by Elsa Winckler
I love books and I love reading. I still have fond memories of the library in the little town of Upington where I grew up. I remember walking through the library, just touching the covers, smelling the books – it always made me happy. Books transported me to places I’ve never been and, at the time, places I thought I’d never see.
But I’ve always had a problem – I like happy endings. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that most books don’t have those. So I got into the habit of turning the pages right to the end (I know, terrible) to find out whether the two were kissing or at least holding hands. Only then would I take it home, secure in the knowledge that whatever trials and tribulations these two would have, they’d ended up together!
During my studies I read all the classics – Dickens, Jane Austen, Mrs Gaskell, the Brontë sisters, Henry James, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy. I loved the latter’s Far from the madding crowd but Jude, the obscure left me depressed for months. In short – I loved the books with happy endings but didn’t enjoy the never-ending sad, sad stories! I read James Joyce’s Ulysses and had the privilege to study the book under Prof Michiel Heyns, nowadays a renowned South African author, but I can’t use the word ‘enjoy’ to describe the way I felt after reading the book.
This had me thinking – how absolutely lovely would it be if you could walk into a bookshop where you would only find books with happy endings? You wouldn’t have to worry that you’d pick a book that would end where someone walks away or, horror of horrors – dies! To my romance-loving, happy-ever-after disposition this sounded very close to Heaven.
So when I was thinking about writing my first English romance (I also write in Afrikaans) this idea simply wouldn’t let go and I started on Love, in writing. That’s why the heroine in my story, Margaret Parker, ended up as a romance writer who owns a bookshop with the name, Happy Ever After, written in pink letters, no less where you’ll only find books with happy endings!
She met Graham Connelly, a hardcore, cynical science fiction author in a lift and sparks fly …
And I discovered that the thrill of determining how two opposites manage to find their way to a happy-ever-after is even more exciting when the story literary unfolds under your fingertips!
Margaret Parker is a hopeless romantic whose fantasies fuel her writing. For Graham Connelly, science fiction is the perfect genre to express his cynical world view. A chance meeting in a lift leaves them both interested and aroused — with no clue as to the other’s identity.
Margaret has been looking for a face to match her new fictional hero — and Graham’s is it. Graham has been looking for proof that innocence and optimism still exist — and he’s found it in Margaret. But fantasy isn’t reality, and both Margaret and Graham are used to controlling their fictional worlds. Can they step off the pages long enough to find their own happy-ever-after?