Have you read New Adult romance? When I’m in the mood, it’s tons of fun.
New Adult Romance
The major characteristics of New Adult romance usually include:
- Present tense, first-person narration, often only from the heroine’s POV, sometimes split between hero and heroine;
- A big, broody hero who is likely a tough guy in a motorcycle club or who is engaged in some other manly pursuit;
- An insta-lust, hormone-soaked atmosphere (whence the tons of fun), such that upon meeting the hero, the heroine might think something along the lines of “he’s so hot he makes my ovaries melt”;
- The heroine finds the hero hard to read;
- The hero has a deliciously possessive attitude toward the heroine, thereby letting the reader know the hero is invested in her, even if she is not quite sure and the narration is entirely from her POV;
- The dialogue involves some kind of misunderstanding, like an overheard unkind remark; the misunderstanding will get sorted out; eventually one of them will say something like, “You get me” and/or “I get you” as the ultimate expression of emotional understanding.
The current NA top seller (as of the end of February, 2018) on Kindle is The Baby Plan by Tia Siren:
Mature Adult Romance
One of my contemporary romances, Love After All, features the pair Gino and Laurel who are in their mid-50s. So let’s call it a Mature Adult romance, akin to a Nancy Meyers film like It’s Complicated or Something’s Gotta Give.
How does my Mature Adult romance stack up to a New Adult romance? Similarities:
- I chose present tense, split first-person narration; the first chapter is told from Laurel’s POV, the second from Gino’s, and they trade chapters from there on out.
And … that’s about it for similarities. Before writing this, I thought there would be more, but I can’t think of any others. It doesn’t seem fair to list for an Mature Adult romance that they have sex and get their Happily Ever After, just like in New Adult romance.
On to the differences then:
- Gino is not big and broody nor is he a tough guy – except, perhaps in business, since he’s a successful restaurateur. He’s also a widower with three grown sons. He certainly notices Laurel is attractive, but he has no instant desire to get into a relationship with her;
- Laurel’s first impression of Gino is that he’s average: average height, average looking. Her perception of his attractiveness increases as she gets to know him;
- Laurel, furthermore, doesn’t find Gino hard to read; in fact, she’s spot on in her assessment that when he first gets to know her, he isn’t that much into her;
- Hormones are present, but in the background;
- The dialogue does not revolve around misunderstandings but is devoted to “getting to know you;” it is necessarily more complex, because the characters have more life history.
- So, there it is, the real difference: in an Mature Adult romance, the two characters have a lot of life experience. They’ve built careers and raised families. They know stuff. They’ve experienced the death of a spouse (Gino). They’ve experienced divorce (Laurel). Most importantly, they’ve arrived at a point in life when they know who they are and in a way a new adult does not and cannot.
The development of a love relationship will necessarily differ accordingly. This is not to say it will run smoothly in an Mature Adult romance, without problems and without pain. It’s rather that the conflict will arise precisely from the very different lives the two people have led up to the time of their meeting.
Despite being a successful academic, Laurel has her insecurities, and these play out in her relations with Gino. And Gino, for his part, is not opposed to flings. However, since he knows Laurel isn’t the kind of woman for a fling, he has to decide whether he wants an actual relationship with her. He has to imagine starting all over again with a woman who is very different than his dear, departed wife.
As they get to know one another … the magic happens.
So, Mature Adult and New Adult romances are not so different one from the other. They’re both about two people making themselves vulnerable and taking a chance on love.
Calling all romance writers: I’d love to see more Mature Adult romances!
See also: New Adult Fiction: All Eyes on Her
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen