You will not believe how many times I’m asked when I will “write a real book.” Somehow, in our culture, strong female characters that work hard for their HEA are considered “less than” characters who suffer to end up with a horrible future, or no future at all. Fiction is still looked down upon by people who prefer non-fiction. And romance? HA! Romance is just fluff that rots the brain (note the sarcasm here.)
But happy endings matter. They give hope. They let us see how to be better versions of ourselves when we feel like nothing matters.
Last week, I lost a friend in her twenties in childbirth. It rocked me to my core. This is not the first friend I’ve lost, but it never gets easier. While grief manifests in different ways, there’s a terror that comes with losing someone younger than you. It is an in-your-face reminder that life is too short, unfair, and unpredictable to waste time on bad books.
My way of dealing with my grief has been to write like I have a limited number of heartbeats. To be frank, I do. I wrote 7,000 words on Tuesday because I just couldn’t stop (not that I’m complaining!). The story gets dark, as all stories do when written in a time of a broken heart, but the thing that pushes me forward is the fact that this character *will* have a happy ending.
My friend’s death, so close on the heels of my mother’s death, has changed my life and world view significantly. I find I’m gravitating toward friends and family who truly understand the value of the time they’re given, of the life they chose to live.
This is a very personal journey for me and one I’m finding my characters taking as well. I want to be the heroine of my own story.
Side note: I keep checking and double checking that my heroines aren’t standing around waiting for life to happen to them. They’re going out and making it happen. Don’t have a passive main character. Don’t be one, either. End side note.
My new life view has cost me along the way, but don’t all happily ever afters?
You need to have a lot of faith to step back, look at what is toxic or draining in your life, and find a way to fix it. That faith, for me, is reinforced by happily ever afters.
Sure, books are just fiction. But just because they’re fiction doesn’t mean that they can’t be true. And if they can’t be true, it doesn’t mean that we can’t take the hope in those pages and wrap it around us. Every word written in that book came from the author’s heart, and that is where the beauty can be found.
Life is hard. Too hard to read books that have bitter characters with unhappy endings. Too hard to have those people surround you in real life.
My best life advice is to find people who understand the value of the life they were given and surround yourself with them. Find people who strive to be happy no matter the circumstances. Find people who believe in happily ever afters. And collect the weirdos – for they will make life unexpectedly wonderful.
On this day in 1942 – Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the “Secret Annexe” above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.
Hunting Witch Hazel: Now available
I was happy with my West Coast life – 24-hour pizza delivery and bikini-clad bodies as far as the eye could see. Now I’m in the small-ass town of Hayvenwood to extract a ransom to save my little brother’s life. And that ransom is locked inside of the sexiest witch I have ever met, Hazel Evanora.