QUIBBLES & BITS
I decided to take a break from researching séances and ghosts (for my new mystery, GYPSY ROSE LIEBERMAN), so I walked outside and stood on my back deck and watched flowers bloom like a Disney nature film, and the next thing I knew I was thinking about the death of series' book characters.
Not mine, of course! I don't kill off series characters. I just start a new series.
But lately, on one of my loops, readers have been talking about a popular author killing off a main character. And to my surprise, there have been no outrageous cries of cease and desist, no "I'll never read that author again!"
Which brought to mind Stephen King's MISERY, where a bestselling author kills off his heroine (Misery), then has to resurrect her to please his nutty caretaker [brilliantly played in the movie by Kathy Bates].
My point is, readers tend to believe book characters are real. If readers don't believe that, the author has fallen down on his/her job. And yet, I'm constantly amazed when fans ask: "When is Ellie going to marry Peter?"
Well, heck, I don't know. Maybe I'll kill her off, first.
I have mixed feelings when book characters I'm fond of kick the ol' bucket. Every time I read Stephen King's THE STAND (which is every time I have the flu; for some odd reason, reading The Stand makes me feel better), I hope my favorite characters won't die. The rational part of my mind tells me they will. But then, who's rational when suffering from the flu?
As a kid, I memorized Alfred Noyes' poem, The Highwayman, then changed the ending to a happy one.
I'm still doing that today - as Mary Ellen Dennis. My cover for THE LANDLORD'S BLACK-EYED DAUGHTER just arrived. I'm technically challenged when it comes to posting blog pictures, so it's a tad difficult to read New York Times bestselling author Mary Jo Putney's blurb. She says: "If you've been yearning for an old-fashioned romantic adventure, The Landlord's Black-Eyed Daughter is not to be missed! Mary Ellen Dennis crafts a swift and bawdy tale that skillfully blends the classic poem The Highwayman with elements of historical romance and the Gothic novel---and manages a happy ending as well. Enjoy!"
Here's the way I feel about happy endings (and, I suppose, the death of series characters, too). If a reader spends 100,000+ words with my hero and heroine, it's simply not fair to kill them off.
Others might feel differently :-)
Over and out,
If you'd like your name to be put in a drawing for an ARC of The Landlord's Black-eyed Daughter, email me at email@example.com