When I was very young, an annual tradition in my family was to watch Mary Martin as Peter Pan on the TV. (That ages me, doesn’t it?) There was a scene where Tinkerbell is poisoned and Peter looks directly at the camera and says “If all the boys and girls in the World will say ‘I believe in Fairies,’ Tinkerbell won’t die.” My mom and I, on the couch, would hold hands and chant over and over, “I believe in Fairies. I believe in Fairies!” My bratty younger brother would sit in the floor, chanting, “I don’t believe in Fairies. Die, Tinkerbell, die!”
Luckily for Tinkerbell, my mom and I outvoted David.
I always knew I loved happily ever endings. Many is the book I’ve read that I absolutely adored the book, but never considered rereading. And it didn’t matter whether it was mainstream, SF, history, biography, romance…whatever; if it didn’t have a happy ending, it disappointed me. For a long time, I even felt guilty that I didn’t “like” very popular books, but if they didn’t have a happy, or at least a satisfactory, ending…
With maturity came enlightenment. I wanted the white hat cowboy to defeat the black hat bad guy. I wanted the space trooper to win the war against the Bugs. I wanted the detective to solve the crime. And mainstream or not, I wanted the protagonist to triumph. But it is in romance that I’m GUARANTEED that every book will end with a HEA; that’s why the majority of what I read is romance.
Books that I’ve read in other genres may not have the same set up as a romance. John of Gaunt loved his Katherine, but not as much as his need to be a king; therefore they didn’t get their HEA until very late in life, when John accepted there was no way he would ever be crowned. Madselin, Saxon lady, used every weapon in her power to make her Norman husband/overlord submit to her wiles, but it wasn’t until the end, when he surrendered his honor to protect her, that she learned he loved her without him ever saying the words. And Kristen Bjornsen, Human, and Zainal, Catteni, will never live a life like others of their respective species, but together, they found their own HEA. And that’s what keeps me reading.
But what keeps me writing is I want to write nothing but Happily Ever After. Some of my SF friends think I’m selling out. But what did they expect? I believe in Fairies!