Elite athlete Rainey Abbott is an intense competitor on the outside, but inside, she feels a daunting apprehension about her chances of finding true love. Her life as a downhill skier and race car driver keeps her on the edge, but her love life is stuck in neutral. A tragedy from her past has left her feeling insecure and unlovable.
Now that she’s in her thirties, Rainey’s best friend Natalie insists she take a leap and try online dating. Rainey connects with brian85 and becomes cautiously hopeful as a natural attraction grows between them. Fearful a face to face meeting could ruin the magic, Rainey enlists Natalie to scheme up an encounter between the two where Brian is unaware he is meeting his online mystery woman. Rainey is left feeling both guilty about the deception and disappointed by something Brian says.
When they finally meet in earnest, Rainey’s insecurities threaten to derail the blossoming romance. As she struggles with self-acceptance, she reveals the risks we all must take to have a chance for love.
“Sometimes going shopping is work,” Natalie announces as we head back to her house after a morning at the mall. “You can’t be creative when you’ve been jammed up in an office for five hours. You have to get out for new ideas to come to you.”
“I love how you can rationalize almost any of life’s indulgences,” I say. Nat turns and winks in response to my playful smirk.
“Life is too short to deny yourself all self-indulgent behavior.” The words hang in the air slightly, as we both know it was an off-handed comment, but our minds go immediately back to the event that reinforces her words.
“Yes, life is short.” I say this in a way that reassures her that her comment was taken in the spirit it was said, rather than meant to dredge up bad memories. Though I can’t help but elaborate on the subject. “Do you realize I’m only six years shy of my mom’s age at the time of the accident?”
“Yep,” Nat answers a bit too quickly. “I do. And I also realize something else. Your mom was thirty-eight, married to the love of her life and had two charming young girls.” I quickly realize I have given her the perfect segue into a lecture that has been constructed, rehearsed, and delivered to me many times in many different iterations over the past ten years. Now, as if she is attempting an intervention while we drive down Colorado Boulevard, Natalie blurts out, “Rainey, it’s about time we found you a man.”
“Why? Are you getting tired of hanging out with me?”
“It’s not that,” she says. “It’s just. That. It’s time,” the words spit out of her mouth. It’s obvious she wants to punctuate her points. “You can’t keep running away from it. You’re an incredible catch—beautiful and charming to be around. Athletic. Everything most girls would die to be.”
I know she is keenly aware of my resistance, but I get the feeling she isn’t going to fall for it today. But I also can’t ignore my feelings or my truth.
On September 17, 2000, Tricia Downing went from being a competitive cyclist to a paraplegic requiring a wheelchair for mobility. Her life was changed forever, but Tricia’s competitive spirit and zest for life continued on. Making the transition from able-bodied cyclist to an athlete with a disability, Tricia has completed over 100 races, including marathons and triathlons, since her accident. She was the first female paraplegic to complete an Ironman triathlon and qualified for the Hawaii Ironman World Championship twice. Additionally, she was a member of Team USA at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Tricia’s professional life has been immersed in sports as she earned a master’s degree in Sport Management in 1995 and worked at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. She was the press officer for the USA Table Tennis team at the 1996 Olympic Games.
She has received many sports accolades, including the USA Triathlon Physically Challenged Athlete of the Year (2003), Sportswomen of Colorado—Inspiration (’03), Triathlon (’05), Hall of Fame (’12) Awards, the 2006 Most Inspirational Athlete from the Challenged Athletes Foundation and the 2008 Courage Award from the Tempe Sports Authority.
As a community leader and disability advocate, she was a member of the 2013 class of the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction. She also received the 2019 Inspiration Award from Craig Hospital for outstanding community contribution from a Craig Hospital “graduate.” (Craig is a world-renowned spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospital) Tricia has truly excelled despite her life-altering injury.
In addition to her sports pursuits, Tricia has taken an active leadership role in her community as a peer mentor to others experiencing spinal cord injuries, she founded Camp Discovery (and subsequently The Cycle of Hope non-profit) dedicating 10 years to helping female wheelchair users gain confidence and self-esteem through a yearly sports and fitness retreat. Additionally, she serves on the board of USA Shooting, which is the National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of shooting.
Tricia published her memoir: Cycle of Hope—A Journey from Paralysis to Possibility in June 2010, with the second edition released in January 2017. In August of 2018, she published her first fiction novel Chance for Rain.
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Who do you admire most and why?
