Happily Ever After—What is your Interpretation of HEA?
“Cinderella married Prince Charming and they lived happily ever after.”
– The End -
Do you ever wonder what happened to Cinderella twenty years later? Do you think she’s still wearing a diamond tiara; crystal embedded Louboutin shoes, a Vera Wang ball gown, dines off of Wedgwood china and dances around the castle with her handsome prince every night after dinner?
Personally, I don’t buy that interpretation of happily ever after. Let’s not forget, Cindy’s crusty step-mother and her cranky step-sisters. Even though she should have written the whole lot of that bitchiness off, she doesn’t seem the type to abandon her family, even if they weren’t blood related. This meant Charming had to put up with his butt-ugly-nasty-step-in-laws sponging off of them during the holidays. However, they don’t call him Charming for no reason—he puts up with the relatives and even does it with a smile, showing off his strikingly brilliant white teeth (which by the way come from using the whitening strips on a daily basis, but who cares, he’s a hot Prince).
About those glass slippers that landed Cindy a husband. I’m thinking that twenty years later, those slippers are stashed away in a closet, or maybe the Charmings sold them on E-bay to help with repairing that money pit they call a castle. Besides, it’s hell walking through that huge castle in those heels. These days, Cindy is a busy wife and Polo Mom, car-pooling her two little Charmings. She now favors Nike’s, comfy yoga pants and a T-shirt that says, “Bite Me Step-Monster.” The corset and ball gown that her aging godmother (who also resides in the Castle and is a bit on the doddering side) conjured up for her is so 1800’s.
Always the helpful one; Cindy even car pools for her BFF’s—Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Twenty years later, checking in on the girls, we see that Sleeping Bea has insomnia which plays havoc on her driving abilities. Snow’s little buddies had promised her pay back for all the cleaning and cooking she did for the little dudes by returning the favor. However, the Dwarfs got wind of match.com and ran off with their own soul mates, leaving Snow to take care of her castle and six kids of her own, while she lives her happy ever after ending.
Unlike the fairy tales we all enjoyed as children, the modern day romances don’t end with the words happy ever after and a picture of the heroine riding off on a white horse with her prince. Romance novels do offer a promise of a happy ending with a more realistic approach.
In a romance novel, it is up to the author to create a hero and heroine that the reader will not only love and root for while we put them through angst, conflicts and unbearable challenges, but to create characters that instill the belief that the hero and heroine are going to survive and celebrate a golden anniversary and beyond when the reader finishes the book.
Happily ever after isn’t a fairy tale, or a fantasy vision of a couple always looking their best, and being happy 24/7 with each other. Sure, there is the fantasy aspect of the romance, the escapism with heroes that we can drool over. However, when it comes to the long term relationship and their happily ever after ending (for me) in a romance novel and in real life it doesn’t have a fantasy ending.
It means that after the initial euphoria of falling in lust followed by an all consuming love and it turns into a more realistic approach to being able to ride the big wave together, battle demons, handle the baggage and still remain friends, in love and committed.
As a romance writer, my goal is for the reader to believe with all her heart that this couple will work through in-law problems, unexpected illnesses, PMS, difficult pregnancy, colic, sleepless nights, death in the family, financial problems, a leaking roof, a leaking diaper and disagreements.
Through all this, the couple will support each other, laugh and cry together, and work as a unit to get through the many stresses that life throws at people when they least expect it. A happy ever after ending, means that the writer has created two characters who not only have fallen deeply in love, but they give the reader the assurance that when the book has ended, the reader knows these two characters will not only remain loving, but they will have a strong friendship that will last through the years, that they truly like each other and enjoy each other’s company (even if they at times they get on each others nerves).
It’s reassuring the reader that after all the angst and conflicts this couple deals with throughout the story, that these two will always remember to celebrate what brought them together in the first place.
Happy ever after means that even through a couple has a hectic schedule, after twenty years of marriage, they still take a moment to send a text message to say, “I’m thinking about you,” or perhaps send a naughty message (only make sure you have the correct phone number when doing that. I’m not admitting to anything, I’m just saying. )
What is your definition of happy ever after?
What a Girl Wants
“Life’s a beach. Then you have sex on it.”
Travel journalist Maddie Saunders has new attitude, and wants two new accessories to go with it. One, turn her triple-X fantasies into reality with Mr. Sex-On-Legs—her friend, Alex Donovan. And two, find her biological father to see if her gene pool has a deep end. She never expected fulfilling both wishes would take her life down a drastically different path.
“Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug.”
Alex, an investigative reporter, grits his teeth when he accepts a joint assignment to Hawaii with Maddie. He’s vowed to never get involved with any woman he can’t walk away from. Maddie falls under the heading of “Look, but don’t touch”. Trouble is, she excels at giving him a hard time—in more ways than one.
He manages to fend off her guerilla seduction tactics until a bone-melting kiss throws his resolve into the ocean. Complicated? Absolutely. Especially when he discovers the real reason they were sent to the island…
Product Warnings: Side effects may include but not limited to, spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter, hot flashes and dangerous chocolate cravings. Contents include, one kick-ass heroine and a sex-on-legs hero whose kiss could singe the eyebrows off a mannequin. Can be read in bed with someone special or a BOB (battery operated boyfriend). Please note: Batteries not included.