Friday, September 25, 2020

Happy Ever After

by Pam Hillman

Storyteller. Troubadour. Oral history. Author.

As my day to blog approached, I wanted to share something inspiring and up lifting. Something to make us all feel good about our chosen profession, and to take us away from the day-to-day stress that's permeated so much of our lives of late.

Even in the toughest times, we have the best "job" in the world, don't we? We can escape from our very real daily trials and immerse ourselves in a fictional world where we're completely in control of the story. Sure, I know we talk about how our characters sometimes take over the story, but in the end, we do have control. Mostly. :)

Sometimes we just need to go back to the reason we started writing in the first place. Because we love story. We love creating the characters, the plot, figuring out all the little things that will take our protagonist through a journey where readers close the book with a happy sigh and believe that everything is going to be all right for her from here to eternity.

I'm thinking about all the books I've read over the years and those I've written, and even though I know in real life that there are going to be trials and tribulations, heartache and traumatic experiences, I've never had any problem closing a book with a happy and contended sigh that two characters I've fallen in love with have found their happy-ever-after. I know it's unrealistic to think life's going to be perfect from there on out for them, but for some reason, I'm always able to suspend disbelief and leave those characters in that perfect place of wedded (or soon-to-be) bliss. Even better is when there's an epilogue that ties things up in a sweet, pretty little bow.

The only time that changes is if those main characters become secondary characters in a series and we get to see them in a few months or years, having children or dealing with other issues in their lives.

Otherwise, they just become frozen in time.

I suppose I have the heart of a romantic, so books and movies that end horribly drive me insane. I can appreciate an author or director taking an unpopular (to me) route, but I don't have to like it. I can also understand when a book or movie is based on a true story. But, again, I don't have to like it, or even spend my time reading/watching it. 

Just recently, I started watching a docu-drama about Lady Jane Grey, but lost interest after I read what happened to the real Lady Jane. I never finished the movie. I doubt I will. Griffin and Phoenix. Same. 

I won't offend fans of certain famous tragic works, but there are several that I have never read or watched the movie versions of because I just don't care for tragic love stories. I chose not to read one such famous work when I was about 13. I remember to this day where I was (the school library) when I realized how it ended and I put it back on the shelf. Never read it, and don't have a desire to to this day over 40 years later.

I can probably count on one hand the tragic "love" stories/movies that I've read/watched from the beginning to the end. That's not to say that there aren't extremely sad situations in the books I read and write. A favorite book that I read many years ago had a little boy (the heroine's nephew) to lose his life. I should have seen it coming. The author had planted many, many clues to what was coming, but I was so wrapped up in the sweet love story unfolding that the tragedy hit me like ton of bricks, and I just sobbed and sobbed. So I'm not saying that I prefer all my reading material to be unrealistic where no one dies and no one gets sick and no one suffers. If you've read any of my work, you'll know that's not the case.

But for my hero and heroine, after I've put them through the wringer, through many twists and turns, squeezed them out and hung them out to dry, then I want them to be happy. 

Life's too short and there's too much sadness and loss in real life for me to freeze a tragic fictional love story in my mind. Instead, give me a happy-ever-after story, and that makes me happy-ever-after.

Since today is about happy ever after, I'd love for you to share a favorite feel-good book that you read over and over. Kudos if it's a Seeker novel. :) Then, spend the rest of the day or the weekend just enjoying a good story!

CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of.


  1. Yes!! This has been a really hard year for the world and for my family and I told anyone who might recommend a book or movie to me that I don't want it if it has a sad ending. I can only take so much and fiction is absolutely an escape for me. Give me a sweet ending and I'm a happy camper :) Thanks for an uplifting blog post, Pam!

    1. Here, here, Glynis! I should have asked for recommendations. I think I'll add that now.

      Seeker books rank high on my list and we can't go wrong with a comedy with cowboys by Mary Connealy. :)

  2. I really dislike unhappy endings. I suppose an exception would be someone dying for a tremendous good. Bruce Willis dying in the end of Armageddon for example. But generally...nope. Stop is. Life has enough unhappy endings. I don't need it in fiction.

    1. Yep. Me, too. Occasionally, I'll watch a movie that I know ends with one of the main characters dying, but I KNOW it going in. I think I watched Titanic finally ... years after it came out, but I was prepared and knew I couldn't focus on the actual love story as my focal point for enjoyment of the story.

      Otherwise, I would have been sorely disappointed and felt that my time was wasted.

      As a teen and young adult, I read the end of a book and if I didn't like it, I put the book back on the shelf. I know. I'm weird. lol I DO try to do better these days, and not do that because it drives so many others crazy! But seriously, it doesn't ruin a book/movie for me if I know "loosely" how it ends. But a horrible, unexpected, cry-my-eyes-out, I-can't-believe-they-did-that ending ruins it for me. lol

  3. Amen to happily ever after! We definitely need more of that in life.

  4. I will read tragic stories if they are well written, but I do enjoy a happy ending!

  5. I have braved a few, but I knew going in what was going to happen to the main protag. And, as a general rule, these were not romance. If it's a romance, then I want the happy ending. :)

  6. I have to have a happily-ever-after ending, too! For one thing, our story as God has written it has a happy ending - restoration and a forever HEA (at least for believers, those He has redeemed.) And second, we have enough reality in our day-to-day lives - who wants more of it?

    I know some people say that's unrealistic and Pollyannaish, but I say "what's wrong with that?"

    My favorite HEA ending...hmmm...there are so many good ones... Right now I'm reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. That's the happiest ending of all, isn't it? The land of Oz is restored with evil vanquished, the Scarecrow gets his brains, the Tin Woodman his heart, the Cowardly Lion his courage, and Dorothy, Toto, and the Wizard all get to go home. I know Baum wrote it as a fantasy, but I've been reading allegory into it all the way through. :-)

    1. The Wizard of Oz would be a good one to raise your spirits. Good choice!


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