Thursday, August 18, 2011

Author Sullivan Lee of Brightwing (Guest Post & Giveaway)

Today I would like to welcome author Sulivan Lee who is joining us with a guest post about her new release, Brightwing! Sulivan is also offering a fab giveaway at the end so make sure to stick around! 

When Characters Fight the HEA

Romance readers – a lot of them, anyway – tell me they need a happily ever after ending. Not just a happy ending, but EVER after. Wow. Forever? How on earth am I supposed to do that?

Granted, within their own little purview, an author is a godlike being who is, in theory, wholly responsible for their characters' actions and emotions. But my fellow writers know that characters often have a mind of their own and occasionally hijack the story. Many's the time I've been typing merrily along, thinking I had everything under control, when suddenly a character sneaks off behind my back and falls inappropriately in love, or does something else that totally throws off my well-planned plot. Characters are, in their own way, alive. And they live on, if only in our heads, after the story is over.

So here's what I wonder about happy endings. Even if I do give a reader their longed-for HEA, how in the world am I supposed to guarantee that it is true? We all know that Jane Eyre is going to have her share of troubles after, “Reader, I married him.” And as shown by the plethora of modern Pride and Prejudice sequels, readers aren't entirely convinced Mr. Darcy is going to be easy to live with. The joining together of the happy couple is only the beginning of the story, and frankly, after I write “The End” I'm not responsible for my characters anymore (unless there's a sequel!) Like fledged birds pushed from the nest, I give them the best start I can and then they're on their own.

Don't get me wrong – I love a happy ending too. But does a Romance need one? What if the happiness is a bit equivocal? In Brightwing, the couple ends up together, but they both realize that some serious adjustments need to be made if they're going to find true happiness. Lucy is used to being free, and even a bit promiscuous. And loving Lucy means that Edgar is condemned to spend the rest of his life in the Everglades swamps. Of course, what I haven't told most people is that I plan to write a sequel, eventually, which makes some difference in the perception of the ending.

So, I'd love to know from your readers – is it still Romance without the HEA? Do we need a separate genre, the Love Story, for the not-quite-HEA endings? Do you feel betrayed by a book when the last page isn't exactly what you were hoping for, even if it is authentic to the story and the characters?

Thank you so much for having me on Reading Between the Wines, Crystal!



Sullivan is graciously giving away one print copy of her book Brightwing open to  US/Canadian residents and one digital copy open Internationally!

To enter:
-Just leave a comment answering Sullivan's question found at the end of her post
-Make sure to leave an email address so if you're a winner we can contact you
-Let us know which prize you are entering for, the print copy or digital copy

Giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on September first when two winners will be chosen at random and contacted via email. The winners will then have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Good luck! 


  1. I don't think you need an HEA to be a romance. I think the ones that do are a subgenre of romance, but I have been satisfied with books that end however they are supposed to, whether happy or not.
    I would like to enter for the print copy.

  2. I definately think it can be a romance without a HEA. My all time favorite romance is Gone With the Wind, that didn't end with a HEA but boy was there a romance. My idea of whether Rhett comes back has changed through the years. When I was younger I thought, how could he not, he loved her. As I got older I thought, how could he, he loved her.
    Would love a digital copy of the book
    lvs2dv at gmail dot com

  3. I don't think romance needs a HEA. I actually would prefer if it didn't because it would be something different. I like it when I read a book and the ending isn't at all what I thought it was. It means that the author thought outside the box and threw their readers a curve ball. I like surprises :o)

    I would prefer a print copy since I am currently reading e-books on my laptop but I am not opposed to the digital copy either.
    booksniffersanonymous at gmail dot com
    Book Sniffers Anonymous

  4. for me, romance is romance. as long as it touched my heart, it's good enough for me :) if it makes me cry or want to fall in love, even better. if it doesn't come out as i expect, i don't feel betrayed. maybe saddened, but stories don't always end happily.


    print copy for me please

  5. Yes, it can still be romance without a HEA. For me, the romance is in the story, not just the ending. I much prefer the ending to be "authentic to the story and characters". I may yell and cry (and have been known to do so), but if it was the right ending for the story, that's what counts.

    I would love a print copy, please. Thanks for the chance to win Brightwing!


  6. I don't think HEA is necessary for romance. However, I'd be a liar if I said I didn't prefer it >< unless the ending really should be that way, I do like a good HEA. Too many bad endings in the real world, I want to escape! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom I would love a print copy.

  7. Thank you for this giveaway! I think that romance can come in many different shapes and sizes so I think that it is not needed to have a HEA. Of course, I do love to read my HEA- but then again I think everyone does.

    chelle2006 @ aol .com


    I would like to enter either one of the formats (print or ebook)

  8. I don't think the HEA always needs to be there. Life isn't really like that, is it? I think the real romance is in the journey. I do have to admit, though, that I do feel disappointed if the stars aren't all aligned in the end ;) but sometimes feeling the loss at the end is good, too.

