A common complaint I hear from women who do not read romance: life never works out that way. Sadly, life does not work out with a happy ending for some people. And yet, it does for many others. I know romance writers who are not enjoying a happy ever after with the man they married first. Some are divorced or widowed. Some have never married. Some are on their second, or third, or fourth marriage. So why do we write about the Happy Ending?
I am an optimist by nature. I'll admit that I enjoy the occasional thriller and, when the mood hits, a dark and unhappy tale. Mostly, though, I like my stories upbeat and humorous, where everyone gets their just desserts in the end. A good romantic book or movie gives me that. When I transitioned from writing straight romance to women's fiction, the heavy romantic story line was the first thing I dropped. But romance still figured in the stories. More strongly in each one, as a matter of fact. The hardest book I tried to write - and still haven't managed to finish - featured a married couple with no romance thread at all. Sorry to all us married people, but after a couple decades of marriage, romance isn't on top of the agenda. It wasn't for this couple and you see what happened to them - nothing!
But even if real-life romance doesn't stay front and center decade after decade, we still enjoy it. I recently planned a romantic dinner with my husband on a rare night when we were without children. The waiter figured, wrongly, it must be our anniversary. Which made me realize that we only expect romance a couple of times a year, like on an anniversary or St. Valentine's Day. Aren't we selling ourselves short? Shouldn't we expect romance to surprise us any old time, even if we're in a committed relationship? Couldn't any day be as romantic as Valentine's Day? And if we expected more romance - planned for it, even - might we not find our lives a little sweeter, a bit happier or, at the very least, different?
What do you think? Is romance a requirement or is it just occasional icing on the cake of your life? And if you haven't found your Happy Ending, do you expect to someday?
And speaking of happy endings, I'll select a lucky winner commentor to receive an autographed copy of Sabrina Jeffries' June 2007 release "Beware a Scot's Revenge". Happy commenting and be sure to check back to see if you won!