After the HEA

I’ve had many readers contact me, letting me know they’d love to read sequels for some of my books. I’m flattered by this sentiment. It’s such a joy to know people respond to one’s characters and want to live in their worlds a while longer.

It makes me wonder if it’s worthwhile to continue a saga that has already reached a “happily ever after.” In other words, what happens after the all-important HEA and does that post-HEA story deserve a book?

I have to be honest. I don’t think so. For me, it’s enough to know those characters are committed to one another. I don’t need to witness their wedding or watch them have children, unless it’s important to the story arc and character development. In my opinion, the main conflict of any romance is getting those main characters together. Once they’re together and have admitted love, do we really need to see their day-to-day life afterward? No.

I know it’s all the rage now to make trilogies of stories that can resolve in one book. That’s just not my style and I think my faithful readers appreciate that I know when to keep things short and sweet. Not that every trilogy is gratuitous, but I’ve certainly read a few that are. Unless that couple faces continued threats and conflicts, what more do we really need to know?

Let’s face it. What really happens after the HEA? Real life sets in and most of us don’t care to read about real life. We live it.

Even still, in the interest of fun, I’ve made a few guesses at what “real life” would look like for some of my couples.

fortheloveofagod

Remember Eryx and Maia from For the Love of a God? Well, they are still happy and living in Toronto. Maia continues working at her beloved museum and Eryx is editing volumes of Greek history for a publisher. After all, he was there when it all happened. They still love each other madly but every once in a while, Eryx complains about having to fish long strands of dark hair out of the shower drain. When he mentions it, Maia reminds him she has to put up with all the mortal women giving him looks of longing on a constant basis. Eryx usually shuts up after that.

predatorsserenade

Oh, and Gioia and Soren from Predator’s Serenade? Gioia no longer works as an office manager. After meeting Soren, she decided to take on the massive job of scheduling his musical appearances and gigs. She calls herself his “manager.” Soren rolls his eyes and says it’s the role she was born to play because she’s so bossy. She follows him from gig to gig and when his rowdy fans get a little too close, Gioia lets out ursine growls. Being a bear shifter has its perks.

upinflames

And what about Shane and Jules from Up In Flames? Well, like all my couples they are still exceedingly happy. Shane is still captain of the local fire squad and helps Jules in running her B&B. They’ve become quite successful. Jules says the downside is she has to change other people’s sheets on a regular basis and she is glad those details never made it into the book.

See? It’s fun to think about what our favorite characters might be doing after their HEA’s, but is it worth a new book? I don’t think so. All we really need to know is these couples are together, happy and committed. The rest is best left to the imagination.

12 thoughts on “After the HEA

  1. I admit I like hearing more about couples I liked reading about. But I have to agree that many don’t really warrant another full book of their own. Some might warrant a short story afterwards, depending on their circumstances. Or catching glimpses of them in later books of a series as with your Gemini Island books where the focus is on a new couple but we still get to visit with our old friends as well.

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    • Thanks Michelle. I feel the same way. I don’t mind showing glimpses, as I do in that series, but I’ve always found when a book ends, an emotional door closes. I still love the couple, but the writer in me needs to move on. 🙂

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  2. This is so true. I’ve been contacted by readers to continue stories and I’ve found the best way is to write a short scene in my newsletters. A full story gets into issues best left to mysteries and thrillers to keep it interesting. 🙂

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  3. LOL I love your follow ups. You’re right, I don’t want to know about changing dirty sheets. Though, I think it might be funny to see a bear chasing some overzealous teens away. Okay… that may be me just wanting to torture some teens.

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  4. Great blog post, Rosanna. Since I write in series form (as do you!), it is always easy to have “appearances” by happy couples from previous books. So, after Eye of the Storm, Stormy Weather Baby, a novella, was the perfect way to see Ren and Keely’s baby being born while the traitor tried to eliminate her and introduce Fee who will be Trey Maddox’s sweetie in Book 5. And that is, to my mind, the perfect way to keep my readers up on all the scoop about characters from previous books.

    Now, let’s take another approach, and one that is done well, and for a long, long time — JD Robb and Eve and Roarke. I just finished the most recent in Death book and loved it (Obsession in Death). But these are mysteries and like the old Nick and Nora mysteries, the genre allows us to see a continuing couple with all their ups and downs. The fact that the series has strong secondary characters who have lives we also like to revisit helps the series stay fresh. I’m still waiting for Eve to get pregnant, though, which I think will be near the end of whatever huge ass story arc Nora has for this series.

    Okay there’s my two cents. Hugs.

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    • Thanks Moni. Yes, we do have a similar approach to character “cameos” in our series, don’t we? Great minds! LOL Yes, I think with mysteries there is more flexibility to expand on these relationships…after all, it’s constant conflict, isn’t it? You can really draw out the “Will they? Won’t they?” dynamic. Loved hearing your two cents!

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