Living on Vancouver Island or the ‘Wet Coast’ as I do, it’s no surprise that rain features in my stories. People who read my upcoming books are going to notice a common thread – a lot of bad weather. A critique group partner once said, shivering, “Gawd, can you write rain. I feel like I’m standing in it!”
My first three books have rain in them. In all three, the weather is partly plot device and partly atmosphere. I didn’t purposely choose rain so I wonder why I do this. I mean, why not sunshine? Is it because I grew up on Vancouver Island, surrounded by temperate rain forest?
I do enjoy the contrast between a tense scene set in a rainstorm, and the warmth of a tender scene afterwards. Or vice versa. Maybe I write rain because it evokes something in me, like it might in an artist. After all, rain is essential to life. Fortunately for my hero and heroine, sunny days lie ahead.
Rain creates mood and possibilities. When it’s raining, like it or not, something is happening. It’s active. Following a long dry period, as we had this summer during the heat wave, it’s glorious to walk in a rainstorm. On the flip side, what could be nicer, during the same rainstorm, than curling up in a cozy corner with a good book and a cup of tea? Or simply snoozing?
“Save a boyfriend for a rainy day – and another, in case it doesn’t rain.” – Mae West
The pleasures of curling up with a good book aside, science says rain has a number of healthy benefits. Rain has a scent called petrichor, especially when it strikes the earth after a dry period. Our noses are sensitive and attracted to the chemicals produced, which may be connected to our distant past and the necessity of rain for survival. The sound of rain is meditative and soothing to most people, reproduced everywhere in white noise apps. Recently Japanese researchers showed that physical exercise in cold, wet weather speeds up metabolism – more calories burned!
There are different types of rain: relief rainfall, occurring near mountains; convectional rainfall; and frontal rainfall caused by warm fronts meeting cooler air. I think on Vancouver Island we must experience all three!
The background to my life is rain in all its nuances and it emerges in my writing.
“Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life. ” – John Updike