By Jamie Hill
"And they all lived happily ever after." I totally concur. I'm a nut for Disney movies, Hallmark movies, Lifetime movies...wherever I can find them, as long as they have a HEA (happily ever after) ending.
To sit through a movie for hours and have it end unsatisfactorily is a bummer for me. I want to see the couple get together in the end (if not sooner.) The bad guy should get his comeuppance, the mystery should be solved. Come on, people, don't leave me hanging. Those movies that end suddenly with a black screen and I have to ask my husband what the hell just happened... No thanks.
As a reader and lover of romance, of course I want the books I read to end HEA. When I started writing, before I knew many publishers wanted HEA, I wrote it anyway. It just felt right. First and foremost, I had to write what I liked to read.
(The big exception is when I write horror. Horror, I like to leave unsettled, hanging so you're wondering... huh? But that's a whole 'nother animal.) Romance, to me, needs HEA.
I don't mind HFN, though these acronyms are getting a little tedious. *LOL* HFN, or happy for now, is sometimes necessary. When I'm writing a short story that takes place over a matter of hours, it's not always feasible for the characters to fall in love. We settle for HFN, and know that they're going to give it their best shot and see what happens. Lots of movies end that way. We don't know for sure what's going to happen with the couple, but they're going to have fun trying to make it work for a while, anyway.
Two of my favorite movies have the best HEA endings. In An Officer and a Gentleman, when Richard Gere walks through the paper factory with the theme song pounding in the background, my heart melts. "Way to go, Paula! Way to go!"
In Pretty Woman, when Richard Gere (do you sense a theme?) climbs the fire escape to 'rescue' Julia Roberts, and she rescues him right back...sob. I could watch those endings over and over again.
My Blame Game series ends happily ever after. In fact, I follow the main couple's family for twenty years, and in the epilogue everyone gets their own HEA. If you like romantic happy endings as much as I do, I hope you check the series out!