Weather or Not with Terri Osburn

I’m delighted to welcome an Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and longtime buddy of ours, Terri Osburn, back to the Lair.  The second book in Terri’s wonderful Anchor Island series, Up to the Challenge, is out, and we’ll be chatting about that along with our main topic, weather and romance.  Welcome, Terri!

Terri_Osburn_headshot_ImageThanks, Nancy!  Weather seems to be a prime topic these days. Considering the alternatives, which are politics, war, and inane celebrity haircut freak outs, I’ll take it. I mean, it happens, right? It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dry.

It’s always something.

 Even in books. Though I admit, I sometimes forget to mention it. I get so wrapped up in what’s going on inside my characters heads and hearts, I forget that it can’t be sunny every single day. Breezes happen, sun heats up the pavement, and rain can ruin a really good hair day. But I’m getting better.

I’ve come to think of weather as the musical score to a book. In the movies, music sets the tone. It can create anticipation, dread, anxiety, fear, or even calm in the viewer. In books, weather can work in a similar way.

In a Romantic Suspense the heroine might be driving late at night through a downpour along a deserted back road when her check engine light comes on. Or maybe a tire goes flat. Now, you know it’s a suspense so you know this isn’t good, but as you’re reading along in the heroine’s head and visibility becomes more difficult and the lightning strikes and the thunder rolls…

You’re quite likely to come up for air and find that you’re teetering on the edge of your seat. 

At the same time, if a story begins with a clear sunny day and not a cloud in the sky, then you’re relaxed. Maybe you’re reading along with the hero and he’s whistling. You can feel the warm caress of the sun on your skin, and you don’t realize it, but you’re smiling.

And considering recent events, we can’t forget about the snow and cold. Oh, how we love the snowbound couple forced to huddle together for warmth. To drink hot chocolate by the raging fire as the blizzard rages outside. Or maybe they’re lost in the mountains when the storm hits and fighting for their lives. As the snow keeps falling, we wonder if they’ll make it to safety.

And again, we’re on the edge of our seats.

Early-CoverIn my current release, Up to the Challenge, my couple got a little help from Hurricane Ingrid. (Ironically, when I wrote the book, there had been no such storm. Then not long before it released, we had Hurricane Ingrid. Could not have planned that any better.)

Sid and Lucas, my head-butting couple trying who have been trying to ignore the sexual spark between them for nearly 200 pages, get caught in the storm. Nothing like a little hail and high wind to get the adrenaline going.  Here’s an excerpt:

The sound of the rain driving against the shed roof made it impossible to hear, so he motioned toward the door and she nodded in response. Lifting two cans, Sid ran out first, with Lucas close behind. They didn’t make it ten feet before tiny balls of ice filled the air, pelting them like golf balls on a driving range.

He heard a scream seconds before the cans hit the ground and Sid’s ass followed suit. The back porch was less than twenty feet away so Lucas made a hard right, dropped his two on the deck, then slid them toward the door. When he turned back, Sid was sitting with her arms over her head, trying to protect herself from the pounding hail.

She shouldn’t be out here, damn it. Shredding the ground between them, Lucas swept Sid off the ground, cradling her against his chest to offer what little protection he could.

“Wait,” she screamed. “We need the gas!”

He bent at the knees so she could reach the two cans, then once she had a solid grip, broke into a run again. He’d wonder later where he found the strength to pull off the Herculean task, but in that moment he’d have carried the damn shed if it meant getting Sid safe inside.

 Ducking into the garage, he tossed Sid to her feet and turned to close the door behind them. As he slid the latch home, he heard Sid dragging the generator into the middle of the floor.

 “Forget it,” he barked, grabbing her arm and dragging her to the inside door.

“But we need—”

“Dry first.” Pushing her into the kitchen, he bent to loosen his shoelaces, kicking the Nikes off next to the entry rug, then ripping off his socks and dropping them inside. “You got towels around here?” he asked, looking up to find Sid staring at him.

He couldn’t see more than her outline in the darkness, but her stance expressed loud and clear what his body had been telling him for days. They stood there, in Sid’s pristine kitchen, panting and dripping in silence for what felt like an eternity before Sid launched herself against him.

Needless to say, as Ingrid picks up steam outside, Sid and Lucas create lots of steam of their own inside.

For more information about Terri and her books, check out her website.

Do you notice the weather in the books you read? Would you notice if a book had perfect weather all the way through and think it odd? (It should rain some time, right?) And how is the weather in your corner of the world? Are you staying warm or maybe too warm down there in Australia? 

