Hola and a big smushy WELCOME to our LGBT event which is here for the month of May. We have reviews, Guest Posts, Top Ten List and lots and lots of prizes all with a LGBT theme. The posts will be indexed on the side and I do hope you hop through … I have been so lucky this year!
Today, we have a lovely post from Karen Stivali. I really like it because it is quite a general post for this event; How writing NA is different to Adult. Although not overtly LGBT, I think it highlights an important point; LGBT romance stories are romance stories first because Love is Love. Karen Stivali is also offering a giveaway to one commenter of an ebook copy of book one of her MM New Adult series — MOMENT OF IMPACT. Winners must be 18 or over.
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They say you never forget your first time. I think that’s true about a lot of things. Firsts are important. First day of school. First crush. First kiss. First love. First heartbreak. First job. First time you realize something you always thought was true maybe isn’t so true after all. These are things that shift our reality, change our expectations—they’re life altering. And they mean the next time that same thing happens, it won’t be your first. It may be a variation of a first (first time you’re kissing a new person or first day at a new job), but you’re not the same person you were when you had your very first.
That’s the difference between Adult and New Adult romance.
Adults, regardless of how sheltered a life they may have lived or how minimal experience they may have in some arenas, have still been through a variety of things a younger person is less likely to have dealt with yet. Living with a roommate, paying your own bills, being broke, having money for the first time, committing to your first serious relationship, getting a pet, watching a loved one’s health fail, losing a parent, falling in love, breaking up. Life-changing events shape who you are. How you handle them will change over time, not just because you “mature” as you age (because some people are actually more mature when they’re younger and loosen the reigns when they’re older), but because you’ve learned more about yourself. You’ve learned how you respond to things—good things, crises, decision-making situations—you’ve done it before so you have a better idea of how you might get through it the next time.
The love story is the biggest part of any romance novel, regardless of the age of the characters. Falling in love with someone is a wonderful thing. It’s the reason I write romance—so I can watch it happen again and again (and, bonus, unlike real life I can guarantee that the people involved get a happy ending).
Although romance novels have to focus on the characters falling in love, writers have to focus on the characters. No two people fall in love the same way. Everything a character does will be based on who they are and shaped by their past experiences. A character in his 30s who’s just ended a long term relationship will approach falling in love with someone new differently than a 20-year-old who’s never had more than a second date with anyone. A character who’s been heartbroken will react differently than one who’s always been the heartbreaker. A 40-year-old who’s coming out will likely handle it differently than an 18-year-old who’s coming out.
Whether it’s a New Adult or Adult romance it’s important for the writer to know what experiences the characters brings to the table, to the relationship, to the story. New Adult characters are living in a period of life (eighteen to twenty-four years of age) where they’re going through so many of the significant firsts, it can be easier to find new things for them to encounter. With Adult characters generally the “firsts” they’re going through are first times with the new significant person, and those the focus instead. Either way, the book needs to explore the newness—the OMG-I’ve-never-felt-like-this-before—so readers feel that rush right along with the characters.
I often get asked if it’s harder to write characters who are older or younger than I am. I don’t find it difficult to write any particular age group, I just try to place myself in the character’s mind set. If I’m older than my character, I think back to what my friends and I were like at that age, and listen to people who are currently that age—nothing pulls someone out of a story faster than a twenty-year-old who talks like someone’s great Aunt Tilly. If I’m younger than the characters I’m portraying, I think about how people that age react to things—how my parents or older friends reacted when confronted with something my characters are dealing with—how their age changed the way they handled things from how a younger person might have managed the situation.
I think characters always seem more real if the focus is on what’s most important and significant to them at that particular phase of their life. That’s the most important thing to me, as a reader and a writer—realistic characters. Regardless of what age they are, if they’re portrayed with the right amount of detail and depth, readers will feel like they know them, will relate to their worries, will sympathize with their problems and will yearn for them to get their happily ever. And that’s what romance, Adult or New Adult, is all about.
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Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.
Karen’s lifelong fascination with people has led her to careers ranging from hand-drawn animator, to party planner, to marriage and family counselor, but writing has always been her passion. Karen enjoys nothing more than following her characters on their journey toward love. Whether the couples are m/f or m/m, it’s guaranteed that Karen’s novels are filled with food, friendship, love, and smoking hot sex—all the best things in life.
When Karen isn’t writing (and often when she is), she can be found on Twitter attempting witty banter and detailing the antics of her fruit-loving cat, BadKitteh. She loves to hear from readers (and other writers), so don’t hesitate to contact/follow/like her at: