Today I have a guest post from Elizabeth Krall, author of Ship to Shore. She’s here to talk a bit about happy endings, which is something most readers love.
A reader asked me if was going to write a sequel to my novel Ship to Shore, because she wanted to know what happened to Sally and Dermid after the end of the book. I told her that I had no plans to write a sequel, but not to worry because “they lived happily ever after”.
On the train to the day job this morning, I was thinking about that reply, and about happy endings in general. We tend to like them, even to expect them or think we deserve them, in our lives and in the books we read and the films we watch. Have you ever felt cheated or disappointed when a story doesn’t deliver the ending you were expecting? I know I have.
Friedrich Nietzsche is credited with saying, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” A commendable attitude, no doubt, but not one I want to live by. I want a happy ending!
Somewhere on the sliding scale between ‘not killing us’ and ‘the happy ending’ sits ‘the hopeful ending’. Think of Gone with the Wind, and Scarlett standing there in the doorway. Rhett has just made it pretty plain that he wants nothing more to do with her, and yet we are left with the sense of a hopeful ending, that it may just all work out in the end. That it may become a happy ending.
Ship to Shore has a happy ending – now. Part One of the novel started out as a standalone book and it ended pretty much how Part One ends now, i.e., not well at all. Not even the most eternal optimistic would find a hopeful, let alone a happy, ending in there.
I thought Sally and Dermid deserved better, so I wrote what started out as another standalone novel to give them a happy ending – but I realised no one
would read it after the downbeat ending of the first one. So both novels were seriously cut and edited and rewritten, and reworked into Parts One and Two of the same story, on ship and on shore. Hence the title!
There is no doubt the final book is better for the reworking. People are reading it, and telling me they like it, which is very definitely a happy ending for me.
As for my train this morning, it arrived on time, which wasn’t exactly a happy ending because I wasn’t terribly keen to get to work.
I wish you happy endings, in life and elsewhere. Thanks for your time, and a big thank you to Sarah for allowing me to guest on her blog.
Elizabeth was born in Canada and now lives in Australia. She filled a four-month spell of unemployment by beginning her own novel, inspired in part by her love of tall ship sailing. She spent many years as an editor, but writing her own book gave her an insight into what an author goes through. She’s not convinced she wants to go through it again!
Storms at sea. Heartbreak on land.
Sally meets Dermid on a tall ship sailing across the Atlantic and is drawn to him, despite what she considers to be his unfortunate passion for bagpipes. However, their tentative romance ends because of something Sally does. She feels guilty and he feels betrayed, and they part in hurt, angry silence.
Despite what happened on the ship, Sally can’t forget Dermid, although when she takes a job on a Scottish island she claims that the fact he lives on a nearby island has nothing to do with it. Not a thing.
On the Isle of Lewis, city girl Sally runs head-on into small-town Scotland, complete with inquisitive neighbours and more things tartan than she had ever imagined existed.
When her job ends, Sally must choose between building a life with Dermid or returning to her carefree, wandering ways. Someone from Dermid’s past sparks a crisis that sends Sally fleeing back to London — and may tear them apart forever.
And could she ever learn to love the bagpipes?
Set against the tempestuous North Atlantic and the windswept beauty of the Hebrides, ‘Ship to Shore’ is a story of two people who must learn to trust their feelings, and to trust each other.
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