When I first saw that the topic of this post was my favorite HEA, I was frozen with trying to pick my favorite book HEA. So many choices! But after thinking through it, I realized that my favorite HEA is the one that I believe made me a romance writer. But it’s not a book. It’s a movie.
When I was around ten, I watched Dirty Dancing for the first time and fell in love. You can question if that was a wise choice of movie for a ten-year old, but I can confirm that I had no idea what was going on with the Penny storyline or even the sex. All I knew was that there was good music, great dancing, and romance with a capital R. I was instantly obsessed. New Kids on the Block posters were rearranged, and this poster promptly went up on my wall. I had a new crush.
I obviously didn’t realize it at the time, but that movie planted the romance seed that would eventually grow into the career I have now. I had never been swept away by a story in that way. And at that time in my life, there was a lot of transition, so the idea of a happily ever after really resonated with me. Without realizing it, I experienced for myself what kind of comfort a fictional HEA could provide in a time of stress. I’ve never lost that love for an HEA since.
And the movie keeps on giving me things even all these years later. Recently, I’ve started teaching online romance writing courses (Rock That Romance Novel: The Beginner Course and the How to Write Love Scenes course), and when I was writing my lectures on romance structure, I realized that Dirty Dancing is the perfect example for demonstrating romance story structure. (The 1987 version. Do not get me started on the remake.) So now I get to use the movie in an academic way and break down the beats of the story for new writers. Dirty Dancing is homework, y’all. Ask me how much I love my job, lol.