"The first time I saw her it was raining.”
That’s the opening line of my novel, Still Counting. It’s a line that’s been rattling around in my head for about 20 years, but I’d never found the right place to use it – until I began writing my first romance. I had an idea to write an Erich Segal-like Love Story for the 21st century. I wanted the characters to deal with contemporary issues on top of the usual complications of young love, and I wanted them to be thrown together at a moment of deep emotion.
So what’s that have to do with rain? I envisioned Adam, the male lead, leaning against his Jeep grieving the loss of his beloved chocolate Lab. I included rain partly to add ambience to the scene; but also to signal Nina, the female lead, that this young man was clearly in pain. Think about it this way – a guy leaning against his car in bright sunshine might just be soaking up the rays or waiting for someone. The same guy doing the same thing in the rain tells a whole different story.
So this was a classic case of killing three birds with one stone (not that I would ever kill a bird or any other non-insect being). I introduced Adam’s loss, established Nina’s generous and empathetic nature, and got to use the opening line that’s waited two decades to be released onto the world.