About Gwenan Haines
I live in an old Cape house with my daughter, too many books, and a red-and-white Siberian husky born on Halloween. After working in Washington, D.C. for several years and traveling to Russia, Europe and Pakistan, I moved back to New England. I’m the author of the romantic suspense novel Vertigo, which is available as an E-book from Amazon Encore and in paperback from Wild Rose Press. Collateral Risk, the follow-up novel to Collateral Damage (which features Dalton’s boss Nick Doyle and scientist Mia Lindgren), is forthcoming from Wild Rose Press. When I’m not working on fiction, I write poetry, teach literature and am still trying to learn how to cook.
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by Gwenan Haines
HEAs and HFNs – Yes or No?
This is the final guest blog on my tour, so I’ll admit I had a bit of a struggle coming up with a topic. Aside from the topics I’ve covered on my tour, there’s also all the blogs that authors I admire have already written about. What’s left? Sheesh. After thinking it over, I decided not only to write on a topic that’s been covered before but to make this entry more about questions than answers. So I ask you – What are your thoughts on Happily-Ever-After and Happy-For-Now Endings?
Honestly, writing endings has always been a struggle for me. I love beginnings. There’s nothing like the moment when the hero and heroine meet up for the first time: sparks fly, chemistry happens, romance blooms. Or maybe the opposite happens and they hate each other—or at least that’s what they try to tell each other. I’ve written both types of beginnings, as well as a few that fall somewhere in between. In my first novel Vertigo Blake Cartwright whacks the love of her life over the head with a heavy object. Not on purpose, exactly, but she still gives him one hell of an egg. In Collateral Damage, my hero pushes one too many buttons and gets an earful from Laura Drake, who promptly storms out. It’s my third novel, Collateral Risk, where the beginning gets really weird. FBI counterterrorism expert Nick Doyle is an in-patient for his drinking issues and he’s infuriated by scientist Mia Lindgren’s dismissal of him when she meets him in the Rehab facility’s lobby. He’s used to being in charge and hates feeling his own vulnerabilities. What he doesn’t realize is that Mia is far more vulnerable—and damaged—than he is. After her sister’s murder years earlier, her mother was propelled into lifelong alcoholism and Mia’s learned to shut herself off from emotions for fear of following the same path. Of the three novels, that one’s probably the most risky in terms of subject matter and the least “romantic.” But in all three, the pull between the hero and heroine is undeniably strong from chapter one.
Have you noticed what I’m doing? Yes, I’m talking about beginnings, not endings. Because in all three novels I struggled with how to write those final chapters. I’m not talking about finishing off the suspense part of the plot—that’s not what stumps me. It’s figuring out how things should play out between my two romantic leads. I don’t want to give away the endings of the three books, so I won’t tell you what happens in each or who proposes and who doesn’t. I will say that out of the three books, there is only one definite HEA. One ends with an HFN and the other ends with a bit of uncertainty, in part because for me the characters’ stories “continue on” after the book. I didn’t want to tie everything off because it felt too soon in the relationship and I didn’t want to write something that rang false for their reality, even if it meant fewer sales. I also have the idea I want to continue these characters’ stories at some point in the future. Maybe then an HEA will feel more authentic.
This all makes sense to me but as a reader I’m not sure how I’d feel. When I think of my favorite love stories, I’m not so sure I’d like it if they didn’t end with an HEA. Who wants to spend 300 pages rooting for your favorite characters to find love only to find in the final chapter that they . . . don’t? What a letdown. And doesn’t life have enough of those? It has to leave you dissatisfied, right? Or are you willing to wait?
Tell me what you think. What romantic endings do you love? Were they Happily Ever Afters? Or something else?
Thanks in advance for your comments and advice—and for stopping by to read my post. Last but not least, I’d like to thank Goddess Fish Productions for organizing this great tour and With Love For Books for hosting me!
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Review by Anniek
Laura Drake has always been a girl who keeps to herself. The one time she thought she was making new friends something terrible happened to her. Ever since that time she tries to blend into the crowd. The last thing she wants is to stand out and for someone to notice her. For three years she has been working at the senator's office. Laura sees more than everybody thinks and her intuition is flawless in filling the gaps. When a coworker needs to see her urgently about a very important file Laura finds herself on the run with FBI agent Dalton Ross.
Dalton has a devastating past. A little over a year ago he divorced his wife and lost his best friend in the process. He's guarded around women because he doesn't want to go through this pain and heartache ever again. He follows Laura on her way to her colleague and is able to save her life just in time. Now that the terrorists are after them he will do everything in his power to keep her safe. He feels attracted to her and he knows she feels the same way.
When trouble is coming from every direction and the puzzle is getting ready to be solved who will be left standing? Are Laura and Dalton both able to face the traumas from their pasts and will they come out stronger so they can fight the evil that is lurking to get a very prominent place in politics?
Gwenan Haines gave this story so many layers which kept me guessing and wondering every step of the way. Every time she managed to surprise me when another piece of the mystery was revealed. The main characters each have their own demons to face and they also have to stand strong against some very influential people. The buildup is very good and that makes Collateral Damage a thrilling read. It has everything a good crime story needs.
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