Dear Desperately Seeking an UNhappy Ending…
Only if you want that romance novel to sell. Fans of romance novels are a loyal group—when they find an author they love, they stick with that author, book after book. But if you disappoint them, you’ll be needing more than roses and chocolates to win back their hearts. A super way to disappoint them is to deny them their Happily Ever After. They’ve got an acronym for it—HEA—so you know they’re serious. Sure, exceptions that KIA the HEA have value and are legitimate, but the masses demand HEA. There’s a certain escapism going on for Romance readers; they read for the affirmation of true love, and HEA endings deliver that. But why do you think Happily Ever After equals predictability? How you bring about your HEA is where that creativity of yours can shine. Ditch the picket fence, can the fairy tales, and bring those lovers together in a way that no one could predict. You are in control, not the genre. This way, everyone gets their dose of happy.
Perhaps, what you have is actually a two novel opportunity! Perhaps if the separation is not sealed in stone with blood, your “new” ending could send the readers to the book store to find out just how they wrestle with the oppositional forces and end up together as Heaven Intended all along. But try to find something more compelling than the standard coma…or ship sunk at sea and survival in question…or being trapped in a cottage in a snowstorm with no cell phone and the wolf is at the door….I feel certain you can find the perfect intermezzo ending! Don’t give up!
If you want this to be a romance, then as a romance reader, I agree completely with The Editor. 🙂 I read other genres if I want a more realistic view of relationships, so you might also consider not tagging this as a romance. Just a thought.