Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Defense of Happy Endings

There has been some criticism of Never Again ending happily. It puzzles me why a happy ending should be negative. Do we live in a world so devoid of hope that sad endings are considered realistic? I agree that castles and fairy tales all have the connotation that the prince and the princess will live happily ever after, but if you strip that away what do you have left? No hope of finding happiness? No chance of overcoming hard times?

The wisest man I know, my father, once told me something that I didn't agree with. As a college student, I returned home for the summer and invited my family to see a favorite movie. After the feature, I quizzed my family about their opinion of the movie. The comments were positive, although my father remained silent.

I cornered my dad and sought his reaction. He stated that he didn't like the movie because it had a sad ending. It was his belief that there are enough troubles in life that you don't have to go looking for them.

At the time, I disagreed. The movie made you cry and was touching. However over the years, I've revised my opinion. Ben in Never Again reflects a similiar philosophy. He tells Megan that we have to enjoy the good moments in life, because the bad times will come.

Once I heard the statement: trials are mandatory, but misery is optional. So if we all have hard times and pain, why can't we look to happy solutions? Heavenly Father desires a happy ending for all of us. If this is true then it seems to me that we should be reaching out for happiness. As we overcome our trails in the Lord's way we create happy endings. This is what Megan does in Never Again. Was it easy for Megan or for any of us? Absolutely not! I believe the only sad endings are when we give up hope and stop trying to live God's laws.

So make your own happy endings and I'll keep writing mine!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

In the beginning

In the beginning, I didn't intend to write a serious novel like Never Again I wrote Regency Romances where you could escape and forget the roll of dental floss the children had wrapped around the doorknob, the dirty dishes that darkened the counter and the jam fingerprints that decorated the slider (New England term for sliding glass door).

In 2004, that all changed. I was reading a priesthood conference talk by President Hinckley when I was touched by the plight of a woman who had suffered becasue of her husband's addiction to pornography. I was impressed that I should write about a similar situation except in this case the woman should divorce her husband and find healing. Since I was resistant, I avoided writing, but somehow at odd times in the day or through the night, pieces of Megan's story would flitter around in my mind.

When I finally started writing Never Again, I had many wonderful/awful experiences. Thinking I was attending a marriage seminar, I set up my lap top in the center of a large room. The instructor stood up and announced that the schedule had been altered. She would be lecturing on pornography.

I was not thrilled about the subject of porn addiction, but I felt embarrrassed to stand up and walk out. Fifteen minutes later my husband asked if I wanted to leave. By then I was copiously taking notes, everything the woman was saying helped me to understand Megan's character. There was no question of leaving. After that, reasearch was easier.

I came to love Megan, to wish that her world hadn't been shattered. See, my schizophrenia is kicking in. Maybe it was a good thing that Megan became so vivid to me because I began to see her in my real everyday life, a sister of someone I knew, a member of my ward, an old friend and on and on.

My desire to finish this book grew. These women's stories needed to be told in a positive way that offered hope and healing. Megan's promise to Never Again risk her heart must be broken in order to do this.

I knew that some portions of this book would be heavy and dark so I added Jane and Esther for comic relief. I placed Amber in a position to soften and smoothe the way. It is my hope that as you read Never Again you will laugh, cry and be uplifted, but most of all that you will understand yourself or a dear sister who has suffered.

Katherine Adams