Monday, 1 September 2014

Blog Tour + Guest Post - A Soul to Take by Emily Taylor

Now Available For Pre-Order


Dying is the least of Elixia’s worries. 

The world has changed. Demons are no longer legend, but part of life, integrated into our society . . . or so the Government claims. Things are never that simple, though, and neither side favors the new union. Agent Elixia Albelin knows the dark nature of demons firsthand, and will do everything in her power to protect the innocent from their wrath.
But when a mission from the Agency goes sour, Elixia finds herself in a predicament. Murdered, with her last living family-member kidnapped, her only hope is an offer from the very thing she despises: a demon. It’s no ordinary demon offering the contract, though, and his motive for such a deal is unclear. But if she’s to discover the truth and save her sister, she must commit the greatest taboo for an Agent:
Sell her soul.
Now, Marked and shackled to the terms of the contract, she must try to uncover the mystery of her sister’s abduction before her new “owner” comes to claim what is his. Her past may hold answers, but what happens when her investigation finds something far more sinister? Something not even the demons can condone? 

About the Author

Besides writing, Emily Taylor currently studies Music Technology at her state’s Conservatorium and recently helped on Respect Cat Production’s feature film, In a Corner, as a Script Advisor. After great success on InkPop and Figment, A Soul to Take is her first formally published work. You can see more from Emily on Facebook and Twitter

New Adult

Last year, New Adult was described by Writers Digest as the next “Big Thing”. It started with a few books, before becoming a new age bracket in its own right. But what is this age bracket you may ask! Good question, because in general, age brackets in fiction are quite messy. 

According Wikipedia:
Teen Fiction: 10 to 15 yrs
Young Adult: 16 to 25 yrs 

But then Writer’s Digest states Young Adult fiction is targeted to 12 to 17 yrs. 

So… confusing? Yes. 

This is how I think it works. It should noted, by the time I was fifteen, I was already heavily into adult fiction, but I was— as I’m sure most of you reading this are—an above average reader. So, this is what I think the age brackets are—give or take—concerning the general public. 

Teen Fiction: 10 to 13 yrs
Young Adult: 14 to 16 yrs
New Adult: 17 to 21 yrs 

But as I said: give or take. It depends on the teenager, because everyone is different! 

So, why have this new genre bridging between Young Adult and Adult fiction? What does it bring that these two age brackets don’t already have? 

YA editor Karen Gove, who heads Entangled Publishing’s New Adult imprint, Embrace, calls the 18-24 yrs bracket the ‘forgotten in literature’. She believes there is a focus on success and survival vs the school themes of popularity and acceptance in Young Adult.
Others are worried that NA is just a sexed up version of YA—because sex sells, and the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon is evidence of that. But New Leaf Literary & Media push that sex is only a small part of NA novels, and sexually explicit are a minority. Instead they call NA: “targeted for those adult readers who really enjoy YA, and for 20-somethings that haven’t been able to find a lot of novels taking place during the college years.”
The good New Adult submissions, according to Sara Megibow, an agent from Nelson Literacy Agency, are those focusing on the conflicts of early adulthood: dating, jobs, first apartments, money, identity, self-sufficiency etc. 

So that is what the internet says. Now for my turn. 

I want you to take all those ages I listed above, and instead of focusing on the ‘reader’—those are the ages of the main character. This is most likely the easiest way to figure what’s ‘up’ with these age brackets and how they are determined. Of course, with exception, but for me—this is easiest.
People gravitate towards reading books about people their own age. Again, exceptions, because a brilliant story, is a brilliant story, but it’s a good starting point.
I turn nineteen in November, and I’ve been reading Adult Fiction actively—as I said earlier—since I was fifteen. Why? Because I discovered two things concerning the majority of YA Fiction. 

One: The Voice. 

There is an overwhelming surge of books in YA Fiction that contains immature writing. I’ve noticed these books are usually ones published after a ‘hit’. So we’re talking Twilight knock-offs, though the original isn’t any better. Or they are books aimed towards the younger part of the YA audience.
But even then, when I went back and read City of Bones, Hunger Games, and Shiver a few years ago, I discovered that even they held a certain ‘voice’. It’s not exactly innocent, but there’s naivety that can at times be a little bit annoying. Maybe it’s the author trying too hard to be a
teenager, or it’s simply them just holding back on the details because YA Fiction does have regulations to ‘how far’ they can go. For an example, I remember Cassandra Clare posting a more heated encounter between Clary and Jace on her site, because it had to be slightly censored for publication. And let me tell you, when I say a bit more heated, all I remember being ‘explicit’ is a little bit of bra showing…
Um. Has anyone read the YA series House of Night? I’ve only read the first novel, but damn. The amount of grinding, and other explicit stuff going on—not a YA. Which brings us to the second ‘thing’. 

The Second thing: Some YAs should be NA Fiction and a stepping stone to AF. 

The problem with YA Fiction is it’s so vast. One of the best contrasts I can give you to illustrate the extraordinary range and misclassification is between the spy novels Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz and Cherub by Robert Muchamore. Alex Rider is most definitely a YA book. The main protagonist is 14-15 and goes through trails of being a highschool spy; there is romance and action, but still that innocent voice.
Cherub on the other hand, starts with a twelve year old boy and grows with the reader. But don’t be fooled by the younger age. This series is awesome, but it becomes quite dark and graphic quickly to the point I would most certainly not recommending it to the same aged boy I did Alex Rider. The same goes for Tomorrow When the War Begun.
I read it in grade nine, and despite loving Stephen King, Dan Brown and Wilber Smith at this point, I was shocked when I read the sex scene in book two because I didn’t think it was that kind of book. But for those who have read the fantastic series, you will know it progresses on from there, and that’s not to mention the tense ‘war themes’ at times.
I guess we could even talk about Hunger Games. Truthfully, I’m on the Battle Royale wagon, so HG is kind of like the cute, innocent girl trying to be like the cooler older cousin. So, I think it could stay in YA. It deals ‘adult issues’, but with that innocent veil. It isn’t overly graphic in it’s violence, and the romance is nothing basically, and I’d be putting Battle Royale and Lord of the Flies in NA.
That’s where I stand.
But now that we’re starting to split up all the books, it’s obvious New Adult has existed for a long time. It just hasn’t been called that. It has been ‘Mature YA’ like in regards to Ransom My Heart by Meg Cabot if anything. But really, I think it’s time we start setting it straight, so we know which books of YA are—to go by Australian Movie classification—M or MA 15+. There is actually a big difference. 

So there is my two cents, do you agree or disagree?
Have you read any books that shouldn’t be classified YA?
Or do you think we’re being too cautious?

Emily :) 

To read more about New Adult fiction: