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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Does Your Hero Deserve a 'Happily-Ever-After'?

Today we’re delighted to have Dorchester author Caroline Fyffe with us. As an equine photographer, Caroline has worked throughout the United States and Germany. Long days spent in the horseshow arena have given her plenty of opportunity to dream up stories filled with love, joy, and sorrow. Her feisty heroines and hot-blooded heroes will keep you reading into the night. Caroline’s love for horses and the Old West inspired her debut novel, Where the Wind Blows, which won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart Award under the title Chasing Jessie.

Does your hero deserve a ‘happily ever after’?

We write romance. And, in romance, there’s always a happy ending. Right? That’s one of the criteria of the genre. Whether you write historicals as I do, or contemporary, paranormal or suspense, the satisfying ending for your two main characters is a must. One that’s foreshadowed throughout the twisting, turning plot of the story. A happily ever after, we call it. Riding off into the sunset. Falling into each other’s arms. You know what I mean. It’s the goal both protagonists have been struggling to attain, even if they didn’t know it!

But, here’s my question: Even though we all know he’s going to get one in the end (and we wouldn’t want it any other way), does your hero actually deserve such a blessing? My hero, Chase Logan, even the upright, soft-spoken man that he is, keeps something hidden, something that’s very important to the heroine. He has his reasons, of course, but does that make it right? The proverbial lie of omission.

Tell me about your hero and why he deserves the good fortune coming his way. What would happen to romance if the happily-ever-after disappeared? What was the very best happily-ever-after you’ve ever read?

To celebrate the coming release of my debut novel, Where the Wind Blows, I'm giving away two advance copies to two lucky people who comment. Also, the middle of next month will kickoff my Under a Western Sky Contest with a grand prize of a night’s stay in a bunkhouse (with an outdoor shower and a bed as big as Montana!). So be sure to check out my website for details. Come on, it’ll be fun—all horsin’ around aside.

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At 8:58 AM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

What a great question, Caroline! I never really thought about it before, but I do try to make sure my heroes' deserve the HEA they get.

Marcus courts and marries Addy because he truly believes she was in love with his brother and he truly believes he caused his brother's death. Everything he does he does to try and atone for a death that was never his fault.

Tristan has taken care of his family and estates since he was 12. His fragile wife bans him from her bed once their daughter is born and proceeds to make the daughter afraid of him. The wife is murdered and everyone blames Tristan. He is honorable to a fault, takes care of his family, tries to find out who murdered his wife and falls in love with his daughter's governess.

The best HEA I've ever read is the one at the end of Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Caroline said...

Thank you, Theresa and Wet Noodle for having me! I'm VERY excited to be here today....~~~<3

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Caroline said...

Louisa, good morning! Thanks for coming by and saying hello. Marcus and Tristan both sound like such honorable men. My goodness, they are the kind every woman wants. But, for some reason, I especially feel for Tristan—such heartbreak! Not only being shunned by his wife but having his daughter turned against him. So unfair. See, I don’t really even know Tristan yet and I’m happy that he finds a beautiful, (I’m sure she’s beautiful) new love!

Thanks for your comment!


I haven’t read Flower of the Storm, by Laura Kinsale but it’s one to look for.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

Oh, by all means, the hero has to deserve the HEA. Heck, in my books, I make them earn the sex!

Randy, the hero of both Finding Sarah and Hidden Fire, hasn't been able to see life beyond his job until he meets Sarah. Actually, I think that basic theme -- one of becoming complete -- runs through all my novels. These heroes are willing to risk so much for their jobs, but haven't realized they've still got empty spots that only love can fill.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Welcome, Caroline! What fun it is to have you visit today!

Louisa, your Marcus sounds like the perfect kind of hero.

I haven't read any Laura Kinsale books but I've heard great things.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Wow, Terry, Randy gets to be a hero in TWO books! Intersting about "needing to be complete" being the running theme in your books. My heroes usually have abandonment issues it seems, but now that I think about it, they're also trying to fill a hole inside of them.

Caroline what's your favorite happily ever after of all time?

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Cheryl Brooks said...

I think my heroes deserve their HEA if only because their lives have basically sucked up until they meet their heroines. Or it could just be because they're sweet, handsome, succulent, delicious, incredibly sexy, and infinitely lovable. Then again, maybe it's the way they purr...

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

Theresa -- Hidden Fire is a 'true' sequel to Finding Sarah. Both Randy and Sarah return as h/h. It was a fun challenge, because they'd had what appeared to be their HEA, but three months later, things were getting rocky for them, and I got to play with them a second time.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Caroline said...

Wow, looks what happens when I step away for a moment! Fun!!

Hi Terry, thanks for coming by. I LOVE the idea of the hero earning his HEA. No free lunch here, or in your books –LOL! And, as it should be.
And, on the idea of becoming complete…so many people today are one sided. A balance creates happiness, I think anyway.

Cheryl, hi gal, I totally agree--Sweet, handsome, succulent, delicious, incredibly sexy, lovable and purring heroes most definitely deserve a HEA. I can’t argue that. Who would???

And Theereas—I’ll get back to you on my most HEA ending. It’ll take a moment to get it written—it’s just that good!

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Caroline said...

My favorite HEA ending is from a book 14 years old. When Midnight Comes, by Robin Burcell. This was Robins only foray into romance. Since then she’s gone on to publish many cop-mystery books, totally natural since she herself works for the police department.
What I liked about the ending was not only that modern day Kendra ends up staying with her true love, Brice, in the 19th century. It was all the little pieces that made it unique. In a nutshell, Kendra goes back in time. At one point she goes forward to her present time but needs to get back to the past to help Brice solve some murder mystery. To get help from her friend Frankie she confides that she has been to the past and must get back. Frankie is skeptical but helps her. Kendra tells her that if all goes as planned she will leave a clue in the present day museum that is now the home of the fmaily in the past she is staying with. Kendra then goes back in time and stays there.
In the epilogue, the next day or so Frankie goes to said museum and signs in the log. It’s just like Kendra described it. The curator looks at her name as hurries off. Out comes a descendent to the man Kendra had fallen in love with. He says they have been waiting for hundreds of years for her to come. It was passed down about six, I think, generations to be on the lookout for this said person. He then takes Frankie on a tour. There over the mantel is a portrait of his ancestors, one of which is Kendra!!
I know I’m leaving out a lot of the cool connecting clues. But, it was an ending I thought about long after the book was finished. And look, I’m still talking about it fourteen years later….

Okay, Theresa, what's yours?

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Katherine Allred said...

I think the happily ever after should be a choice, a concious decision on the part of both hero/heroine that they're going to love and live with the other, warts and all. If we waited for someone who "deserved" to live HEA, the human race would die out. LOL. Why make our characters any less human than the rest of us? Faults add layers and depth to any character, and makes us more able to identify with them. Where's the in perfection?

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Katherine Allred said...

That should have said "where's the FUN in perfection." I think Blogger ate the fun part.

My fav HEA? After the Night by Linda Howard. It's the only book I've ever read where I literally didn't know how the H/H were going to resolve all their differences.

At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Sandy DeTaranto said...

Great blog and very interesting questions, Caroline. Why our heros deserve a happy ending isn't something I can put my finger on. We just fall in love with them and want things to work out in their favor :-).

As for the best HEA I've ever read...hum...I'm going to reserve judgement on that until I get a look at this new book that's coming out soon titled WHERE THE WIND BLOWS :-D.


At 12:05 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Hi Kathy,

That's where Chase, my hero comes in. He's wounded pretty deeply--as we all are actually. And he does the best with what he has, which is all any of us can do. As Theresa said most all her heroes are flawed from abandonment issues. I think the wounds only make us love our men more. Good point.

Besides one of your books, do you have a favorite HEA?

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Awww, Sandy, you know how to make a shaky, debut author feel loved. The thought of people actually reading my story is scary. I will try not to disappoint!

Thanks so much for coming by and participating in the discussion.


At 12:22 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Oh, that's funny Katherine. Good point! So everyone gets to choose whether they get their happy ending...a choice they need to make for themselves. Love it!

Okay, Caroline. Good question. Robin's book sounds FAB! I LOVED the ending in Bridget's Diary...but that's cheating because I'm talking about the movie. I LOVED that ending!!!

