Friday, October 3, 2014

Guest Post by Kitsy Clare: PRIVATE INTERNSHIP


New adult contemporary romance: expanding beyond the college campus

New adult romance exploded on the scene a few years after St. Martins Press ran a contest that stated: “Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult” fiction.” Readers clamored for novels that described the college experience, first full-time jobs, and their first steamy adult romances as people hit their twenties.

NA authors delved deeply into issues such as in Tammara Webber’s powerful exploration of abuse in Easy, but the novels were always set in college, the drama often occurring in dorms and fraternity parties.

As the genre grows, authors are eager to expand into new subgenres and settings outside of college walls and break out of narrow confines that squeeze the genre into limited pigeonholes. Courtney Lewis, a librarian and blogger, otherwise known as the Sassy Librarian reports on a recent NA panel she attended: “It was suggested that the genre might gain more legitimacy when readers (and librarians and publishers) begin associating it with other genres, broadening the scope of the label.” I heartily agree.

Gritty NA romance that deals with more universal survival skills than the limited setting of the dorm scene is popping up all over. One example is J.R. Redmerski’s The Edge of Never, where the setting is literally the highway. Camryn decides to take a long road trip to reassess the life she’s lived thus far. Another is Collide by Gail McHugh, where Emily moves to NYC to be closer to her boyfriend, but ends up working in an Italian restaurant and meeting a new love. A third example is Nikki Turner’s Project Chick, the saga of a young urban single mom.

In writing my first NA romance, Model Position I stuck to the well-oiled trope template and set it in college. Well, I did stray a little; setting it in art school, where no one lived in dorms, but already had their own edgy apartments in Manhattan’s East Village. Still, many of the scenes were set in the drawing class.

But for the next in my NA Art of Love series, Private Internship I had a different idea for the setting. Artist Sienna’s bad-boy love interest is a sculptor she interns for. He creates installations out of sugar. What better setting than the factory building I’ve been I’ve been obsessed with for decades: specifically the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In it, Caz Mason has tons and tons of sugar to play around with!

You see, I moved right around the corner from that spooky factory before the neighborhood became a hipster paradise. I recall strolling by it when it was still in business, ever eager to see which cargo ship had docked on its East River port. They came from Cuba, Brazil, even Thailand—a myriad of exotic, faraway places. 

Here’s a summary of Private Internship:

Sienna’s bestie, Harper warned her not to intern for famous bad boy artist, Casper Mason. After all, he just fired Harper who helped Sienna get the interview. But the moment Sienna sees Casper—or Caz—sweaty and practically shirtless and swinging from chains while he works on his sculpture, she’s hooked. He’s the richest, hottest artist in New York, and he lives in the fabulous Williamsburg Sugar Factory. But he’s also an incorrigible game-player, who seems to relish testing Sienna’s loyalty with a string of unsettling tests.

She knows she should get away fast. But by the time Sienna sneaks into his locked storage room and begins to unearth his dark and terrifying secret, she’s fallen way too hard for the handsome, charismatic Caz.

Little did I know that my setting for this novel was going to be a constant fixture in the news last summer when famous sculptress Kara Walker would set up her regal sugar sphinx mama in that doomed place. As Walker explains through her sugar slave boys who, in the heat of the summer, were literally melting—an arm dropping off here, a nose there, the sugar trade was a very nasty business, fueled by oppressed slaves hauled in from Africa to the Caribbean and elsewhere. 


Coincidentally, in Private Internship I have Caz quoting from Voltaire’s Candide, when a horrified Candide comes across a slave boy who’s lost an arm and leg. The boy explains: “When we work in the sugar mills and get a finger caught in the machinery, they cut off the hand; but if we try to run away, they cut off a leg … it is the price we pay for the sugar you eat in Europe.”

Caz is no fool; he’s aware of the dark side of his spun-sugar art medium. Ironically, as he tears three sugar packets and pours one after the other into his gourmet blend coffee, he says to Sienna in all seriousness, “Sugar, it’s delicious yet deadly, sweet yet bitter to the arteries. It’s no good for anyone.”

Still, out of Caz and Sienna’s power struggles, a sweet romance just might emerge. And what better place to set it in than an actual defunct sugar factory! So, choose your settings with care. Make sure you’re as passionate about them as you are about your characters and the steamy romance blossoming between them. Don’t get me wrong, a good college romance can still be a fabulous read. But if you’re writing NA romance, be brave, and consider writing beyond the confines of dorm life. If it’s an exciting time and place to you, it will surely be exciting to your readers, as well.

Book & Author Details:
Private Internship by Kitsy Clare
(An Art of Love novel)
Published by: Inkspell Publishing
Publication date: September 29th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:
Sometimes sugar isn’t so sweet and secrets can be deadly . . . especially with matters of the heart.
Sienna’s bestie, Harper warned her not to intern for famous bad boy artist, Casper Mason. After all, he just fired Harper who helped Sienna get the interview. But the moment Sienna sees Casper—or Caz—sweaty, practically shirtless and swinging from chains as he works on his sculpture, she’s hooked. He’s the richest, hottest artist in New York, and he lives in the fabulous Williamsburg Sugar Factory. But he’s also an incorrigible game-player, who seems to relish testing Sienna’s loyalty with a string of unsettling tests.
She knows she should get away fast. But by the time Sienna sneaks into his locked storage room and begins to unearth his dark and terrifying secret, she’s fallen way too hard for the handsome, charismatic Caz.



Purchase:

AUTHOR BIO:
Kitsy Clare hails from Philadelphia and lives in New York. A romantic at heart, she loves to write about the sexy intrigue of the city, and particularly of the art world. She knows it well, having shown her paintings here before turning to writing. Model Position, her new adult novella is about artist Sienna and her friends. Living in a Bookworld says: "Beautifully written! We get to learn things about art & painting, which is refreshing. A colorful story from a promising new adult author." The next in her Art of Love series, Private Internship launches in September with Inkspell.

Kitsy loves to travel, draw, read romance, speculative fiction and teach writing workshops. She also writes YA as Catherine Stine. Her futuristic thriller, Ruby's Fire was a YA finalist in the Next Generation Indie book awards. Fireseed One, its companion novel, was a finalist in YA and Sci-Fi in the USA News International Book Awards, and an Indie Reader notable. Her YA horror, Dorianna, launches fall 2014 with Evernight Teen. She's a member of SFWA, RWA and SCBWI.

Author links:
Blog: http://catherinestine.blogspot.com/
Website: http://catherinestine.com


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