Posted in Thoughts

Joy and Hope, Books that Leave You Feeling Renewed

Have you ever met someone who just talking to them leaves you feeling so good that no matter what trials you might going through at the time their presence makes it all seem better? Their joy is so infectious, you walk away lighter, as if your burden has been lifted and everything is right in the world. Even if it is only temporary, the relief is so pleasant that whenever you see that person you automatically feel the burdens lifting. People like this are few and far between, too often we are influenced by that person who couldn’t be happy as a taste taster in a chocolate factory. They make you tired as soon as you see them coming. Their dark cloud lingers long after they’re gone.

While most of us are neither the drunk on life dancing poodle or the “Oh my God it’s morning” Grumpy Cat, we fall into the trench of the normal. Walking through life as members of the medium without the high highs or the low lows. As writers this can be deadly, we should choose to be more than average. Normal is so overrated.

Who wants to go through life in the middle of the road? We shouldn’t be afraid of choosing a destination and taking the dark and scary path to get there. As a fiction writer I want to deal with real issues. I want my characters to look like the people in my world, a rainbow of colors, religions and social preferences. I believe I can temper the harsh realities of this world with humor and romance.

Sometimes it’s a fine line to walk finding that balance between enlightenment and preaching. If you try to beat me in the head with some new thought or idea I will most likely dig in and defy your well-meaning argument but if you show me this in action with interesting and sympathetic characters, then I hear the message on a different level. I feel the message. When I write, I want readers to get inside the head of my characters and feel what they feel. Know what it’s like to suffer PTSD or insecurities. I want to reach out and touch the person reading my books and show them a different way of looking at life. I want them to feel the pain, ache with the loss and loneliness and fall in love and have hope. Above all else I want to leave them with a feeling of hope and happiness.

I believe it is important to leave people with a good feeling whether it is in our personal life or in our writing. Just as rare as those feel-good people are those authors that really get what it means to write books that leave you feeling renewed. There are authors I read simply because their books are like a cool balm to my soul. I’ve spoken of this before how after my home burned down my husband took me to Books-A-Million for a new book. We’d lost everything but he knew how important books were for me. After the trauma and tragedy of losing our home and everything we owned, I didn’t need a heavy book that would leave me depressed. The book I chose was The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries.

Sabrina Jeffries is one of those writers who understand the importance of balancing the austerity of the real world with the hope that love can make everything better. Ms. Jeffries leaves her readers feeling happy and believing in possibilities. Meeting Ms. Jeffries in person, her natural personality shines through in her writing. She loves books, writing and people and her grasp of character and storytelling is inspiring. She doesn’t shy away from the tough subjects but setting her stories in the Regency allows for a different spin on these subjects and the characters’ reactions.

For a contemporary author who grasps the importance of the happy ending even while dealing with subjects as real as abuse, PTSD and body image, Virginia Kantra weaves a beautiful balance of hope and reality to encourage readers of the possibility for their own happy endings.

To get the happy ending in any time period: past, present and future I turn to one of my favorite red heads, Ms. Jayne Ann Krentz aka Amanda Quick or Jayne Castle. Her tough feminine characters inspire readers to be strong and courageous even when life is difficult.

Life isn’t easy. Every day we face trauma and tragedy, violence and illness, life and death, and our fiction should encompass these realities. The idea of fiction is ultimately to entertain. We can implement change with our stories, showing people who are strong and capable who face the hopeless and find strength and determination to make a difference. I believe in happy endings and I want a story to give hope and leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling.