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Friday, March 28, 2014

New Adult Month Interview: Brenda St. John Brown

1. What is NA to you?
To me, New Adult is a category of books that focus on the stage of life post high school. It may be college or work, but it’s all about “firsts” and independence, and the ups and downs that come with that.

2. New Adult: Genre or Category?
I think New Adult is a category because, even though it’s started off as primarily contemporary romance, it’s starting to expand into other genres.

3. What made you want to write for NA?
My first (now shelved) book was NA before NA was even a thing. I queried it and my response from agents was focused more on the fact that the characters were in college than the story, itself. They all said there wasn’t really a market for that age group. I shifted to write YA, but my heart was definitely with older characters. SWIMMING TO TOKYO was originally written as upper YA, but Spencer Hill Contemporary suggested I “age it up” to NA and I jumped at the chance.

4. What do you see for the future of NA?
Slowly, other genres are embracing NA, which I love. I’m all about contemporary romance, but I love to read across genres and am excited to read some upcoming NA outside of contemporary.

5. What do you love most about writing NA?
I love writing about the “firsts” and the “bad” decisions that are inevitable in your early 20s. It’s fun and poignant and sometimes absolutely cringe-worthy. But it’s also really honest and I love that.

6. What NA books would you recommend to readers?
I really loved Chanel Cleeton’s I SEE LONDON. Cora Carmack’s trilogy is practically an NA must-read. Stina Lindenblatt’s TELL ME WHEN is a hot NA that deals with stalking, so it’s a bit of a darker read. And I’ve always been a fan of anything written by Tammara Webber.

7. What writing tips would you give to aspiring writers?
Ass in chair. Fast draft to build word count and edit later. Find good critique partners and beta readers who aren’t your real-life friends to give honest feedback and take at least 50% of it.

8. Would you like to share something about your book?
SWIMMING TO TOKYO comes out from Spencer Hill Contemporary on July 29, 2014 (Eeep!!) and it’s an NA contemporary romance set in – you guessed it – Tokyo. I’ll be launching the cover and official blurb soon-ish, but I’m so so so excited to see this out in the world!

9. What gave you the idea for your book?
I taught English in Tokyo for a couple of years and, although I didn’t start out writing a book set in Tokyo, it quickly evolved once I got into my characters’ stories. Writing was definitely a way to “revisit” Tokyo and I had a lot of fun with that. Zosia, the main character, is half-Polish and that was her name from the very start. I’m Polish on both my mother and father’s side and Babci (the Polish word for grandmother) is based loosely on my own grandmother, who was far cooler than I’ll ever be.

10. Where can readers find your books?
SWIMMING TO TOKYO releases on July 29 and will be available at all of the usual places in e-book form first. For now, it’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17695321-swimming-to-tokyo

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