Comment today for a chance to win Kindle version of either of my first 2 Anchor Island books (winners choice – international) and be sure to enter my Belated Blog Tour grand prize giveaway to win your own Kindle e-Reader!

To enter the grand prize giveaway, click here.

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  • Helen says:

    I she coming to visit me ?

    Have Fun

  • Helen says:

    Hi Terri

    I do notice weather in books and love it honestly the wearther adds so much to a story in any genre wind rain snow unberable heat love it all as I am in Australia and I do have the air con on at this time to stay cool I love stories with cold and snow and rain more so than the real heat I do have a lot of that here 🙂

    I have the first one in this series on my e reader must move it up 🙂

    Congrats on the release I am looking forward to reading these

    Have Fun
    The GR can stay cool inside and of course there are Tim Tams here 🙂

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Congrats, Helen, on snagging that rooster. (Or should that be my condolences? *g*) Hope you’re enjoying your summer down there. I think it’s safe to say more of us are NOT enjoying our winter.

      Maybe the cold and rain is better for a romance. People who are sweating to death are much less likely to want bodily contact. 🙂 Thanks for moving the book up your list. I hope you like it.

    • Helen, I’ve noticed there are a lot of romances with snow in them around Christmas. People have used snow to trap the h/h, but other forms of weather seem less common.

      I’ve read Terri’s first book, Meant to Be, and it was great. I have Up to the Challenge waiting.

    • Cassondra says:

      Helen, you’re going to love it. It’s such a wonderful story!

  • flchen1 says:

    I sometimes notice weather, Terri–it depends on the story! And well, fair weather all the time could mean that they live in Hawaii or California (or that mystical Hawaii and California where it’s always sunny 😉 ) The weather here is fine–on the cool-ish side, but not complaining!

    • Terri Osburn says:

      We’re actually having an odd day here, flchen1. I have my kitchen window open and the sun coming in the back screen door. Just last week that would have frozen us out.

      California does seem to have perfect weather. Which is probably why I’d love to live there. If only it didn’t take so much money. Sigh.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Hi, Fedora–I sometimes envy places with moderate, steady weather patterns. I like listening to a storm if I’m snug inside, and I like the occasional cold day, though not this polar vortex stuff. Ugh. I’m most envious in the summer when we’re sweltering in the heat and humidity.

  • Mary Preston says:

    I notice the weather in stories if it impacts upon the characters. I’m thinking forced to spend time together in a secluded cabin because of the blizzard outside. Sigh!!!

    • Terri Osburn says:

      I love those books, Mary. Especially when the last thing the two characters want is to be anywhere near each other. That seems to always change by the time they’re rescued. 😉

    • Mary, I enjoy those books, too. There’s something about snow outside that makes everything inside seem cozier. And of course the h/h need to light a fire and huddle in front of it. 🙂

  • Minna says:

    Like flchen, I notice the weather sometimes in stories.

    Here in Finland, we finally have very little snow. The weather has been very odd lately. It rained all the time at Christmas and nearly all the snow melted away. And it wasn’t excatly cold.

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Minna, I have never been to your part of the world, but admit, I would assume that this time of year you’d have nothing but snow and cold. Huh.

      I think Mother Nature gets more erratic every year.

    • Minna, I’m with Terri. I would’ve expected you to have a lot of snow this time of year. Especially with all the cold weather lately.

  • Quantum says:

    I definitely notice the weather in novels … it’s a favourite topic for conversation here in England!

    At the moment the hero and heroine would be clambering onto the roof of their car to escape rising flood water. It’s the hero’s chance to display heroic characteristics and swim to get help.

    The freezing weather in the US has distorted the jet stream, and is driving a series of deep depressions across the Atlantic to dump half the ocean on the British Isles. I’m getting some ideas for building an Arc (Noah variety! LOL)

    Interesting that ‘Anchor Island’ is based on a real island near you Terri. Perfect excuse for an exotic holiday …. Greek islands, West Indies, Hawaii….?

    Looking forward to seeing where you go next!

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Hello, Q! I miss *seeing* you more often. 🙂

      Flooding? I really need to pay more attention to the international news. I hope the rains stop soon, but maybe you should build that arc.

      In 2015 I will be leaving the island life behind and headed inland. Small town Tennessee not far from Music City USA. Let the southern twang commence!

    • Quantum, I’ve seen the news reports about flooding in the UK. How awful!

      When I was planning my trip, the forecast was for highs in the very low 40s in London, so I packed a lot of fleece. Lucky for me, it was warmer than that most days, high 40s as a rule.