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

    Thanks for the giveaway! Please enter me in the draw for the print copy.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I have read many stories with strong romantic elements and although there was no HEA I still enjoyed them. I have read both love stories and romances which does have an HEA. I'm not sure there needs to be a different genre for romance without HEA because there already exists many of these books, typically fiction and its sub-genres such as women's fiction. I read from all genres and enjoy them all.

    I would like to enter for a print copy please.


  11. For the book to seem more real, I don't think you have to have a HEA always. But the point of reading is not for reality it is for fantasy. To be able to escape, if only briefly, though a book. In that case I would like a HEA.
    I don't think we need a separate genre. It's still romance even if the ending isn't exactly what we want.
    I don't feel betrayed, just bummed that some endings are different than expected. I do go out and by the next book if it's a series to see if the storyline finally wraps up the way I would like.

    I would like to win the print copy. I don't have an ereader:(

    truebloodfan AT

  12. Romance is romance. No, they don't always end the way you want but that's life. Does anything ever go as you planned it. I love surprises in the books. That's what makes them memorable. Thanks for the contest. I would like a print book should I happen to win, please!Thanks.
    jlkg102961 AT yahoo DOT com

  13. I love my romances to have a happy ending. What can I say I am a hopeless romantic. Please enter me in contest.

  14. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!
    If a book doesn't end the way I had hoped, I am usually disappointed. I don't necessarily feel betrayed. Like you said, it's authentic to the story.
    -Carly Waid

  15. I wouldn't say betrayed exactly. If its authentic to the story and the characters then I wouldn't be to surprised and I would accept the ending, even if it wasn't what I hoped for.
    Thanks for the great giveaway! I'm a US resident so I'd like to enter for the print copy please!

  16. I would have to say that my disappointment in a book not ending the way that I want really depends on the book. If through the whole book you are teased with a potential ending and then it ends another way, it can be a disappointment that can ruin the book for me. But it really does depend on the book and characters. sometimes I may not be happy, but I understand why, and can actually look back on it later with fond memories.

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com
    oh and I'm entering for the print copy.

  17. I don't6 think I've ever read a book where in the end the hero and heroine weren't together. They might not be married or planning to be married, but together. Of course, to provide some tension in series, there have been books were they've broken up or one is missing, but you know in the end the other will be back.

    I don't need a concrete happy ending to make a romance. I'm not greatly fond of BIG cliffhanger endings, little ones are ok.

  18. I don't think there necessarily needs to be a HEA for it to qualify as a romance, but I definitely prefer when there is one! I agree that sometimes a HEA forever, can be unrealistic, especially if that isn't how the whole book has been heading.. happy for now always works for me!

    I'd like to win a digital copy. Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Thank you for the giveaway!

    Honestly, it doesn't matter how the book ends as long as it stays true to the story. I personally hate the endings where everything seems rushed and slapped together.

    Jessica - jbronderblogs at aol dot com

  20. I don't think a HEA is required for every story as long as the ending is fitting to the rest of the book. The couple shouldn't be forced into the HEA just because it is a "romance".

    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

  21. I actually think a romance needs a HEA. I think most of us who read for the romance are looking for the ideal, the hope that we can live vicariously for the space of 300 or 400 pages to that HEA. Sure every romance has it's challenges-that's part of the formula. Anything less than an HEA seems like a tragedy. When I want HEA I reach for romance, if I'm in the mood for something else-I'll pick a different genre.

    I'd like to be considered for a print copy-I'm old school. :)

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  22. I prefer a HEA when I read romances. Sometimes, it doesn't fit the story though. You can still have a passionate romance with things not working out in the end. I am thinking of the Bodyguard movie right now. LOL

    Either format is great. Thank you for the giveaway!

    ceeenndee at gmail dot com

  23. Thank you so much for the wonderful giveaway opportunity. I so want to read this book. I do not think a happy ending is required in a romance novel, but I do not like a cliffhanger that I have to wait a year to be resolved. I would like there to be some hope in an ending, even if there is sorrow in the ending.


  24. I don't think a romance absolutely needs a HEA. I would be satisfied with a story as long as the ending makes sense and are true to who the characters are, so I am definitely not opposed to authors taking their stories where they need to go (especially since I read Urban Fantasy and love the twist and turns in those stories). But on the other hand, I think it's understandable for readers to be expecting a HEA if a book is billed as a 'Romance' in any of its sub-genres since it's the norm for the genre.

    I would prefer to win the print copy, but the digital copy is good too as long as I can read it on the computer :)


  25. I don't really care for romance stories that doesn't have a HEA. I also get very disappointed when the last page isn't what I expected. Please enter me. Thanks!

    I prefer Print Copy.


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