Tori really enjoyed Spellcast by Barbara Ashford last year. We asked her to visit Smexy to talk a little about her newest release, Spellcrossed.
Happy Ever After?
I love happy endings. I just have trouble writing them. And – when it comes to paranormal romance –reading them without imagining what happens AFTER the happy-ever-after.
I could fall in love with a vampire or a werewolf, but could I really LIVE with one? Okay, the werewolf only has his once-a-month thing going on, but wouldn’t the neighbors in my apartment building freak if they noticed a wolfman running down the stairs? I guess I’d have to move to the country, with no neighbors for miles and a lot of woods to roam. And no pets. Just too tempting. And definite grounds for divorce if I discovered that my lover ate the cat.
See, this is what gets me into trouble.
I’d planned a happy ending for Spellcast. Only when I typed the final words did I realize I wasn’t going to get one.
I tried rewriting the last chapter, but the ending felt tacked on. It was too easy, too light-hearted, and filled with the same humor as the opening chapters. But Maggie wasn’t in that place any longer. She had changed as a result of her journey. And the ending of the book had to reflect that. On a subconscious level, I’d understood that and written the ending that Spellcast needed. It was just hard to get my stubborn, conscious self to let go of the ending I wanted – for the book and for Maggie.
So I told my editor that I needed to write a sequel. And she agreed.
The opening chapters of Spellcrossed were difficult to write. The theatre’s secret is out so there’s no central mystery as there was in Spellcast. Maggie’s no longer an actress and it’s much harder to make directing a thrill for readers. And everyone on the staff is determined to make the theatre “normal” so there’s not a ton of magic. But I felt it was important to show that Maggie could succeed without a man in her life. And that human magic – the ties of friendship and community, our qualities of compassion and caring – is just as vital as otherworldly magic to the success of the theatre and the happiness of those who work there.
In Spellcrossed, Maggie has to cope with the same issues we all face: pressure at work, relationships with friends and family, romantic ups and downs. She longs for the proverbial happy ending, but is practical enough to realize she might not get it. The book explores how far she’s willing to go and how much she’s willing to risk. Can love really conquer all? Will her relationships grow stronger when they’re put to the test or crack under the strain?
Like Spellcast, the ending of Spellcrossed surprised me. I was really TRYING for a traditional happy ending, but the climax of the book casts a long – and potentially dangerous – shadow over Maggie’s life.
So there may be another book in the Crossroads Theatre series. In my books, happy-ever-after always seems to come at a price.
For more on the world of the Crossroads Theatre, visit www.barbara-ashford.com.
Pamela (@SpazP) says
GREAT post! Spellcast one of my favorite books of last year. I get verklempt just thinking about it! I just started Spellcrossed last night and want nothing more than to go home from work and hide under my covers reading it. Beautifully charming books.
julie beasley says
this sound like a good follow on book. ive not read spellcast, but they seem to be funny as well as sensual
I only write for fun but yes I have notices, heas are hard. And I appreciate all those who manage them :)
I do agree, that sometimes the HEA is not easy, and living with the hero is a totally different thing. But the new endings to your books, are they evil cliffhangers? Or just a different kind of ending?
There definitely are places where happy endings aren’t appropriate. The most recent example in my reading is Great Expectations, the official ending might sound lovely and ties up the loose threads, but the original unhappy ending works so much better. I’m always surprised how characters can become so realised that they are able to overturn the author’s plans, even if the author has been writing them themselves all along.