I think the person I admire most was my grandma Downing, my dad’s mom. She was an English teacher, mom to five kids, grandma to seventeen grandchildren and a storyteller, note taker and historian. When she passed away and we went through her house, all of the grandchildren were allowed to take things that reminded us of her. I ended up taking many pieces of the vintage clothing she had collected throughout her life. She had labeled each piece with the year she bought it, the special occasion for which it was purchased or given and any other details she found relevant. I have clothes from her collection that date back to the 1920’s. I also got her “Commonplace Book.”
I found this definition in a blog online which describes this type of collection of articles, quotes, prayers and more:
For centuries, authors and thinkers have kept commonplace books: focused journals that serve to collect thoughts, quotes, moments of introspection, transcribed passages from reading — anything of purpose worth reviewing later.
Why keep a commonplace book today? When we are inundated by information through social media and our digital devices, it’s easy to overlook what drives and intrigues us. Keeping a journal helps, but keeping a focused journal is better, even if that focus is on self-fulfillment. (https://criticalmargins.com/the-commonplace-book-as-a-thinkers-journal-4d65231f30ec)
What is the title of your first book (published or non-published)?
The first book I wrote was a memoir called Cycle of Hope. It is the story of my bike accident, what it was like to lose the use of my legs and become a paraplegic. It was a pretty massive change in my life and took a long time to accept and make the transition. But along the way, as I started doing sports again and began seeing parts of “me” re-emerge, I got to a point of acceptance and even joy. That was something I never thought I would feel again, but I’ve actually had the opportunity to do some amazing things as a result of my injury and I feel like I have personally pushed myself further because I know how fortunate I was to get a second chance at life. I think it has allowed me to take risks, and one of those risks was to start living and doing the things I wanted to be doing rather than what I thought other people expected of me. So, my journey has taught me to go for my dreams because you never know which day will be your last. And it might come much sooner than you expect. It’s taught me to live with no regrets.
When did you decide to become an author?
I majored in Journalism in college, so I’ve been doing some sort of writing ever since, whether it be magazine articles, press releases or speaking presentations. I wrote Cycle of Hope in 2010. I didn’t know when I wrote that book, that writing would become something that I would pursue and have a desire to turn out more books. Further, I never imagined I would turn to a fiction writing career, but after completing Chance for Rain as my debut novel, I am excited about jumping into another story and honing my writing skills. It has been an incredible experience from pushing myself as a writer, to learning about the production and marketing side of publishing. I look forward to continuing to write to see what comes up for me next!
What inspired you to write Chance for Rain?
Chance for Rain started out merely as a fun side project for me. The seedlings of the story came to me one night as I was falling asleep and nearly kept me up all night. Each time I put my head back on the pillow, another scene, sentence or paragraph came to me and I had to keep sitting up, pulling out the notebook and writing everything down so I wouldn’t forget it by morning. Once I got to writing and getting into the character of Rainey, it became an opportunity for me to highlight a character with a disability, and in the process of telling her story, I was able to add teaching moments into the manuscript that highlighted disability etiquette and awareness, to give the reader a perspective that might be something different than the norm. So often in the movies, we see characters with disabilities as being tragic, unhappy characters, or the opposite—overly inspiring; the character who overcomes his/her disability to do something that no one thought was possible. In Chance for Rain, my goal was to make Rainey an interesting and believable character, but one with a universal problem to tackle—a problem that could belong to anyone. And in this case, a concern about her ability to fall in love and to experience that love in return.
How long did it take you to write?
Chance for Rain took eight years to complete. Although the first notes were written in 2010, the book didn’t come to fruition until 2018. When I began writing the book, I had no immediate goal for it, I mostly wrote when the mood struck me and put it away for months and years at a time. But when I mentioned to my husband about all of the half-written manuscripts on my computer, he suggested it was time to do something about them. He encouraged me, saying if I felt I had something to share, I should get busy getting it out into the world. So, I would say, out of the eight years CFR was sitting on my computer, I actively worked on it for about two. The other six years were spent wondering if it was good enough to publish or if I had the guts to go through the editing process (and potentially see massive markups throughout). Eventually, I decided to give it a go and I was fueled by the opportunity to share my world with readers—what it’s like to live with a disability like paraplegia and to hopefully surprise people with how normal life can be even when a wheelchair involved.
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November 4: Fabulous and Brunette
November 4: Fabulous and Brunette
November 5: Christine Young
November 6: Romance Novel Giveaways
November 7: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
November 8: Read Your Writes Book Reviews
November 11: Viviana MacKade
November 12: BookChatter
November 13: Readeropolis
November 14: Locks, Hooks and Books
November 15: Welcome to My World of Dreams
November 18: Joanne Guidoccio
November 19: All the Ups and Downs
November 20: The Avid Reader
November 21: Our Town Book Reviews
November 22: Long and Short Reviews