January has five weeks. You might already have discovered that, but it keeps tripping *me* up.

I harbor a bit of an adventurous spirit. Which is why I’ve lived in three different countries, and sometimes find myself in peculiar situations (like alone in a snowstorm, or on the deck of a tall ship with nothing but ocean as far as the eye can see, or using a wringer washer for laundry and… well, you know, writing fodder). But routine? Routine saves my life. And my craving for routine demands that all months have four weeks, even if I technically know it isn’t so.

My love of routine is also part of the reason I love the romance genre and its expectations of happy endings. No matter how much emotional mire, tears, or dread I might encounter in a book, I know that far off in the distance, somewhere beyond all of it, the sure happy ending hovers, waiting for its moment to shine. Before I close the book, I know it will be mine.

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I’ve been writing for a long time, going on 23 years. And that whole time, I’ve been writing stories with happy endings. Even as a (writing) child, I sensed that there was so much hurt and unhappiness in life already, that I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to read about it too. Hence, I traded depressing tomes of prime Russian literature for the happy endings of romance stories. Yes, I love the tension, the push and pull of people finding their way in love, but what I’ve loved the most has always been the end.

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Knowing there will be a happy ending is like a promise hovering over the story, giving me hope that as bleak as it might look (and even romantic stories can get very bleak), good will prevail. Even if there is heartbreak along the way, I know I’ll close the book with a smile on my lips, that satisfied sigh, and one more dream in my heart.

Whether I read fantasy, young adult, contemporary, suspense, historical, or biblical fiction, they are usually romances. Because I like reading about falling in love? Sure. But mostly, I just need to know that no matter how my heart breaks through reading, how much I cry, laugh, perch at the edge of my seat, in the end, the characters (and by extension, I) will be okay.

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What about you? Do you read romance for the happy endings?

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If not, what draws you?

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Austin Ryan makes her home in a forest clearing in the nutmegy part of New England.

In love with words, books and all things related, she can usually be found either reading or writing, or even reading about writing.

She wrote her first story at seven, an illustrated adventure about a troll girl retrieving her doll from the moon. The story was self-published in one copy, and most likely still exists in her mother’s attic.

Since then she’s written numerous stories, and now she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Austin writes inspirational romance, working her way toward publication one paragraph at a time.

Apart from all things bookish, her favorite past times include going on adventures with the-best-six-year-old-ever, hanging (more) twinkle lights around the house, or simply watching the waves roll in from the ocean.

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