(On Writing NA When I’m Actually an A)
by AJ Pine –
We’ve all heard the sayings, “If I knew then what I know now…” or “Hindsight is 20/20…” or other variations of the idea that if we could just go back in time and have the wisdom of being a few years older, we could get right what we got oh-so-wrong when we were new at this whole adulting thing and maybe just a teensy bit clueless.
This is why I love writing New Adult even though I’m long past that part of my life.
Pssst…come a little closer…I have a secret.
No matter how old you get, you never feel any older than you were in those early adult years. I may be (ahem) more mature now—and a teeny bit wiser—but I don’t claim to be an expert on life or pretending to be a grown-up or any of those things. I do, however, have hindsight. And when I write NA, I get the chance to know then what I know now, which means I can help my characters find their way on that often muddy—impossible to choose which side of the fork to take—path that is life in your twenties. I love getting back into the mindset of a New Adult and watching my characters learn and grow as they do eventually uncover the path or create a new one altogether.
In my recent release, ONE NIGHT, all of my characters are dealing with curve balls that life throws at them. My heroine, Jess, is still reeling from a personal tragedy that happened over a year ago. My hero, Adam, is a college basketball star facing the reality that his knee injury means he won’t go pro. Even my side characters have their own matters to deal with. Jess’s roommate Zoe takes a proactive approach to being the daughter of an alcoholic. Reagan, a thirteen-year-old patient Jess meets at the hospital where she interns, has to start eighth grade as a leg amputee after a devastating car crash. All my characters have paths they thought they were on, and then BOOM. Life changes direction. I don’t give them my adult sensibilities to solve their problems. They make mistakes before they find their way, but at least I can guide them toward the chance at happily ever after. And don’t worry. I promise to give as much humor and swoon as I do tricky curveballs.
This book is first and foremost a romance, but it’s an ensemble cast, which I think is important. New Adults may not have the safety net of the nearby parental units, but they certainly have each other—and an author who maybe knows a few things now she didn’t know then.
When she lost it all, Jess decided to cope by living a lie.
But you can’t keep on pretending forever…
Twenty-one-year-old Jess used to have everything—a loyal best friend, a boyfriend she loved, and a future that was right on track. But in a single night, her whole world changed.
Now, Jess lives for the impersonal connection of drunken hook-ups and to-go coffee cups in the morning. All she needs is one night to pretend everything is fine…until she meets Adam.
Thanks to a sports injury, gorgeous, charming basketball star Adam Carson is stuck in physical therapy at the hospital where Jess interns—giving her the perfect opportunity to see his sweet, considerate nature and making her realize that maybe she does want something more.
But while Adam might be the best thing that’s happened to Jess in a long time, letting him past her carefully constructed walls means letting him know what happened…and why he’d never want her for more than one night.
Includes a preview of the upcoming Only You novel, One Life.