Back in May, I had the opportunity to read and review the NA (new adult) novel Stripped written by Nicole Steinhaus (under the pen-name of Brooklyn Skye). More recently I was able to interview Nicole about her characters in Stripped, the new adult genre, and her newest project Without You (a Stripped novella).
Amanda Sawyer: Hi Nicole! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Why did you choose to write Stripped under the pen name of Brooklyn Skye?
Nicole Steinhaus: I decided to release STRIPPED under a pen name for the same reason several others who work in the publishing industry have: to separate my author-self from my editor-self. I wasn’t sure how the book would do, given that it’s a bit different than current NAs out there, and didn’t want to “taint,” so to speak, my growing editorial career. After talking with a friend of mine (who you all probably know as Cora Carmack) about the stress of holding two identities (I can’t tell you how many times I slipped on Twitter, responding in the wrong name!) and seeing the support from the writing community she received when she came out of the “pen name closet,” I decided to spill my secret on Twitter. Aside from one little incident where I was accused of creating the pen name just so I could promote myself—which, might I add, is ridiculous—I’ve been blessed with a very positive experience. I can’t thank those who have supported me (and those who kept my secret safe until I was ready to reveal it) enough. I am extremely lucky to be a part of such an amazing community.
Amanda: What is NA (new adult)?
Nicole: People have said New Adult straddles the line between Young Adult and Adult literature which I think is a great way to think about it. For me, there came a point when I was ready to read something a bit more mature—in content, voice, and perspective—but I wasn’t ready to jump from reading about teens to women who were already established in their lives (steady jobs, knowing exactly who they are, etc.). This in-between time can be messy and heart-breaking, fun and exciting, and shouldn’t be skipped over. To me, New Adult is about characters who are learning to fly, so to speak. Exploring new freedoms and discovering that being “grown-up” is kind of a lot of work! Much of the discussion about New Adult surrounds the sustainability of the category, whether it will last (or even show up) in bookstores and I don’t know the answer to that question. Though, I’d say from how NA has evolved in the last year, especially with the number of best-sellers in this category, there are people out there who want to read this kind of book. And that’s all that really matters.
Amanda: How (or where) did you get the inspiration for Quinn, your main character in Stripped?
Nicole: I originally wrote STRIPPED three years ago after seeing a blurb on AOL news about college girls who model nude to pay for their education. Back then Quinn wasn’t so stubborn and outspoken, but as I reworked the drafts over time the death of her sister began to affect her more and more. One day I had an idea: What if losing her sister made Quinn doing something outrageously extreme? and that’s when Derek came into the picture. Quinn is one of those characters who I both love and hate. She’s so mean sometimes— especially to Torrin (poor Torrin!), but watching her grow and break down walls and overcome her fears has been really rewarding for me.
Amanda: What has it been like to see readers’ reactions to Stripped?
Nicole: Like I said earlier, I wasn’t quite sure what the reaction would be given that STRIPPED isn’t like what’s selling in NA. There’s not a lot of heavy sex; it’s more the story of a scarred and jaded girl who learns how to love (and be loved), but spending an entire month in Amazon’s top 15 Best Selling New Adult has proven that New Adult readers don’t care so much about sex as they simply want to read a great story. Every time a fan letter lands in my inbox or I come across a poignantly-written review of my little coming of age story I get all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s shocking, really, because I never expected to be brought so much joy from seeing others adore my story.
Amanda: I heard that you were working on a novella written in the point of view of Torrin from Stripped. What can you tell us about that? What gave you the idea of writing in Torrin’s POV?
Nicole: The idea to write a novella and continue Quinn and Torrin’s story came from my readers. So many commented in reviews and on Twitter that they wanted an epilogue, to know what happened after Quinn’s walls crumbled. I didn’t think twice about writing from Torrin’s point of view…he’s kind of a mystery to me. I mean, what is it about Quinn that keeps him around, dealing with her insults and illogicality? Getting inside of his head to write WITHOUT YOU has been both fun and heartbreaking. Quinn is just as much of a rock to Torrin as he is to her and we get to explore in this novella what happens when that rock slips away—(if you thought STRIPPED was emotional, just wait!)
Amanda: Who are some other NA authors who you would recommend readers check out
Nicole: Oh gosh, there are so many! I have absolutely loved reading Cora Carmack, Abbi Glines, Natasha Boyd, Megan Smith, Tammara Webber, and Sawyer Bennett.
Amanda: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and for giving me the opportunity to interview you.
Nicole: Thank you so much for having me!
You can find STRIPPED on Amazon Here and Barnes & Noble Here .
You can also follow Nicole on Twitter (https://twitter.com/NicoleSteinhaus) or Brooklyn Skye (https://twitter.combrooklyn__skye) or visit her web site (http://brooklynskye.wordpress.com/) for updates, teasers, and more.
And now for a GIVEAWAY!
Nicole is offering to give away one e-copy of STRIPPED to the person of her choosing who answers this question:
Where do you see NA (new adult) going in the future?
Leave a comment with your answer. Answers need to be submitted by 6-27 (one week from today)!!!
Stay tuned for my review of Stripped, coming this afternoon!