For those who have not read it ― that would be most of you ― the concluding book of my Malvern Trilogy, ‘Hero from the Sea,’ has a decidedly unhappy (or, at least, tragic) ending. I agonized over that for some time but do not at all regret it now.
I won’t include any spoilers here. I’ll simply say it worked for the story. Tragic events in other novels have worked, as well, but I never ended on that sort of note. They were part of the protagonist finding his way to that more-or-less happy ending. Oh, sure, what happens in ‘Hero’ was also part of that process, ultimately, but it is only suggested that Malvern will go on to find some sort of meaning to it all.
Fortunately, there was another trilogy to follow and, although Malvern is not the protagonist in any of the novels, he appears and hints are provided of how his inner life has played out. The man may just appear as narrator of one more novel, if I get around to a third and final trilogy in the Mora world.
So, have I ― or would I ― do this sort of thing again? I very much intended an ‘unhappy ending’ for the first Cully Beach novel, ‘Shaper.’ It turned out quite differently and that was to the good. There is certainly no tragedy involved in my latest, ‘Asanas,’ (to be released June 16) though many of the plot lines end on an unhappy note. That is as much to set up a sequel as anything else (not that one is actually necessary ― the novel does stand on its own).
I am not out to write feel-good novels. Neither do I wish to turn out melodramatic tragedies that manipulate the reader’s emotions. The goal is to write good stories. Sometimes things end well, sometimes they don’t. The two tales in active development at the moment (one a mystery, one a fantasy) should end happily enough. Some down the line might not. Those will be dealt with I get to them. I will choose and I will not regret the choice.