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When Fiction and Non-Fiction Collide

Rolling Stone

photo credit: vagabondblogger via photopin cc

Many of my books can be classified as New Adult fiction. What is New Adult fiction, you ask? According to this 2013 article in USA Today, New Adult novels explore the terrifying and wonderful chasm between adolescence and adulthood. Since I’m farther removed from that chasm than I’d like to admit, when one of my writing loops posted a link to this Rolling Stone article about millennials and their views on sex and marriage, I clicked over to have a look see.

And then I wanted to pour bleach in my eyes.

Never had the acronym WTF been more appropriate. Seriously, WTF, people?

I’m not sure what disturbed me more: the 30’s couple in an open relationship where she had a secondary boyfriend she saw once a week outside of her live-in boyfriend, the 20-year-old female college junior who’s had 29 sexual partners, or the 24-year-old drummer who is 95 percent monogamous because when, “…you find someone that’s just so amazing that it would be irresponsible on your life’s trajectory not to [sleep with them], then that’s what the five percent is for. I don’t want to ever feel like I missed out.”

Missed out on what? Genital herpes? Syphilis? Holy cow, Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…

Anyone who’s ever read one of my blogs knows I’m happy in the conservative corner of the room, but really? Really? Is this truly how our next generation views sex and marriage? Say it isn’t so. Somebody out there SAY IT ISN’T SO! I’m begging you…

photo credit: vagabondblogger via photopin cc

Reading: the Ultimate Comfort Food

I read an interesting blog on USA Today’s HEA page last week that asked readers to go to their keeper shelf and name the book that was third from the left.  It was fun to see what books readers—and writers—decide are keepers.  I read many more books digitally now, so the book third from the left on my keeper shelf is dated—Jo Beverley’s St. Raven—but it’s still holds it own with today’s releases.

reading a book 5 timesMy son asked me why I keep so many books if I’ve already read them.  Well, duh!  Because I read them a second time.  And sometimes maybe a third!

Why?  You already know how it’s going to end, he asked. 

That doesn’t matter, I answered. These books are my comfort books.  I read them again because they make me happy.  

His response was the typical teenage double negative—an eye roll and a shake of the head—before leaving my office.  But, hey, I know I’m not crazy.  Just based upon the posts in the HEA blog, there are plenty of people who keep books and read them again; romance novels in particular.

Why?  Because of that comfort.   A reader always knows they’re going to get that happily ever after at the end, no matter what the main characters have to go through to achieve it.  That HEA is the premise behind the romance genre. 

But wait.  I read another blog this week.  (I know I’m on deadline, I shouldn’t be reading anything!)  This one on Dear Author.  It was a thought provoking look at HEA versus happy for now (HFN).  You can read the full commentary here.  In the article, the author opines:

Knowing that you can find constancy in a fictional love match can be a point of comfort for readers.

There’s that word comfort again.  I’m okay with an HFN ending in my books—as long as we’re not talking Gone Girl here.  (But even that ending is being changed for the movie version!)  That’s because I always infer that the couple will be together for the long haul.  I don’t always need an epilogue to wrap things up.  Don’t get me wrong, though, I love when a book has one, but it’s not a game changer.  For my Blaze series, I did write epilogues for each book.  The first was before the wedding, the second during the wedding and the third on the wedding night.  I hadn’t planned them that way, that’s just what the characters demanded.  

In my current WIP my characters are getting a HFN ending.  Not because they’ve been maddening during the writing process and I don’t want them to have an HEA, but because they’ve been through a lot and I think it would be too contrite to rush them into a wedding.  (Who says a wedding defines HEA anyway?)  Because this is the first book in a series, readers will see these two again and can follow them through the process a little more naturally than if I just gave them the requisite epilogue ending.

So what do you think?  Is a traditional HEA necessary for you to enjoy a romance?  What about epilogues? 

More importantly, what’s the third book to the left on your keeper shelf?

I can’t wait to type “the end” so I can cuddle up with St. Raven!

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