I need to get out more.
At a recent conference, where I was on the spot being an Author on a Panel, I mistakenly referred to the romance book expectation of “Happily Ever After” as “the Happy Ending.”
Oh yes I did.
More’s the pity, I had no idea why the audience burst into laughter.
Well, I suppose in some books, it IS the same thing…
Anyway, a kind soul enlightened me, and I turned beet red, and that was that. For the panel, anyway. But it got me to thinking about Happily Ever After, and how…well, I don’t tend to do that.
The thing is, in real life, there is no Happily Ever After–and I mean that in the best possible way. Those lovers who find their perfect match (against all odds, natch!) don’t stop being.
They face new challenges, and overcome those together, too. They continue together.
My characters are real enough to me so their lives go on, too. There are consequences to what they do in their grand adventures, both personal and practical. The things they’ve been through affect them; they grow, and need to understand what they mean to each other in these new circumstances. There’s always a next thing.
In Garrie’s case, her reckoner team needs to come to terms with an otherworldly half-blood they never truly trusted in the first place…but they do trust Garrie. Garrie needs to come to terms with the changes wrought within her, thanks to the new energies she’s faced. Trevarr faces both the mundane (Arizona rest stops) and the unexpected (how can this world not have the right food?). And irrepressible, unpredictable Sklayne…
Well. Sklayne wants to go home. And he wants to taste new things. Sometimes in that order, sometimes not. And just maybe, if he was to admit it, he wants his half-human partner to be happy.
Not that I’m going to make it easy for any of them…
But that’s how it is for me. Just because the book reaches the last page doesn’t mean the story doesn’t go on.
And I like it that way.
I’m with you on “real” characters having real lives that do go on and do involve further challenges. The perfect ever after doesn’t exist unless the participants are a) lucky and b) able to close their eyes and ignore the challenges…which, if done too much, causes its own problems. It’s one thing to shrug off the inevitables of aging, but quite another to ignore the need for new glasses. Mental or physical.
I love the way you handle the sense of “ongoingness” in your books!
One of the reasons I enjoy your work is the sense that when I read the last paragraph of the book, it isn’t the end of the story.
I used to say I like happily ever after stories, but that isn’t quite what I meant, I like the continuing on together. Probably the only thing I hate more than a complete cliff hanger at the end of a book/story is one where everything is totally tied up THE END.
The stories that work best for me are those where I can get involved with the characters, perhaps not to the extent my land lady did when I was in school though. It wasn’t until her TV broke and she came downstairs to watch her soaps that I learned all those people were not her relatives.
LOL! Oh, gosh, I’m still laughing at that soap opera thing!