Today, I welcome author Rebecca York to Terry's Place. Rebecca started writing romantic suspense when she was eight. Well, actually, she was playing with dolls, but the dolls were always kidnapped by a handsome hero and taken off to a desert island.
Rebecca will give away an autographed DRAGON MOON to a reader who comments on her post by December 11. Rebecca will choose a winner, and I'll announce it here, so don't forget to check back. Unclaimed prize will be forfeited.
Romance authors get criticized for their happy endings. It can’t be real literature if you know the hero and heroine are going to walk off into the sunset together.
Literature? That’s what I studied in my English classes in college. When I read a book now, I want to enjoy myself.
I’ve just finished a “guy book” that upset me a lot. So I want to discuss it a little. I won’t mention any names, but the story was about a woman lawyer whose husband was accused of murder. She loved him and defended him at his trial. During the course of the book, I got to know and like the heroine. Several times during the story, she questioned whether her husband was really innocent. But each time, she regained her faith in him. She won an acquittal, and they joyfully went home again. Then the author had the brilliant idea of having her find out that the guy was really guilty. Not just guilty, but a psychopath. When she confronted him, he tried to kill her. When she ended up shooting him in self-defense, that was the last straw for me.
I’d gone through a deeply emotional experience with the heroine. I rooted for her to win the court case–in the face of a hostile judge and a lot of dirty tricks from the prosecution. Not only that, during the trial, she almost gets fired from her job. But she triumphed over all of that.
What was her reward? Her life was destroyed. Why? Because the author thought it was a cool twist for the end of the book?
As I read, I started suspecting that the author was going to pull a zinger at the end. But I kept hoping for the best, and I kept going because I liked the heroine and wanted her to win–and walk away happy. I was involved with the story, but now I’m really upset with investing so much time and emotional energy in the plot–and the characters.
I write paranormal romantic suspense, which means I put my hero and heroine through terrible trials. I test their resolve and their character and their love for each other. But I end the story with them happy together. Because that’s what I want to read. And write. There’s enough bad stuff going on in the world without inventing more.
I could name countless movies where the cool twist has one of the main characters dying. Or deeply disappointed. With a movie, it’s not so bad. I’ve only invested a couple of hours in the plot and characters. In the face of a disaster ending, I always turn to my husband and say, “That’s not what really happened. What happened was . . .” Then I tell him how it really came out okay.
But I can’t read a book in a couple of hours. The investment is bigger. And the disappointment is worse when the ending sucks.
Romance writers get a bad rap for our happy endings. But it’s basically the same in mystery and suspense. I mean, the detective solves the crime, or the hero escapes from the evil bad guys. As far as I’m concerned, genre writers have a contract with the reader. It’s going to come out okay. Unless maybe it’s a science fiction novel where the whole world blows up at the end. Well, there’s another exception, too. Guys who write love stories who bend over backwards not to end the book the way a woman writer would.
So what’s your preference. Do you want that happy ending? Or will you settle for misery because you’ve just been dragged through a powerful emotional experience?
Rebecca York's latest paranormal romantic suspense is DAY OF THE DRAGON which comes out today, December 7.
For more: Rebecca's Web site: www.rebeccayork.com
DAY OF THE DRAGON Excerpt
On Twitter: Rebeccayork43