Author interview: Eleanor Musgrove and Michelle Peart

SUBMERGEOn 1 November, Manifold Press is proud to be releasing two titles under our New Adult imprint: SUBMERGE by Eleanor Musgrove, a story set in and around an LGBTQ+ nightclub; and TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR by Michelle Peart, a ‘road trip’ adventure on an alien plant.

We had some questions for them …

What does ‘New Adult’ fiction mean to you?

Shell: I read, watch, and love New Adult stories. My bookshelf is stuffed with books for a younger (than me) audience. For me, the genre is lighter, faster paced, and emotionally intense and that’s what I enjoy. I can’t see me writing anything other than New Adult.

Ellie: It’s funny – I hadn’t really heard much about New Adult as a genre until very recently. I didn’t particularly set out to appeal to that demographic with Submerge, but I did try to make it relatable and accessible to people my age and younger – new adults. It’s an important genre, I feel, as it covers an age of self-discovery and growth.

Do you think an author should approach writing New Adult fiction with a sense of responsibility? Perhaps more responsibility than for other adult fiction? Or is it more important that the fiction be entertaining?

Ellie: Well, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive! You can definitely write entertaining responsible fiction. I do think it’s a little more important to write responsibly for younger audiences, but being responsible as an author doesn’t mean your characters have to be! It’s about showing consequences and effects, I think – readers are that bit less likely to have experienced any given situation for themselves so you want to make sure you’re not glamorising the wrong things too much, I think.

Shell: I was definitely aware as I wrote North Star who the target audience was and the responsibility surrounding that, but I didn’t let that hold me back.

TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STARWhat are some of your favourite examples of New Adult fiction by other authors?

Shell: I have sixty-seven Doctor Who books on my bookshelf! Yes, sixty-seven! They are written by various authors with my favourite book being The Feast of the Drowned by Stephen Cole. I’d say they come under the Young Adult or New Adult umbrellas and all of them definitely influenced my writing.

Ellie: Ooh, Feast of the Drowned is amazing, I agree. Hm. I like Looking for Alaska by John Green, but I think my favourite is Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. It’s funny, diverse, and empowering – a must-read, I’d say.

What inspired you to write this particular novel?

Ellie: It was an accident! I generated some random throwaway characters to demonstrate one of the development techniques I use, with the express intention of never using them again. They became Jamie, Miles, Addie and Gina, and really wrote their own story while I tried to keep up!

Shell: A walk along a river at a place called Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire. There had been a storm and the river was awash with sediment from the hills above turning it from black-blue into a vibrant copper colour. The shallows glowed in the sunlight and I was enchanted. I searched my rucksack and wrote ‘The Copper River’ on an old receipt.

What are you working on next? Is it also New Adult?

Shell: At the moment I’m writing a New Adult Urban Fantasy called Brennar.

Ellie: I’m not done with my characters from Submerge yet! So I’m actually already fiddling about with a sequel – even if nobody but me ever reads it, I feel like I need to follow my characters a bit further yet. However, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, so I’m taking a break to work on a new project set in 1950s Cambridge. Should be fun!

Thank you, both, and wishing you any luck you may need with your novels!

Eleanor MusgroveEleanor Musgrove was born in a seaside town on the South Coast of England, where she developed a love of writing when she was very young. Other ambitions – and homes – have come and gone, but she has always wanted to be an author. After lots of practice, both through writing fan fiction and through participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) most years, SUBMERGE is her first novel. She’s pretty excited about it!

When she’s not writing or reading, Eleanor enjoys going to the theatre, walks in the woods, and getting far too emotionally invested in films and TV shows. She graduated from the University of Kent in 2014 with a BSc in Multimedia Technology and Design, and hopes to one day put it to good use.

If you’d like to keep up with Eleanor’s writing journey, or let her know what you think of her book, she keeps a blog at

Michelle PeartMichelle Peart is a writer, a designer, and a lover of the fantastical. During the past two years, she has completed four writing courses, two at an advanced level, and passed all with Distinction.

TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR is my debut novel.

Introducing our New Adult imprint

Manifold Press is delighted to announce that we’ll soon be launching a New Adult LGBTQ+ imprint. We’ll have more news on specific titles soon, but in the meantime we want to talk about our approach to New Adult stories.

What makes a story ‘New Adult’?

New Adult womanThe main characters are between 18 and 30 years old, and the story is told from their point of view.

The focus is on the characters emerging from childhood into adulthood. This is, of course, never an easy, smooth or neat transition. Ideally, authors will approach such material both realistically and responsibly (though there’s nothing wrong with an entertaining read, with a ‘lesson learned’ about the importance of fun).

Within that broad scope, New Adult works might include:

  • Characters mapping their own lives. Becoming more independent. Dealing with increasing responsibilities. Becoming of ‘legal age’.
  • Changes in perspectives. Achievement of insight. Greater awareness of self and others.
  • Leaving the family home. Relating to their parents (and siblings) as adults rather than as children.
  • Negotiating the unfamiliar worlds of college or work.
  • Relationships of all kinds; friendship and love. Issues of identity, including gender and sexuality. Perhaps starting to think about marriage and children of their own.
  • ‘Coming of age’ experiences. Growing from innocence to experience.
  • What do they keep? What do they jettison? What do they change?

New Adult man‘New Adult’ is a category that can combine with any genre or subgenre: contemporary fiction, romance, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal, and so on.

Readers will often be of the same 18-30 age group, although both younger and older people happily read NA.

Given that the target audience and the characters are of legal age, then explicit scenes can be included.

The Manifold Press way!

The Press’s approach is always that sex scenes (if any) should suit the style of the story, and serve the character or plot development. The same approach applies to ‘strong’ language, violence and other possibly controversial matters.

We know that there are a few negative connotations associated with the New Adult category, but we will be delivering what we trust you’ll always find with Manifold Press: a darned good read with quality stories and interesting characters.

Readers, we hope you’re looking forward to what we’ll soon be offering!

Authors, please feel free to submit your New Adult (and other!) LGBTQ+ manuscripts to Fiona Pickles at We’d love to hear from you!

And we’d like to finish this post with the thought that it’s particularly important to try to represent the whole glorious LGBTQ+ spectrum in this imprint’s stories. Fair winds and good fortune to all who sail in her!

Illustrations from GraphicStock.