Let's see. I LOVED the ending in Gone with the Wind even though he left her. But I loved that he left because he needed to!

Okay, must think some more about this...

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Hi Caroline! Yes, I definitely make all my heroes earn their HEA...some have to work harder than others for it, LOL, but my heroines whip 'em into shape by the end:-) And thus continues the fun of hero torment!

Fave HEA is tough, because I love them all...though I really do love Darcy and Lizzie's ending in Pride & Prejudice! Sooooo satisfying.

So excited for your book to come out!

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

After the Night by Linda Howard. Gosh, I haven't read any of her books either and I think both of the books mentioned here today are on the top 100 romance novels (I think I saw that list on AAR)...

So many books, so little time!!! I promised myself I would read at least 2 books a month. I'm falling behind.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Kendra—Hi my WIP partner!

You’re a jewel. You just gave me a new blog topic (we all know they are getting harder and harder to think of) Hero Torment—in a good way, of course. Love it!

Yes, Pride & Prejudice – wonderful—that’s a good vote. Thanks for your excitement. It’s getting really hard to fall asleep. By the time July 28th rolls around I’m going to be a basket case. BTW: Love your blog. You have really interesting things EVERY day. How do you do that?

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Right now I'm reading A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman. It's a BIG book. I got it because there is a lot of hype over it, but its 475 pages made me shiver. That's a lot of reading!!

Well, I can't put it down. I’m now thankful for its length and it helps with the insomnia. Thank goodness she has two others in the series.

I'm loving it!

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a writer's favorite HEA ending is always going to be his or her own, since we all put the most important parts of ourselves in our work.

My fav so far is my hero who has repented for never believing in true love, and sacrifices his own happiness to make sure the lovers he seperated get back together.

I'm a sucker for martyrs, I guess.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Anonymous, you make a good point. We all love "our" hero the best, or else we wouldn't write them.

In your ending your hero displays true love in doing what is best for the beloved, regardless how it shapes his destiny. Can we read his story? Does he ever find another to love?

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Barbara Monajem said...

The heroes I write always deserve their HEA, but in one of my favorite happy endings written by someone else, the hero doesn't really deserve it -- at least not by today's standards. He's 17th C. and has typical male views... Really annoying ones, sometimes! But he does all sorts of good stuff, including saving the heroine's life, and by the standards of the day he's a good guy. The heroine, although feisty and ahead of her time, accepts him and his flaws, so I do, too.

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Sally said...

Hi Caroline,

I can’t wait to read your first book, Where the Wind Blows!

Good luck!


At 1:25 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Our first admitted HEA hero who doesn’t deserve his HEA! Way to go, Barbara. LOL Good thing his heroine accepted him and his flaws, because it doesn’t sound like anyone else would. What was it that made you come to this conclusion?

Hi Sally, thanks for stopping by and saying hello and for the good wishes....

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Lesli said...

Sorry, Martyr Fan is me, Lesli Muir Lytle.

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Lesli said...

Actually, Caroline, he allows the woman he loves to leave him, to take his sister and her lover (whom he wrongly seperated) to be together in the future. It's my time travel, Going Back For Romeo. And you won't see if he gets his own HEA until the story is in print, baby. But hopefully soon.

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

I know what you mean, a lot of the older romances I don't know if a modern woman would believe the hero(es) deserve a happy ending. A modern woman reading Kathleen Woodiwiss might not believe Captain Brandon Birmingham "deserves" his happily ever after. But that's another blog entirely. We've come a long way!

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Leslie--Oh, I get it now. BUT—he does go back for her, his love??? Right? Of course he does. If not, I'm sad for her and him. The only HEA goes to the sister--you know how siblings can be. Come on, we must know.

Can't wait to read the whole thing!

Thanks for coming by....

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

You have to do a blog on Captain Brandon Birmingham!! That would be soooo much fun. That was my first romance!! And, I'm sure, a lot of other reader's and writer's. Men were REALLY men back then! Ha!


At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Lesli said...

Oh, come on, Caroline. Why on earth would anyone need to read a book if they knew the ending?

I promise, two minutes after I sign the deal, my squeal will be heard all the way to your house.

