cleared that up, I told him what I thought based on the feedback I’ve gotten from close friends.

 New Adult seems to be the “it” genre right now. Everyone wants a piece of it: publishing houses, authors, agents, and most importantly, fans. So what gives? Why is this the hot trend of the moment? And what exactly is New Adult anyway? If you’ve read my post titled “The Genre Dilemma,” you know I really don’t have a clue what New Adult is. I know the hero/heroine is supposed to be between the ages of 18 and 25 or 26, and the storylines usually either take place in college or maybe high school (if the MCs are seniors). But that’s about it. There’s way more that goes into it than that, I suspect, because I have a lot of people telling me Going Under is misclassified. Some say Going Under should be labeled Adult fiction. Others think it should be Mature YA. And still others are happy with it being in the New Adult genre. So maybe content is also a factor. Too much controversy and sex moves a book up to the Adult genre? Even if the MCs are in high school? I don’t know, but I’m digressing.
One thing I know for sure: when you read New Adult you’re reading young people’s stories. And that’s exactly why my guy friend wanted to know why a 32-year-old woman would care to read the story (and usually perspective) of an 18-year-old girl. My response? I think there’s a bit of magic in New Adult literature that lures readers of all ages. I know I’ve heard from women ages 20 to 50 who’ve read (and loved) Going Under. So what’s that magic? Well, I think it’s the fantasy of “what if.” What if I were like that my senior year? What if I had a boyfriend who treated me that way? What if I could have experienced that in college before graduating?
It’s a bittersweet “what if.” I think everyone reads to escape their realities, but I think women take it a step further. We don’t just want to escape; we want to imagine. To dream. We want to fantasize about a life we never had. And this may be for several reasons. She could be that woman in a bad marriage who needs to read hopeful love stories. She could be restless and need inspiration for action. She may need one really good cry. She may need to revisit her old self and remember that she’s still that girl—that girl who’s been buried for too long and needs to reemerge. And this is every woman. Age is no factor. So that’s what I think is the appeal of New Adult and why women of all ages like to read it. I know that’s why I like to write it.
I wrote a guest post featured during the I *heart* Ryan tour about the sex in my novels because readers love to tell me how improbable it is. My characters, after all, are high school students. So I finally spoke to it, explaining that the sex was a fantasy for them! I write it that way because 1) who wants to read bad sex? and 2) it’s the fantasy of that perfect high school boyfriend who we never had. Maybe you had him, but the majority of us did not. And women need this sort of thing in their literature. It’s good for our souls. It’s good for our minds. It can be very good for our love relationships. (Hey, I don’t know about you, but I like learning a thing or two from my books, if you know what I mean. *wink wink*)

Literature has always gone far beyond sitting in a quiet place and absorbing words on a page. Women wouldn’t read it if they didn’t want to be transported somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if she’s 20 and in college and dealing with major life decisions about her career, or if she’s 30 and raising children at home. She could be 40 and entering a new fabulous phase in her life by letting go of past mistakes. She could be 50 and traveling the world with her high school sweetheart. Whatever her life stage, whatever her choices, I think women of all ages find a commonality in New Adult fiction. It’s a chance to be someone else, even for a short time. A chance to imagine a different world if only for an hour. A chance to escape. Because it doesn’t matter that most New Adult fiction is realistic. For women, it’s the fantasy.

Meet the Author

S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she's not writing, she's thinking about it.
She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at and follow her blog at where you can get up-to-date information on her current projects.

Find S. Walden: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Email

Title: Going Under
Author: S. Walden
Published: March 24th 2013 by Penny Press
Purchase Links: Amazon | 
B & N | Smashwords | Createspace

Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls. 

Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.

Giveaway Time!

Enter to win a SIGNED paperback of S. Walden's Going Under. Read Rachel's review HERE.
US/Canada entrants only. Sorry international folks (Check out the sidebar for INT giveaways).

A big thanks to S. Walden for sponsoring this giveaway! Glad to have you at Say It With Books today! :)
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  1. I can't believe the nerve of that guy? You're only 32, not 92... jeese! According to him, why on earth would anyone (other than kids) have read Harry Potter, for example?
    Why should we read just about people our own age... how boring would that be?!
    I'm 37 (and proud!) and I love reading about people of all ages - from little kids to retired folks. Talking about narrow minded ;)
    I loved your post, by the way, and think your book sounds like New Adult - and what's wrong with a bit of 'fantasy sex' for people in college?!!
    Suzy Turner, YA Author

  2. Someone called you old at 32?! I'd have hit him for that! I will read going under soon :)

  3. I agree. It's the fantasy aspect that does it for me at least. I always picture myself in the shoes of the female protagonist (if the MC is female).

  4. I read YA and NA for the same reasons. They are a time of huge change and challenges in life. There is so much to explore and that lends itself to great character development. And they are fun, the characters aren't old and jaded by life.
    Anyway, we don't need a reason! No ID needs to be given when buying books :-)

  5. I love it! It about a time that relates to all of us. A time of change and growing up! That's a huge time in our lives! I also appreciate the adultness of the NA genre vesus the YA genre.

  6. I LOVE the New Adult genre/subgenre! I think it makes sense to split off these sort of books from the main "Romance" category...stories about characters in this age group are likely to appeal to a different audience than, say, historical romance (like those Highlander books) or Linda Lael Miller books. Of course there is some overlap, but I think that's a fair statement to apply to the average reader. Heck, it's mostly true for me and I wouldn't consider myself an average reader.
    Maybe there is currently a recurring theme with the character tropes NA lit, but most any other subgenre within Romance works the same way. And anyway, it's not about the mediocre books that all follow the same formula--it's about the ones that stand out and are different or that are written so well that they become the new standard of the old formula. Those are the books upon which the label should be judged.

  7. I enjoy the NA category. I like the age of the characters and the feeling of all the new discoveries to be had. There is some element of the characters being able to get away with more because it's NA and they are coming into adulthood. I really just enjoy any genre that included romance :)

  8. The NA category applies to me, It always has seemed that this age group was overlooked :)

  9. I think it is fantastic, I can relate to the characters, they are young and fun.

  10. I'm not sure what NA means, I've always been under the impression that contemporary romance was the general genre. But, I guess it makes sense. I just have to get use to the new wording.

  11. To be honest I'm not sure what new adult means. I've always been under the impression that the general genre was contemporary romance, which is the category I always search for books. But, I guess I'll have to start using the new wording of new adult.


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