It’s the day before Thanksgiving and, frankly, I’ll be happy when this month is over. I have a lot of things to be thankful for, but they’re every-day things, like food to eat and a warm place to sleep. The sort of thing that gets overshadowed by all of the upheaval and sadness the universe has dealt out lately.
Interestingly, the main character of An American Thanksgiving is similarly grumpy. I’ve been doing this a lot lately- writing characters who share my mood, I mean. They’re not necessarily grumpy, either. Maria Mason of A Small and Inconvenient Disaster was of a fairly sunny disposition, but she was plagued by little, annoying problems every time she turned around, and nothing ever turned out precisely the way she wanted it to. Which is how I was feeling as I wrote the book.
But it all works out eventually. I like happy endings, whether it’s a book I’m reading or writing. I think I’ve written one distinctly unhappy ending, then promptly used it as a springboard to send the main character off on more adventures. So it wasn’t really an ending. The few downer endings that I’ve read have left me feeling like the book was unfinished- “What do you mean, that’s The End?! They just got to the Darkest Hour; where’s the last couple of chapters?!”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m not a darling of the literary world. My characters actually solve their problems, instead of leaving the reader hanging. So déclassé of me.
Since I can’t be the publishers’ darling, and don’t particularly want to, I think I’ll continue my quest to be quirkily popular with readers. To that end, I’ve written a story for Thanksgiving. And horror of horrors, it has a happy ending. What sort of happy ending, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to read it:
It is Thanksgiving Day, 1865, and Margaret Browne isn’t feeling very thankful. The war is over, and her grown-up sons have returned from the fighting, but her beloved husband remains absent, last seen a captive in a notorious prisoner-of-war camp. The Browne family muddles through their uncertain path, lost without their leader, but when everything begins to go wrong all at once, Margaret must hold together the farm and her family, and turn a disaster into a true day of thanks-giving.