From reader e-mail: Would you explain why you don't write HEA endings for your Darkyn books?
I started reading romances when I was a kid. I found my first at the library, from which I tore out the last page order form and used my babysitting money (Mom kindly wrote a check) to order two more. All three novels ended with the heroine and hero married, or two seconds from getting married. Every other romance I read after that trio ended with the same HEA (Happily Ever After.)
I loved the books, but I thought the endings were boring. I knew that the couple didn't go into suspended animation after the last page. I wanted to know what happened after the insanely expensive wedding and exotic honeymoon. But I quickly discovered that one novel was all I was going to get, no matter what romance author I read, because the HEA was like the money shot in a porn flick; it was there whether it was appropriate or not because it was expected. HEA also meant NMS (No More Story.)
I think that was the first sign that I was destined to be a series writer.
All of my published traditional romances do have HEAs, and you can thank my romance editors for that. But writing a SF series, however, allowed me explore an intense, sometimes romantic relationship between two very complicated characters, whose story simply couldn't be told in one novel. To date, I've written seven novels developing Cherijo and Reever's relationship while completely avoiding the HEA (and have gotten away with it, too; not one reader has ever complained about that aspect of the story.)
What I learned from writing around the HEA in the StarDoc novels gave me a new perspective on writing romance. I didn't need to put in the money shot at all. Instead of the story-killing Happily Ever After, I could explore more of the relationship in the next book. And that's how I ended up writing Hopefully Ever Afters.
Today I'm giving away a complete set of my Darkyn novels, all of which have a Hopefully Ever After ending (you have been warned.) If you'd like a chance to win the set, in comments to this post name a book whose ending you really enjoyed, whatever type ending it was, by midnight EST on Friday, June 30, 2007 (or if you can't think of one, just throw your name into the hat.) I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates, and send the winner signed copies of If Angels Burn, Private Demon, Dark Need and Night Lost, along with a sneak preview of Evermore. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.