I love it when authors make me fake-hate them.
It's like when you were a teenager, and your parents told you "no" to a party or something else you wanted to do. And you threw a fit, and in your epic teenager way screamed, "I hate you!"
But you didn't, really.
Because they were your parents, and you loved them, and they (hopefully) knew best. Even if you didn't like their decision, they were being parents and just doing their job.
So back to authors:
I just finished the audiobook of The Knife of Never Letting Go, and I really fake-hate Patrick Ness for doing his job.
There were a couple times writing the book (one, especially) where he must've approached a metaphorical crossroads. Two choices. One was the right choice for the story, but it risked his readers hating him and/or turning against his main character. The other option was safe, but wrong for the book, wrong for the character's journey. The weaker, more cowardly choice.
Both times, he made the right decision. As a reader, they were wide-eyed, heart-clutching, gasping "Oh nooooo he didn't" moments, and my insides were screaming "Undo it! Undo it!" (a la Spike in the Buffy Thanksgiving episode that is my favorite).
As a writer, I wished I wore a hat so I could tip it to him, because I was all internally nodding like, "Yes, good sir, that was what needed to happen." (I also wish I were British, because that deserves an accent.)
It reminded me how much I love unpredictable authors.
In their books, no one is safe. Happy endings aren't guaranteed, and there's a good chance a book will break your heart, even if it cobbles the pieces back together.
I like to call this The Joss Whedon Effect because he excels at not giving characters happy endings or teasing them with their every heart's desire before tearing it away (ahem, the "I Will Remember You" episode of Angel). Life can be unfair to good people, and good people can make terrible, terrible choices (and suffer the consequences), and he represents both in his TV shows. If you're lucky, his characters get a happy-ish ending that's entirely different from what you hoped for. But it's totally right, because what happiness he gives them, they've earned.
So this is my love letter to authors behaving bravely.
PS - I hate you.