That's my sig line, so it should come as no suprise where I stand on this topic. Which, oddly enough, makes this blog even harder to write. Part of me just wants to type DUH in really big letters and be done with it.
Am I fostering a set of false ideas that cloud the mind and leave reality lacking? Puh-lease. I give my readers more credit than that. Of course HEA doesn't really mean a couple will be happy for every day of their lives. I don't know of anyone who really believes that. Fiction is just that--fiction. I like mine escapist and pleasant. If you want dismembered body parts, by all means go read it. But I want my books to leave me at a happy place. The bill collectors can show up tomorrow, or the river can flood, or the king can call his vassals off to war. Whatever. At the time I leave that book, I want everything hunky-dory. This is true, by the way, whether I'm writing a book or reading one. I like the mental vacation I get with romance, and the sense, when I put a book down, that sometimes, just sometimes, the good parts make the bad parts worth the trip.
So what makes a happy-ever-after in Cindy's world? Love, committment, marriage? Yeah, any and all of those are good. Is that simplistic and idealistic? Again, DUH. Life is complicated. So is good fiction. Life has good and bad and everything in between. I've been happily married for 23 years to a man who proposed less than six weeks after we'd started dating. We were young, crazy, and we knew we wanted to be together. It hasn't always been roses, but at the end of the day, I snuggle into arms that fit, and I honestly have to believe that sometimes you get lucky. Amid all the stress that twenty years and two kids and myriad careers have brought, I honest-to-god wouldn't trade any of it, if it meant I couldn't be with him. Even when we're fighting over stupid stuff. As someone said earlier this week, I want to know at the end of the story, that whatever else life throws at them, they're going to face it together.
And that is a Happy-Ever-After I can really believe in.