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The Ever Elusive Happily Ever After...

I'll start of by stating, this wasn't going to be my original post. You see, I'm new to TEB. In fact, I'm new to publishing in general. My debut novel isn't due out till November, so excuse the smudges of green on the page. But like any crazed newbie, I wanted to jump right in and get my hands dirty. I just wasn't sure what to talk about. I mean, you can only promo so much, and no one wants to hear about a book that isn't out for five more months. Then a friend suggested I spend some of the time telling you about myself... kind of a courting of sorts. And my intentions were to do so, until an incident last night prompted me to shift gears slightly.

But I'll start off with quick introduction. My name is Kris Norris, and if you go searching through the author profiles, you won't bring up much more than a picture and a bio. I've currently got four novels due out between November and January, with a couple more hopefuls at the mercy of my editors :D In the coming months I'll tell you a bit more about myself, most likely through tales of my life before writing centred my focus. I've had a few interesting jobs. Did you know I spent some time in the military? Something I usually only chat about after that initial rush of alcoholic bliss. Or that I'm a commercial helicopter pilot? That I'm obsessive about running with my dog, I'm addicted to Diet Coke and that I can't stand people who drive 20 km under the posted speed limit? Or that... okay I'm stopping, promise, but all of these things tell you a lot about who I am, and why I write the kind of characters I do. But for today, I'd like to chat about the all encompassing, if not ever elusive, "Happily Ever After."

I've been thinking about why we love reading romances, erotic ones at that. Is it just a way to escape reality? Is it for the hot, hunky men we all wish hid in our beds, waiting for us to pounce whenever the feeling strikes us? Is it just for the sex? I suppose these are some of the reasons we flip pages, whether in our hands or on our computers. But for me, I think the ultimate factor is knowing that, no matter what trials the characters face, there'll be a happy, satisfying ending. Confetti tossing, bird singing, praise the Lord kind of celebration we've all come to love. After all, Happily Ever Afters are one of the prime defining attributes of a romance novel. But why, when we're willing to dispel all other aspects of rational thought, do we still insist, if not desire, this seemingly impossible feat beyond every thing else?

Here's where my personal experience plays in.

The other night a good friend had a rather unpleasant encounter with her soon to be ex. I won't go into details, but I'm sure you can picture it... bitter feelings, heated words, a case of beer, the hollow reflection of the squad car lights... Anyway, it seems her life was as far away from Happily Ever After as one could get. And she's not alone. I'm sure we all have friends and family swimming against the chaos, doing their best to claw their way back to some semblance of happiness. Heck, many of them don't even get their fair share of Happy for Now moments. So I wondered, am I simply sprouting blatant propaganda when I leave my characters in emotional bliss? Is the concept of Happily Ever After actually the last in a long line of urban legends yet to be dismissed on an episode of Myth Busters?

It took some time, and a whole lot of soul searching, to realize, the answer was — NO. Because Happily Ever After isn't a place you go to. It's not a magical land where you wave your wand and all of life's turmoils vanish like the mist with the morning sun. Happily Ever After is a state of mind. One we all have, but sometimes forget. It's the way you sigh at a beautiful sunrise... the gleam in your child's eye when they tell you you're the greatest mom ever, and actually mean it!... it's stopping to hold the door open and seeing appreciation in that person's eyes, or calling your parents just to chat. It's all the little things we do each and every day and rarely notice. But since we seldom delve into these more mundane matters in our books, we make it seem like a grand illusion our characters visit once their story ends and not the day to day moments that make up a life. It's almost as if they're Dorothy in OZ, clicking their heals together chanting, "I will be happy," three times.

Alas, real life isn't quite so simple. And while I love having a book "take me away", I think the best part is the warm fuzzy feeling at the end you carry around with you. The one that makes you smile when the milk lands on the floor or the dog eats your new leather shoes. I've come to realize Happily Ever After is just another way of saying, they're making the most of every moment.

So go ahead. Get lost in a great book. Smile at the first kiss, squirm during the love scenes and sigh when the hero whisks the heroine away in that magical final chapter. Take that feeling with you and remember these words... my favourite from a not so well known movie...

In the end, it's not whether they lived Happily Ever After that matters... but the fact that they lived.

Here's to making your own Happily Ever After.

And know, for me, it's keeping a few simple rules:

It's five o'clock somewhere

Chocolate and tape fix almost every thing, and

Let the crazy out slow.

Cheers to all,

Kris Norris

Romancing life... one adventure at a time.


Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Kris,

First of all, welcome to TEB and to the Hot Spot! You're gonna like it here, I guarantee!

I enjoyed your post, which echoes some of my own thoughts. Isn't it dishonest to be selling HEA when it's just a fantasy? The point you make, that I want to take away and hold, is that it's the "happy" that counts. The real world time frame can be long or short, but if we pay attention, the emotion is timeless.

Looking forward to reading your work.


Kris Norris said...

Hi Lisabet,

Thanks for your comment. I too struggle with the all encompassing HEA. But after all that floats in and out of our life, I do think it's the small moments that are the key to our Happily Ever After. And if we can just learn to live in the moment, it might not be such an unattainable quest...
Thanks for the warm welcome.