One of the best things about having a book published is hearing from readers. The question I’m asked most often about Jump the Cracks is: “What happens after the book ends?”
At first this question surprised me, and I wasn’t sure how to answer it, because (of course) I think the ending is perfect the way it is. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that it’s a great question, because it means you got so wrapped up in the story that you kept thinking about it after you finished reading. I like that.
But I suppose, since so many of you have asked, you deserve an answer. What DOES happen after the pages of the book close? Does Wills grow up happy? Who raises him? Will Victoria ever see him again?
I have a confession to make: Originally, I wrote a different ending. An ending that answers all of those questions, without any doubt. I tied the story up in a neat little bow.
And then I changed it.
Because the thing is, when you’re writing a story for readers who are smart enough to think about what they’re reading, it’s not fair to do the thinking for them. So I changed the ending for a couple of reasons:
1. A “neat” ending wouldn’t have fit the story. After all, Jump the Cracks is about a bunch of imperfect people trying hard to do their best (well, most of them, anyway). It wouldn’t have made sense to end the story with everyone suddenly perfect and doing all the right things.
2. The open ending allows each reader to imagine his or her own perfect ending—whatever that might be.
Think of it as one of those “You decide” stories.
Are you a sucker for a happy ending? The possibilities are there, at the end of Jump the Cracks, for a perfect, storybook ending. All you have to do is fill in the blanks.
Or maybe you like your stories gritty and more true-to-life. The possibilities for that type of ending are also there, in the story. Just fill in the blanks.