Thoughts on HEAs

downloadMy HEAs don’t involve children, because my HEA isn’t one with babies. Unless my husband and I do a one-eighty and decide to become parents, or unless it’s really important to the story or the characters I’m writing, I doubt that will change. My excluding children from my characters wasn’t initially by design; I didn’t even notice it until someone brought it up. Really, it comes from the fact that my personal experience is one where I have opted to remain child-free, and I’m pretty damn happy. That’s what HEA looks like to me. This isn’t an incitement on having a family, raising children, or stories that involve moms and dads, or end with babies on the way. I am in awe of anyone who makes the decision to become a parent. Those individuals have nothing but my utmost respect and admiration. I’ve read and enjoyed any number of romances where kids are a factor, either during the course of the story or mentioned at the end. But one of the great things about this genre is it truly has something for everyone. If space operas are your thing, you’re set. If you jones for cowboys, you’re covered. If vamps and weres turn your crank, you’re in luck. The selection might not be as broad in some niche interests, but for the most part, if it’s a thing, you can find it in the romance section on Amazon.

Exhibit A:

This is a thing, and it's glorious.

That includes aspects that might be more subtle. Not everyone will agree with what makes a truly happy ending. It’s more than the characters getting together—it’s what either sacrifices (and if the sacrifice is worth it). If their emotional needs are met. If he deserves her, and vice versa. These are the small things that will vary from person to person. I’ve become protective of the heroines in the books I read and write, so if they sacrifice a great career or opportunity for the hero, he damn well better deserve it and/or sacrifice something equally important, or my satisfaction rating slips a notch. For other readers, things like this might not even be a consideration. Granted, I know it is for many, because I’ve read some harsh reviews of various works, but it’s not for everyone.

regret-nothingAnd on that same note, neither is having kids. It’s not for me or my husband. We’re both in our 30s now—out of that stage where the answer to why don’t you have any kids isn’t usually, you’ll change your mind. Granted, my brother-in-law and his wife decided to have kids when they were a bit older than my husband and I are now, and while I’m not one to say never, my vision of the future doesn’t have pack-n-plays, diapers, or Thomas the Train (unless my nephew is staying over). So when I write about romantic relationships, the kids question doesn’t really play a role.

That said, my characters might well want to have kids. It depends on the character and their circumstances. Grayson was a human preacher who I could see very much wanting children. Ava, Luxi, Cassie, and Invi aren’t biologically wired to want kids, so it never would have entered their minds as an option. Izzie doesn’t want kids, particularly after her experience with Zack. Serenity and Dash probably won’t be planning a family anytime soon. Savannah and Thorn? They’re a bit trickier, so I’ll leave that up to the reader. I could see it going both ways. What comes after The End can be up to whoever reads it, because at that point, it’s not just mine anymore.

Is there anything that makes or breaks an HEA for you?