I think each writer holds a special place in their heart for the characters they write. When you are a romance writer, you also hold a special place for the relationship you write. Out of all of the romance novels I’ve written up to this point, I hold Ben and Rachel’s story nearest to my heart. I am continually touched by Ben’s gentleness towards Rachel. I get swept away everytime I go back to reference something in it, and realize three chapters later that I am still reading it.
The other day as I was sitting in traffic I was thinking about this story and how much I love it. I know for many who read it, the ending left a sour note. It was the first time as a writer where I took some real heat for the original ending. I’ve often imagined what their lives would’ve looked like if the book had ended differently. As I sat parked in traffic, and my imagination running wild I had a moment of clarity. Why not release McKinley Park as an actual book, fully edited and ….. WITH A TRUE HAPPY ENDING?
I bounced this idea off of my husband. He is my most honest critic and can be absolutely ruthless in his feedback, which is why I value it so highly. He asked me why I had not done it yet. It was one of those simple things that was sitting right in front of me, that I had not recognized. Even if I am the only who ever enjoys this story of true love and triumph in a book form, it will have been so worth it.
I have spent the past few weeks combing through the manuscript, changing and tweaking small things based on all of the amazing feedback I received as I published it back in 2019. I cannot adequately express my gratitude to all of you who read it each week and were honest in your feedback. While I may not have agreed with all of the feedback, I certainly did listen. In addition to taking in the comments, I have went through and given it the copy edit it deserves. I want to thank my fellow writing community member from Twitter, Joe Garland, for all of the early help with editing, thank you Joe!
Aside from getting to live in the book again, my MOST favorite part of writing, where I am completely engrossed in the world and characters, I got to write Rachel and Ben’s HAPPY ENDING!!! Yep, you read that right. While I may not agree completely that romance must have a happily ever after to be considered romance (we can argue about that later) I did recognize the need for one here. I think a lot of the readers really felt cheated by the ending and for that I am sorry. The happy ending will appear in the book format only.
It is my hope that by self publishing Rachel and Ben’s story more people will have the opportunity to fall in love with their love story too. I’ll keep you all posted on the progress of self-publishing this novel, my first published novel. I plan to launch it on Amazon where Quarantine Stories was published as well.
Again, thank you to all of you who read it back in 2019 and I hope you’ll all stay tuned for the launch!