June 29, 2012

"New Adult" Niche: Guest Post by C. K. Kelly Martin (and Giveaway!)

I'm very happy to welcome C.K. Kelly Martin to the blog today! She's guest blogging about her recently released New Adult novel, Come See About Me. 

First, a bit about the book and the author:

"Twenty-year-old Leah Fischer's been in a state of collapse since the moment police arrived on her Toronto doorstep to inform her that boyfriend Bastien was killed in a car accident. After flunking out of university and cutting herself off from nearly everyone she knows, Leah's saved by Bastien's aunt who offers her a rent-free place to stay in a nearby suburban town.

Initially Leah keeps to herself, with no energy for anyone or anything else, but it's not long before her nurturing neighbours begin to become fixtures in Leah's life and a much needed part-time job forces her to interact with other members of the community. And when Leah is faced with another earth-shattering event, her perspective on life begins to shift again. Soon Leah's falling into a casual sexual relationship with Irish actor Liam Kellehan, who has troubles of his own, even as she continues to yearn for her dead boyfriend. Clearly she's not the person she thought she was—and maybe Liam isn't either." (from Goodreads)

"Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin often (although not as often as I'd like!) while working on novels. My first book, I Know It's Over, came out with Random House in September 2008, and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death and My Beating Teenage Heart. My next young adult novel, Yesterday, will hit shelves September 25th and I released my first {new} adult novel, Come See About Me, as an ebook in June. You can read more about the novel and 'new adult' fiction in general on my March 26th blog entry or visit Come See About Me.com for additional info." (taken from the author's website)

And now for the guest post!

“The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe.”
Those are my favourite lines from the much maligned M. Night Shyamalan movie, The Village, because they are both beautiful and true. Romantic love, like all love, is universal – people across the globe experience it – but it also marks one as lucky, in a special state of being. On crowded buses and subway trains strangers may rearrange themselves to allow an obviously happy couple to sit together and who doesn’t swoon a little when encountering the Robert Doisneau image “The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville.”? Who isn’t warmed by the sight of an old couple walking in hand in hand (love that has lasted!)? This enduring love is the most revered, most sought after, and it’s what the main character of Come See About Me, twenty-year-old Leah Fischer, believes she’s been fortunate enough to find early in life only to lose just as quickly. When her live-in boyfriend Bastien’s the victim of a fatal accident Leah goes into a total state of collapse. She withdraws from friends, flunks out of college and ignores her parents’ pleas to leave Toronto and fly back across the country to be with them in British Columbia.
When I began writing this book I knew it would be filled with much sorrow and a fair amount of sex. It may seem as if the two things don’t go together, but Leah (who had a very fulfilling sexual relationship with Bastien) comes to realize that losing her boyfriend doesn’t mean she’s permanently lost all physical desire or that there’s nothing left to care about in life. Does she feel guilty and conflicted when she finds herself drawn to Liam, an Irish actor trying to escape aspects of his old life? Definitely. Does that stop her from sleeping with him? No.
What I didn’t fully realize when I began writing Come See About Me was how little space there is for twenty-year-old main characters in traditional publishing. Considering Leah’s age, situation (living away from home with her boyfriend while they attend college) and the book’s sexual content, I knew Come See About Me wasn’t YA like the other books I’ve written, but that it still had a very youthful energy to it. I assumed that Come See About Me would require an adult publisher, but that it would have some kind of chance in the traditional publishing realm. Instead the agent who submitted it to New York publishers for me over a year ago found, "Almost every editor was concerned that Leah is too young for this to be adult, but too grown for this to go back to being YA." This brings me to the present where, thanks to the rise of e-books, I’ve been able to release the novel myself. While traditional publishers aren’t yet convinced copies of ‘new adult’ books can be shifted in any great numbers, I think they’re wrong and that there are countless great stories yet to be told about young people whose high school years are behind them and who are finding their way in the world. Since I began Come See About Me in 2010 the publishing landscape has changed significantly and indie and self-publishers are filling this void. I believe in time these publishing avenues will prove new adult titles successful enough that traditional publishers will have to reconsider their own approach to books featuring characters in their late teens and early twenties.
Here are a few things that I, as a YA author, appreciated about focusing on a slightly older character:
1. Still possessing the immediacy and intensity of a teen protagonist’s point of view while also having the chance to explore a more independent life. Leah’s parents are still very concerned about the depth of her grief but technically she’s an adult who can make her own decisions.
2. More freedom in writing about sex. There’s usually some kind of sexual content in my YA books too but it comes along with an awareness of the readership that I didn’t feel I had to worry about here. Because the sexual scenes between Leah and Liam are very important to Come See About Me this is a huge bonus. It really wouldn’t have been the same book without these scenes or if they’d been watered down.
3. Novel length. Most YA books are typically on the shorter side, unless we’re talking about fantasy or sci-fi. Come See About Me checks in at roughly 102,000 words.
You can read the first two chapters of Come See About Me on my website. Watch the trailer:

