Wakes FAQ
The cover for Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up! reads that is an 'Alternate Ending.' What does this mean?

(Warning: It’s very difficult to explain or discuss the Alternate Ending version of Sleeping Beauty–which involved changing the ending of the novel–without divulging what the ending actually is, so for anyone who doesn’t want to know what the outcome of the original story is, STOP READING HERE!)

The original novel Sleeping Beauty is about a woman (Claire Beau) who has a sleep disorder called Kleine-Levin (aka “Sleeping Beauty”) Syndrome, which causes sufferers to black out for weeks at a time. Claire “awakens” after seven weeks to find that she’s supposedly in the middle of a whirlwind love affair with a man she despises (the gorgeous neurosurgeon Dr. Brendan Charmant), over the strenuous objections of her best friend (the hot surfer Davin Wibbens), who is also in love with her. In short: it’s a love triangle. Although the novel received mostly four- and five-star reviews on Amazon, fans seemed at the start to fall pretty solidly into three “camps”: Camp Brendan, Camp Davin, and Camp Whatever.

To illustrate, a typical Camp Davin review (or e-mail or Facebook post or tweet) reads like this:

Did not like characters.

OK, my title of this review is a little bit of a lie. I LOVED Davin. I hated Brendan…I wanted him out of the story…I had to force myself to finish it. And even then…I only did because I was hoping she would end up with Davin.

And here is a typical Camp Brendan review…

More depth than I expected

I was touched at how much Brendan obviously loved Claire: He was willing to start over again, at Square One, because the relationship they’d already developed was worth it, even if Claire didn’t remember any of it up to that point. … I think his actions helped Claire to choose the path she did when all was going down the tubes and things looked their worst.

And someone from Camp Whatever…

A Pleasant Surprise!

Brendan, West, and Davin provide interesting situations throughout the story. I laughed, cried, and debated outcomes with myself as I was reading. I would recommend this to anyone who likes some suspense with their romances.

In the original Sleeping Beauty, Claire ends up with Dr. Brendan Charmant. I was honestly flabbergasted by the Camp Davin phenomenon. For reasons that will completely ruin the novel for those who haven’t read it (if I haven’t accomplished that already), as an author there seemed to be compelling, straightforward reasons why Claire had to end up with Brendan Charmant. (In fact, one agent pointedly remarked that even the Claire/Brendan ending was “… probably too wacky … a bit too far outside the bounds of romance or romantic comedy etiquette.”) In my mind, a Claire/Davin ending was not even in the cards, and apparently even a Claire/Brendan pairing seemed to be pushing the conventional mold. Claire had to end up with Brendan Charmant…right?

And then I wrote an “alternate ending” for Sleeping Beauty in which Claire ends up with “the other guy” (i.e. Davin Wibbens). Who knew?

Does this mean that Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up is the same book with a different ending tacked on?
Absolutely not. If you’ve ever seen the movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow you’ll have a better idea of what was involved here. At the beginning of that movie, Gwyneth Paltrow is running to catch a train, and at that point the movie splits into two movies because in one world she’s not fast enough and the doors slide closed. In the parallel universe of sorts, she just makes it onto the train just as the doors slide closed behind her. That one, seemingly innocuous occurrence causes ripple effects in two very different directions, which the movie brilliantly chronicles. A tacked-on ending would never work in the novel because of the way the plot focuses more on the developing relationship between Claire and Brendan, with the poor, lovesick Davin relegated to more of a “major subplot.” Also, for reasons that (again) would absolutely spoil both novels, it is unlikely that keeping the books the same would allow readers to have any sympathy whatsoever for Davin’s rather prickly situation. In other words: no one would buy the ending if I simply switched out the names of the principal characters and gave her a “happily ever after” with Davin Wibbens. Sleeping Beauty and Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up! are exactly the same until Chapter 11. In Sleeping Beauty, Claire Beau trips on a cable on  a movie set and is saved from face-planting on the concrete by Dr Brendan Charmant. In Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up! that trip and near-fall never happens, which allows the heroine to make a startling and critically important discovery that naturally allows the book to cascade to a different and acceptable conclusion–her “happily ever after” with Davin Wibbens. Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up! contains at least 50 pages of new story and is slightly longer than Sleeping Beauty.
Will you write alternate ending versions of any of your other books?
Probably not. Sleeping Beauty is written in first person, from the perspective of Claire Beau. The reader is just as in the dark as Claire is about what’s happened during those seven weeks of her “episode.” Because of this, and the nature of the conflict (e.g. the love triangle between Claire, Davin, and Brendan), the novel was a natural fit for an alternate ending.
Was it strange for you to rewrite the novel after you thought it was already done?

It was strange, but in a good way. My characters are real people to me, and in the time it takes to write a book, the characters begin to feel like old friends. When a book is finished, all those people who you’ve come to care for disappear from your life. It would be as if a group of your “real-life friends” all suddenly told you that they didn’t like you anymore and stopped returning your calls. So going back to Sleeping Beauty manuscript and seeing my “old friends” was nothing but a pleasure. From a craft perspective, it was an interesting exercise. Simply jamming an alternate ending into the book would’ve felt completely contrived. The key was to go back through the manuscript and find the “tipping point” — that moment when, with one small change, events naturally unfold to a different conclusion. I treated the original and alternate versions as parallel universes, with the same characters wholly unaware of the presence of the others, and each making slightly different decisions that altered their futures. I never felt conflicted or uncomfortable while creating the alternate version.

How do I choose which novel to read?
It was important to me that the alternate version “stand on its own” without any reference to the original. That means that you can read Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up! without ever cracking open Sleeping Beauty (or even being aware of its existence). As far as how to choose, I would say that the ending of the alternate version pushes the “rules” of the romance genre even further than the original version. If you like your contemporary romances tidy and predictable, neither of the versions will probably satisfy you! But the original version certainly sticks more to the conventional formula of meet-cute/slight antagonism/romance/obstacle/hot makeup sex.
Which version do you like better?
Ugh, that’s like being asked to choose your favorite child. What started as a sort of writing exercise/PR strategy turned into an epiphany of sorts: the readers were right. They knew in a way that I didn’t recognize when I wrote the original that there were all sorts of reasons why Claire could have plausibly ended up with Davin Wibbens. They’re both strong stories and enjoyable novels, and many, many readers read both.
How did you come up with the idea for the cover for Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up?
Wakes 300-450-shadowI create my own covers using graphics from clipart website, but altering the graphic for the alternate version was outside my area of expertise, so I hired a graphic designer. I used the same graphic — a sleeping coffee cup — and had the graphic designer alter it slightly so that the cup’s eyes and mouth were “popped open” in surprise. I think it reflects both the idea of a different ending and the “shock” many readers may feel at just the idea of altering the ending of a novel.

♥ Return to Book FAQs