Discovering a New Genre and a Great New Author

The more I learn about publishing, the more I find there is to learn. I discovered not only a wonderful new author last Saturday at the Princeton Local Authors’ Day, I learned about an entire new genre.

The author is Mary Fan, whose first two novels, Artificial Absolutes and Synthetic Illusions, came out in 2012 and in January of 2014. Her third book, The Firedragon, is being released today.

So what is Mary’s genre? New adult. No, that is not Young Adult, which has long been the misnamed category for books written for middle school and high school students. New adult fiction is aimed at readers age 18 to 30. The term was used first in 2009 by St. Martin’s Press. And like many broad fiction categories, it has a number of crossover genres, including romance, mystery and science fiction, where Fan’s work falls.

In fact, the books could also fall in the mystery category, since the plot of her first book, Artificial Absolutes, is that of a woman who leaves her job as a corporate office drone to search the galaxy for her kidnapped boyfriend and clear her brother of a murder he has been framed for.

That is a plot that could be set in almost any era, from the present to the past to the future. Fan makes her book special by not only creating a fascinating, complex and very believable futuristic society, she explores a number of themes including the role of religion and belief in our lives, family dynamics, and our relationship with technology.

What makes it “new adult” is the age of her protagonists, all in their early 20s, who are dealing with the typical problems of their age: first jobs, parental relationships, and the age-old question, “Is he or she The One?”

But it doesn’t matter what genre a book is listed in. A good read is a good read. And Mary Fan’s books are an excellent blend of action, complex and interesting characters and just enough philosophy to make the reader stop and think.

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