by: Tricia Downing
Genre: Chick Lit/Romance
Release Date: August 29, 2018
Publisher: Front Street Press
Amazon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
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.
Hi Tricia. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
I’m well, thank you! So happy to be on your blog.
I’m glad you’re here. Before we get started, I have to tell you...I really love the cover for Chance for Rain. Did you have a say in what the cover would look like?
I would love to take the credit for the cover, but I gave my cover designer very few restrictions. I wanted to have a heart on the cover in some way, since it is a love story and you can’t necessarily tell that from the title alone, but the rest I left up to Victoria (designer). She gave me about thirteen options to pick from, I narrowed it to four and I did a Facebook poll among my friends. The final cover was the overwhelming winner.
I love the sound of Chance for Rain. What can you tell me about it?
My inspiration for the book came from both my life and the lives of the many women I have met who have disabilities. I was paralyzed in a cycling accident when I was 31. Just at the age when my friends were getting married, having children, getting settled in their careers, I was learning skills for the first time again—getting around in a wheelchair, driving with hand controls, figuring out how to take care of my new physical situation. I had moments when I wondered if I would ever find a relationship. Would I find a guy who loved me despite my situation?
Chance for Rain, started with some of my own experiences, but is a fusion of stories I’ve heard from many women with disabilities. In the book, 32-year-old Rainey Abbott’s best friend, Natalie, has decided it’s time for her to find the love of her life. But Rainey is skeptical because as a 14-year-old, she was in an accident with her family, and was paralyzed from the waist down and doesn’t believe that anyone will love her as a result of her disability and the fact that she uses a wheelchair for mobility.
Please tell me more about Rainey. What is she like, what are her hopes and fears, what motivates her?
Rainey is feisty, she’s an athlete. She’s confident on the ski slopes, yet terrified of going on a date. She has a big heart, but is afraid of being vulnerable. But over the course of the story, she learns that to fall in love, she is going to have to let down her guard and truly trust in another person.
What can you tell me about Brian?
Brian is truly a good guy, with honest intentions. But Rainey’s reactions to his seemingly not great moments, are actually the result of her projecting her insecurities upon him. He wants to do the right thing, but is led astray by the information Rainey has shared with or kept from him. But relationships require two people opening up and sharing both the good and the bad. Can they learn to love each other for what they each bring to the relationship?
Why do you think Brian and Rainey are right for each other?
Mostly because I wrote them that way! I was always cheering for them, but I wanted to be realistic about the insecurities that we all bring to relationships. I don’t think anyone goes into a relationship thinking, “I’ve got this all sewn up because I’m perfect and he/she will never find anything wrong with me.” We all have flaws and that is what makes us human. The goal is to find that person who accepts your flaws and all and still loves you with all their heart. That is what Brian and Rainey learn to do and why they are right for each other.
How much of yourself did you put into Rainey’s character?
I put a good deal of myself into Rainey, but also the perspectives of many women I know who have disabilities. Disability is still a subject that people don’t talk about, or they are afraid of being offensive or saying something wrong, so a lot of times when you have a disability, you can feel invisible or unlovable. I wanted to be able to show the reality of this feeling, but also wanted readers to see that with a little compassion and communication, it is something that is easily overcome. It’s simply a different way of living life, but it’s not bad or wrong. I was nervous when I went on my first dates with my (now) husband, wondering what he was going to make of my disability, but I found that over time, it really wasn’t a big deal at all.
On a personal note, you’re like a superwoman. I’m in awe of you competing in Iron Man. That activity is SUPER grueling. How did you prepare for something so intense?
To compete in the Ironman means a lot of hours invested in training. At the height of my iron distance triathlon career, I was spending up to 25 hours a week training. That included two-hour swims, ten-hour bikes and 2-3 hours in my racing chair. It required a lot of dedication on my part and an equal amount of understanding on the part of my husband, Steve. I was either working, eating, working out or sleeping. The house was a mess, I was often tired and it was a time-consuming task, but it was what I wanted to be doing. When you put that much time into something you have to truly believe in it. It’s a lot like writing a novel!
You mentioned your accident earlier. I feel as though I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Cycle of Hope. Your story is inspiring. What has all of this taught you?
My memoir, Cycle of Hope, 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. 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.
Tricia, thank you so much for answering some questions for me.
It is such a well-thought-out speech there is little I can say in protest. I want to mouth off and tell her that she is being a drama queen, but the truth is, she’s right. When I lay on my deathbed one day, will I wish I had someone beside me to hold my hand? Will I wish I would have taken the risk to love and be loved? Although her nagging words are not new to me, I still choke on their bitter sting. I don’t disagree. I only wish I believed it was so simple. But—it’s complicated. For a moment, I am speechless.
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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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