HEA at home and abroad
According to Sherry Thomas, all genre fiction offers a promise of justice and fairness that may not be visible in readers’ daily lives. One way to combine fairness with stories that push and define trust is to include the happily ever after.
Why do readers crave happy endings?
My theory is the theory of accelerated karma, because most people know what karma is, karma says you plant beans, you get beans, you plant squash, you get squash; but the thing is the Eastern view of karma is you might do something good in this lifetime, and not reap the rewards until the next lifetime. So that’s the long way of looking at things. So if you believe in karma, you believe the universe tilts—the long arc of the universe tilts towards justice. However, we don’t see enough of it in our daily life. We are at a very short segment of that long arc, so we see a lot of crappy things happening to good people and we see a lot of wonderful things happening to people who absolutely do not deserve it, and that’s what makes people angry about life and unhappy with it.
So genre fiction, all genre fiction, is filling that void, that basically that thirst for justice and fairness because what we promise is that if you do things right, if you choose what’s right over what’s easy, if you make good choices, if you make the hard sacrifices, that in the end is all worth it, and there’s this deep, deep human desire for it in everybody.
For women for whom marriage and, you know, the love life is such a huge part of your life, it’s good to read about that, okay, when people do things right, when they are smart, when they are kind, when they are loving, when they will sacrifice for the other person, that they are justly rewarded for it. That’s what we offer our readers, and the difficulty is in making it believable.
How does it differ in Hong Kong and Taiwan?
What the difference is, there the same romance novelist, she writes one book, it may have a happy ending, and the next book may very well be a tragedy, so what she’s writing is, I guess here you would call— sometimes it’s just a book with strong romantic elements, so it’s a love story. So there what they have is just love story. Sometimes it ends well, sometimes it ends terribly, and you don’t know what you’re getting with any given book. So it’s not—they don’t have this particular genre that’s happy endings guaranteed, that is a very unique construct I think of the Anglo American romance publishing niche where you have a genre that guarantees you have your happy ending.