Get Hooked On Writing!

Issue # 4 Tuesday, May 26, 1998

This Week's Author: Sandra L. Toney

Sandra Toney is an award-winning writer who has appeared in hundreds of magazines such as Writer's Digest, Soap Opera Weekly, Your Health, Cats Magazine, Woman's Own, Country America, and many others. She lives in Plymouth, Indiana, with her husband, Ray, and four VERY spoiled felines.
The author may be reached at



Sequel to a Classic

(Are dead authors rolling over in their graves?)

When I first entered the bookstore and saw the book, H: The Story of Heathcliff's Journey Back to Wuthering Heights my heart literally stopped beating for a moment. My favorite book, Wuthering Heights, had a sequel? With Emily Bronte being dead for one hundred and forty-four years, who, then, had the nerve to tell the literary world what really happened to Heathcliff? Curiosity overwhelmed me and I purchased Lin Haire-Sargeant's book. The temptation was too great to ignore. I devoured it in two days. The ending was unbelievable; I couldn't have hoped for anything more. But, what about Emily Bronte? Was she perhaps rolling over in her grave?

Wuthering Heights taught us about unrequited love. It taught us about lifelong suffering. Emily Bronte never intended for Cathy and Heathcliff to live "happily ever after." In fact, if Cathy and Heathcliff had ended up together, the book may not have been the success that it is today. The attraction of Wuthering Heights is the extreme sorrow associated with its characters; the bitterness Heathcliff endured because he could never have the woman he loved. These are the reasons that novel became a classic! If Emily Bronte had given Heathcliff and Cathy a "happily ever after" ending, then her book would not have stood above so many others. We never forgot Wuthering Heights because of its powerful and agonizing conclusion.

And no one can forget Rhett Butler's parting words to Scarlett, "My dear, I don't give a damn." That statement alone made Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Winda tremendous force in literary history. As much as we wanted Rhett to forgive Scarlett, we knew that he could not! Rhett had to preserve what little dignity he had left. The book would have NOT lived so long in our hearts and minds had Scarlett and Rhett ended up together.

When Alexandra Ripley's sequel, Scarlett, became a bestseller, how could I resist knowing what became of that spoiled brat, Scarlett O'Hara? But, like Emily Bronte, what did Margaret Mitchell think of this renowned union of her two forlorn lovers, Rhett and Scarlett? It was never supposed to be.

Gone with the Wind emphasized that people like Scarlett O'Hara end up alone. Greed and careless desires have no place in humanity. Margaret Mitchell showed the world that people get what they have coming to them. Scarlett thought that Rhett would wait forever while she continually rebuffed him. This book never would have risen to "classic" proportions had Rhett forgiven the woman who had given him so much grief and heartache. It was an important literary lesson.

I can't, however, say that I wasn't overjoyed when Alexandra Ripley's novel finally brought Rhett and Scarlett together. What I do question, though, is the validity of a sequel. If it was destined to have the Rhett and Scarletts, the Cathy and Heathcliffs, TOGETHER, then the original, history-making authors would have done so. These things were not meant to be. When will it end? Perhaps the next step is to discover that after Romeo kills himself, Juliet, who survives her stab wounds, opens her eyes and says, "Thou art a fool, Romeo." and laughs herself senseless. Could it ever happen? Juliet: Portrait of a Seductress just might "becometh" my next novel.

Part of the original Sideroad.
Text © 1998, Sandra L. Toney.
Editor: Shara Smock.
Production: Erin Grainger.
The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at

Shara Rendell-Smock, authorContributing Editor Shara Rendell-Smock brings a wealth of writing experience to the Sideroad; She has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles (including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune) and published two books (see below.) An original member of the Sideroad team, she wrote 27 issues of - "Go to Health! Because Life's Too Short - before taking on the Writing section.

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at

"Getting Hooked"

"Living With Big Cats"