Monday, September 21, 2015

Recap of the Decatur Book Festival

Labor Day weekend brought the annual Decatur Book Festival to the Atlanta area. Lots of authors, lots of books, lots of food and drink. A great time was had by all. One of the Sunday afternoon panels was called New Adult: Fast, Thrilling, and Sexy with best-selling NA authors Jay Crownover and Christina Lauren. It was a rollicking good time before a large audience, many of whom were fans of one or both authors. There were also plenty of attendees who became fans after hearing about the fun and exciting stories that Crownover and Lauren have written. 

Jay Crownover is the author of a number of NA books, including the Marked Men and Welcome to the Point series. Her most recent release is Better When He's Brave: A Welcome to the Point Novel. During the panel she said that she started her writing career by self-publishing a book on Kindle, and the next day was shocked to see that it was on their bestseller list. Crownover has a number of tattoos and reported having a special affinity for writing about handsome heroes with plenty of ink of their own.
Christina Lauren is actually two authors writing under one name. They are Christina Hobbes and Lauren Billings, and together they're responsible for the wildly popular Beautiful and Wild Seasons series. Their Amazon author page warns "Some of the books have kissing. Some of the books have A LOT of kissing." Indeed. Kissing aside, the books certainly have enticing titles, including Beautiful Bastard and Wicked Sexy Liar. Oddly enough, the pair began their journey to publishing success with Twilight fan fiction.
In addition to talking about their books and their writing process, the panelists discussed what makes NA its own unique genre. Common characteristics of these books include young main characters – maybe 18-22 years old, maybe a little older, depending on which panelist was asked – often they have a first person perspective, there are frequent contemporary references to TV, movies, music, along with a lot of angst. And of course, there's sex. They joked that if characters in NA books aren't having sex within the first six chapters, readers start wondering what's wrong with them.
The Decatur Book Festival was a great opportunity to plug into the local literary scene and discover some excellent authors. There was also a terrific Thai restaurant down there with a yummy Nam Sod that they made with chicken instead of pork. Hey, you've got to keep up your strength if you're hauling around all those autographed books. Next year, if you can make the trek to this Festival, you won't regret it. And whether you can come or not, be sure to check out some of the outstanding NA books that Crownover and Lauren have to offer.

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