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WHA: Post-Epilogues

A long time ago now (this was way pre-COVID, when I still went to an office regularly), I was standing in my bathroom, getting ready for work, and my wife was sitting on the bed. I don’t remember what we were talking about before this, if anything, but I had an idea. I get them a lot, and sometimes, she rolls her eyes at me. Other times, she says, "Yeah, do that." So, I never quite know what I’m going to get. That morning, I said something to the effect of "What if I write something like post-epilogues that take place after the epilogues in each of the stories in a series?"

When I wrote my first "What Happened After" for the Chicago Series, it wasn’t something I planned to do for every series, but I just wasn’t ready to let go of those characters yet. I also hadn’t seen that done before, and when I read a story, sometimes the epilogue just isn’t enough, even when I love it. So, I wrote about 10,000 words per couple, and the stories take place after the series has wrapped and, sometimes, years in the future. One of the things I like doing is creating relatable, dynamic characters, who feel like real people. That means that their lives don’t end when they say, "I love you," or someone proposes, or even with a wedding. Sometimes, that’s really when the story picks up. A "WHA" allows me to tell short stories with the new conflicts the characters might face after they get together, but still give them their happy ending.

The Celebrities Series WHA is slightly different, and that was purposeful. I published All the Love Songs and wrote No After You long before Midnight Tradition and Path Forward existed, so their post-epilogue was written already; it just wasn’t published yet. As a result, I put Kenzie & Lennox with Peyton & Dani into one story (Part I in the WHA finale), and Maddox & Avery and Jessica & Val got Part II. The rest of these generally have 10k per couple, and the other characters still make appearances in each of the shorts.

Some couples move away, and that can be sad, but it’s good for them and their growth either together or in their careers. Others have babies. Some get married. Others get new jobs. Sometimes, there're arguments, and there’s always the making up part, too, because my stories have HEAs even in the WHA finales.