After reading Barb N's comment on the original post I put up for today, I rewrote that post with quotes from her comment.
I won’t be quoting or singing some author’s praises today. Why not? Because I’m reading a series of books that is disappointing to me and I don’t want to trash an author’s work. For the purposes of clarity we’ll call her Author D for disappointment.
First of all, do you agree with that sentiment - not trashing an author’s work? I do. And I don’t. And I do.
I do because I want to be respectful and err on the side of goodness. I don’t because if word of mouth sells books, then shouldn’t word of mouth kill bad books? And I do because what’s bad writing for me maybe just what you needed.
So why am I reading a whole series of books if they are disappointing me? Because I started reading them unfortunately and there is a character couple that I love.
And why don’t I like the series? A number of reasons; Author D sells them as romance genre but there isn’t an HEA after each book; she needs a better editor (as opposed to a yes person who lets her ramble on for 6, 7 or 800 pages, half of which I don’t read); because I don’t trust Author D.
Isn’t that a weird statement - I don’t trust this author? I never really thought in terms of that before. But now 7 books later and this author has shown that she is capable of doing truly horrible things to these characters I love and I don’t trust her to overcome her damn ego and produce an HEA for them.
Are there authors you don’t trust in this way? You don’t have to name names.
Barb N commented:
“I'll name names-- like Stephanie Plum, who after 16? 17? how many? books, is still waffling back and forth between the same two guys.”
When I originally wrote this post I debated putting an Evanovich disclaimer in. I knew I would get this. I love the Plum series. Can’t wait until June to read Smoking Seventeen.
Here’s why Evanovich is different than Author D - because she doesn’t set up the same level of EXPECTATION so I’m not DISAPPOINTED. Evanovich doesn’t claim that the Plum series are romance novels. She calls them sexy mysteries. Which they are. And she wrote a book called How I Write that tells very candidly the formula she uses for writing them (though she doesn’t call it a formula). She starts by finding a crime. Mystery series.
She also deliberately doesn’t arc her characters. Although I think it could be argued that Ranger arcs. I sit down to a Plum book and I know I’m going to read a funny story with lots of sexual innuendo and outrageous stunts like a million cars exploding. I have no EXPECTATIONS beyond that. So I’m not DISAPPOINTED.
Now I’m going to say something really controversial. Anyone who’s read all the Plum books and thinks Stephanie hasn’t chosen a man is not paying attention. In sixteen books there is only one book that doesn’t end with Stephanie and Joe. That is the book that ends with Stephanie in a pile of bodies with Sally Sweet. Get a clue. Stephanie has chosen to be a cupcake. She just hasn’t made it official or given up her babe moments. That’s okay with me. And unless there is a major announcement on Evanovich’s part about an upcoming decision, anyone EXPECTING Stephanie to make it official is going to be DISAPPOINTED.
So why does Author D think she’s above the rules of her chosen genre? If she wants to write romance one of the rules is - cough up an HEA at the end of the book. In a series that would mean at the end of each book.
Barb N says:
“You know, I'm OK with a HFN (happy for now) as opposed to a HEA (happily ever after). Fortune Quilt which I just finished last week, has an HFN ending, and it was good.”
I’m okay with an HFN also unless I’m reading something sold as a romance novel, in which case I’ve been lead to expect an HEA. I loved the Fortune Quilt. I was very surprised when I looked up the genre and it was ‘contemporary romance.’ I always thought most of Lani’s books were women’s fiction. I’m still not disappointed in that book but I’m glad I didn’t read it EXPECTING a romance novel.
I once read a different author, who I’ve stopped reading for similar reasons, JUSTIFY no HEA in a romance novel. She didn’t write HEA’s because not everyone gets a happy ending. Duh. But guess what? That’s reality and reality is non-fiction. If I wanted reality I’d read non-fiction.
What about you? How important is an HEA to you? Do you pay attention to whether a book is categorized correctly or not?
Over in Julieland http://urthalun.com/, in a post called 'Seasonal Variety', the card today is about disappointment. Author D disappointed me and now I don’t trust her. She made beautiful characters whom I love and then she has so far refused them the HEA I have a right to expect since she’s calling the books romance novels.
So until she’s written that final book in the series and I know for certain she has given my favorite characters their due, you won’t see Author D’s books, or name, mentioned here.
Now if you want to e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) I’ll be glad to give you her name and discuss her with you.
Barb N thanks for the comment that helped me further clarify my thoughts!