And I'm so surprised to hear I wasn't the only one whose first love was the Captain. It took me years to discover which book it was--from when I read it at 13--and read it again. I can't tell you how much closure I found, or how many skewed memories I straightened out.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

I’ll be waiting to hear that squeal, and will celebrate with great happiness.
I hope this book has humor because no one, and I mean no one, has funnier
responses to online chat than you.

I’m first in line to buy Going Back For Romeo!

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

That's a great title, Lesli!

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Kayla Westra said...

Hi Caroline! I immediately thought of heroes in terms of Greek mythology, one of the courses I teach, and in that case, they often DON'T get a happy ending, even though they do become the "master of both worlds."

But that's why I like romances - both the hero and the heroine get a happily ever after, and though life won't be perfect, we caqn see a couple who have determination to make it work, even in tough times, even with the baggage they carry.

Kayla Westra

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Judy said...

Like Maria, in Sound of Music, they must have done something good. My heroes are all innately, however imperfect, good. Maybe it isn't so much what HE deserves as what SHE deserves. The one who "dragged" me back into romance (after many years away) was Diane's The Mysterious Miss M. After everything that had happened to Maddy, the heroine, she deserved a man who would respect her, honor her, protect her, and love her no matter what. Fortunately, Devon learns to recognize what matters most, opens his heart, and chooses love. Anne Gracie's The Perfect Rake reveals a hero who is a known rake and thereby considered essentially worthless, until it came to the sticking point. Gideon protects Prudence, in so many different ways. Or there is the hero willing to sacrifice himself (frequently it is his cherished reputation) for the heroine. In Elizabeth Rolls' A Compromised Lady, Richard does this for Thea. All of them are basically good men. It seems that's how secondary characters get their own stories, such as Lord Braybrook, from Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride. He played the part of a good friend to the heroes in both Compromised Lady and His Lady Mistress. Readers wanted to know if he would end up with his own HEA. As Kayla points out, heroes don't always get happy endings. In fact, the very definition of a hero in the mythologies generally means one who gives all. In romance, we allow ourselves to imagine the happy ending for both the hero and the heroine. What you wish for one, you wish for the other because they are irrevocably intertwined or it is no longer a romance but another story all together.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Kayla, hi there! Those poor Greeks. I feel sorry for them. They sacrifice love for power. Your class, on the other hand, sounds like fun. What a neat thing to teach.

The more baggage our hero’s have them more endearing to our heroines and to us they become.

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Judy, you’ve made a good point. We really want to see our heroines safe, contented—and in LOVE. After all the chaos they weather through a story it would be disappointing if they road off into the sunset with a womanizing, foul mouth, brutalizer. Ahhh, not good.
I adore Maria from SOM. She is a favorite and so is Captain. I howl every time I see the scene where she’s addressing him sharply and begging him to show more interest in the children and he slips and calls her captain. Too funny.

Thanks for your comment!

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Desert Survivor said...

I like Katherine's comment about the hero and heroine having to choose a HEA--everyone has to do the best with what they're given. I really like romances where they do look at the bright side, even if they haven't been dealt the cards they wanted.

I think a HEA is important in romance--but it doesn't necessarily have to happen in just one book--it might take two or three to get there.

Thanks for the blog post, Caroline!! I'm very curious about what your hero's secret is!

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Hi Desert Survivor!
I can't believe that 200 foot hole you climbed down. Anyone wanting some chills go here
and look under Monday! This gal is a doer!

I also like it when it takes more than one book to get the HEA=--But it has to be hinted at at the end of the first.

Thanks for coming over to the Wet Noodle Posse!

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Barbara Monajem said...

Caroline said: Good thing his heroine accepted him and his flaws, because it doesn’t sound like anyone else would. What was it that made you come to this conclusion?

She was in love with him (and he with her). He meant well, and whatever he did that was just too old-school male was entirely according to his understanding (or lack of it, when it came to the female POV).

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Barbara, in other words, she intelligently recognized the hero’s actions as well meant based on the year he was living--not hers. I salute your heroine for being astute enough to see and love her hero for what he was...


At 2:15 PM, Blogger robynl said...

I am all for the HEA of the hero/heroine. I agree with others that they must work for it. It isn't just handed to one but with tears/sweat put into it it happens.

I love the book title Where the Wind Blows.


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