So, I've been wondering something, what makes a good book hangover? Maybe we should start with what a 'book hangover' is. From what I can gather is it's when a book is so emotional, good, sad, bad or glad that you can't start a new book for several days because you're still too 'hungover' from the last one. We all have had those kinds of books, rights? The ones that hit a little too close to home. The ones that kill off our favorite character. The ones that throw us such a loop at the end we didn't see it coming. Sometimes it's even the ones that are just so good you spend an entire day reading a book, disrespecting sleep and all other engagements.
I tend to have book hangovers with every book I read. I'm not the kind of reader who can finish one book and immediately open a new one. I need time to think about the book, ruminate in the characters and the events that I had been immersed in. The only time I can start a new book immediately is if it's a series (I'm really into the High Heels Mystery series right now) because I can keep reading about my favorite characters. I can only think of one in recent history that had me so totally unable to function. That was:
This book left me unable to read for a week after I finished. I think the main reason was because IT.COULD.HAPPEN. As a mother with a teenage girl I struggled through what I had read for days, but not in a bad way, just in the hangover kind of way where you know it's gonna be hell the next day, but you're going to do it again because you had that much fun! (Note: Finding Claire Fletcher is not 'fun' but for lack of a better word I used that. I would still read it all over again knowing how it was going to end).
As an author, I thought I had written some hangover books myself. Three came to mind: Sugar's Dance, Winter's Rain, and my new upcoming release Magnificent Agony. I know they destroyed me as the author and I needed time to let them ruminate and run through my soul. It made total sense to me that the readers would feel the same, but alas, that hasn't been the case. I've been wondering why but I think I may have come up with a couple of reasons, at least from what I could gather from people who have read said books. The first actually goes along with my own experiences, all my books belong to a series, so they know when one book ends, if they open the next they get to be swept back into that world again. As a writer I can say that's exactly why I write series. I'm never quite ready for them to end because there is so much more to that story. The second reason I can't pull off a book hangover is because my characters are strong, independent women (and a few guys as well) and regardless of their past or present, they believe they will have the future they have always dreamed about.
Ultimately I guess I'll never be a good "book hangover" writer because even though there is angst and pain in the stories, I can't leave them on a note that isn't at the very least, bittersweet. I feel that if the reader has walked through that whole journey with the character they deserve that happiness that comes from a HEA, or at the very least, the hope for one. I used to be really bummed that no one will consider any of my stories worthy of the title 'book hangover', but then again I also don't want anyone to shy away from another one of my books because the last one left them too unsatisfied.
So, tell me, from your own experience, what makes a good book hangover for you? Is it angst, is it pain, is it twists and turns, is it the loss of a favorite character, is it the happily ever after, or is it all of the above? I would love to hear your ideas and what books have left you with your head in your hands :)