Thanks very much, C.K., for sharing your thoughts on writing a novel featuring college-aged characters!

C.K. Kelly Martin has generously offered up a giveaway! There will be 4 winners: one winner of a signed paperback copy of Come See About Me, and three winners of e-book copies.

The rules:

- Entrants must be 16 years or older.
- Open internationally
- One entry per person
- Following and tweeting are not necessary but always appreciated!
- Ends July 10, at 11:59 pm EST.
- Winners will be selected randomly and contacted by e-mail. Your information will be passed on to the author so you can receive your prize.

To enter, please leave a comment with your e-mail address. Anyone who's officially signed up for my New Adult reading challenge gets an extra entry! (You must have already filled in this form, prior to the posting of this giveaway, in order to qualify. Please mention that you're a participant in your comment and leave the e-mail address you signed up with.)


  1. I've been hearing such good things about C.K's book and I have the Kindle version to read. I really enjoyed this guest post and now feel I know even more about the book - can't wait to read it!

  2. Ooh this sounds good! I completely agree with C.K. about the digital age, and through it, these titles will be able to get the attention of NY Publishers. I woke up this morning to see FOUR books about college heroines on the NYT Bestsellers this! NA is happening and it's going to take everyone by surprise!

    victoria(dot)smith775(at)gmail(dot)com and I'm a part of the NA challenge Danya!

  3. Thanks for the giveaway! I adore C.K. Kelly Martin's novels and can't wait to read this one.


  4. I'm so excited to read this! C.K. Kelly Martin is such an incredible writer, and I've been hearing such great things about this novel :)

    My email is paperback.pixie@gmail.com. Thanks for the chance!

  5. Sounds really good! Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  6. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Tore923@aol.com

  7. I love the premise of this book (it had me gaping like a fish for moment :P) and those first two chapters.. WOAH! I couldn't have counted the number of times I laughed, said "awww", or just really wanted to give Leah a hug.
    I'm definitely buying the paperback :D

  8. COME SEE ABOUT ME looks like such an emotional read. Yes please!!

    I love the movie THE VILLAGE. I can hear the music as I type.


  9. I'd love it to be entered in the giveaway. Come See About Me sounds terrific, and I've added it to my TBR list. I also look forward to the time when NA makes it into the bookshelves too.


  10. I do LOVE how e-publishing has allowed for new adult novels to be released like this. It's interesting how traditional publishing can't find a place for new adult, yet all the indie new adult novels I've read have been huge digital pub successes!

    Can't wait to check this one out; thanks so much for the giveaway!

    +1 New Adult challenge participant

    asherz86 at gmail dot com

  11. loved everything about this post, Danya.

    Personally I love, and get very excited about, new adult books. I recently read this one (review will be up in a day or two) and am so glad C K went ahead and published this. very polished and heartbreaking read.

  12. I think this book sounds amazing!

    Erin D.

  13. I recently had my first experience with C. K. Kelly Martin, and I definitely want to read more!


    cynicalsapphire at gmail dot com

  14. This sounds amazing - I'm just nodding and nodding along with C.K.'s guest post.

    Thanks for the terrific giveaway, Danya!

    basiasbookshelf at charter dot net

    I'm doing the New Adult Challenge (woot, 10 books and counting!)

  15. I absolutely loved The Lighter Side of Life and Death. Definitely digging all the opportunities ebooks have opened up, especially in the New Adult area! Thanks for the great giveaway!

    candicerjames [at] gmail [dot] com


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