  • Maureen says:

    Congratulations to Terri on her new book! I think that the weather is like the setting in that the author can bring it alive to the reader and make the story more interesting. I don’t notice if the topic of the weather doesn’t come up in a story but now that I read this post I probably will.

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Maureen, I’m not sure that I notice it either, but for some reason, when I’m writing, I think, “Surely it would rain at least once!” Of course, that doesn’t mean the reader would think that. LOL!

    • Maureen, I agree that weather only matters in a story if the author uses it somehow. Writing books advise against opening with the weather. But I think there’s an exception if the weather isn’t important or urgent.

  • Patty L. says:

    Congrats on the latest release. I love the sneak peek. I admit to noticing weather. Not sure what that says about me but I want to know that the characters are dealing with real issues, ie bad hair day, poor driving conditions and the occasional heat wave.

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Exactly, Patty L. At least in a contemporary, you want to feel like this is real life and realistic. And a lack of any kind of weather but sunny skies really only works for Los Angeles. I mean, if we’ve learned anything from television, it’s that it’s always perfect in L.A. 🙂

    • Patty, I think it does add a real world note if the characters have to adjust for changes in the weather. Hurricanes are a big deal on the NC Outer Banks, which are basically a thin chain of sandy barrier islands that shift over time. We drove down NC 12 one day with the dunes on our left and the marsh visible on our right. I don’t think the land mass was wider than 50 feet at that point. And hurricanes have been known to cut new inlets. So I’m curious to see what Terri does with her big storm. 🙂

  • Connie Fischer says:

    Great question! I do notice the weather in a book. Since I live in Florida and love the sun, when I read that it’s a rainy day somewhere, I actually “feel” it. I think it shows great attention to detail when an author adds “weather issues” in their novels and characters get soaked or chilled, or step in mud.

    • Terri Osburn says:

      That’s how I think of it, Connie. An added detail. Your mention of stepping in mud makes me think of a mystery. There’s always that muddy footprint at the crime scene. Or the shoe print outside the window.

      Where would we find clues without that mud??

    • Connie, I also think having to deal with weather adds a note of realism. Lightning storms certainly play big roles in haunted house stories (which I generally tend to avoid because, hey, scary!), not least by knocking out the power.

  • Deb says:

    Congrats on your new release, Teri! I guess I don’t really notice the weather in books, but automatically process it in the back of my mind. I mean, if a h comes into a house or pub sopping wet, then you know it is pouring rain. Or, if the main couple is takin a sleigh ride with gently falling flakes of snow around them, you think snow. Sounds inane, but really, an author can do such a good job of describing the weather without really coming out and saying Boom! There was thunder. 😉

    After EXTREME cold the first part of the week, today is supposed to have a high of 35*. (Iowa). Luckily, no nasty weather, like freezing drizzle that we had on Friday. Have a good day, Teri, in you neck of the woods!

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Deb, I bet 35 feels like a heat wave over there. And I do like the idea of just blending the weather in. Just as we don’t mentally focus on the music playing behind a movie, we don’t consciously focus on the weather. But it’s an element that add to the reading experience. And that’s always a good thing.

    • Oh, my goodness, Deb–35 degrees? Brrr! During last week’s polar vortex episode, the low here had a wind chill of -5, and we were all bitterly complaining. Which is to say whining about it, actually. I guess people get used to that, but down here in the South, that’s really intimidating.

  • sandyg265 says:

    I notice the weather in books. Especially when it affects the story.

  • Shannon says:

    I notice weather in books. Sometimes it’s a pretty major character and other times it’s a grace note. I do have to say that I’m always wondering about historical novels set in England when it’s sunny day after day. It’s not that it rains all the time in the U.K. but it does a lot. And movies–who can forget the scene in breakfast at Tiffany’s when Holly with the cat in the rain.

    Strange story. I grew up in Idaho and there the lighting flashes across the sky as a lightening bolt. I always thought authors were making up the sky lighting up with lightening until I lived on the east coast. That the special effects people were really overdoing it in movies.

    Of course, a very popular writer who set a story in Idaho drove me crazy. It rained and there was still snow on the ground. It sleeted and there was snow on the ground–it’s ice after a sleet storm. I was very nice and did not review her book.

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Shannon, I didn’t know that lightning could be different in different places. Interesting. And also why I don’t set my books anywhere that I’m not familiar with. I just don’t know enough to do the place justice and get it right.

    • Shannon, that’s interesting about the lightning. I’m not often outside during a storm, so I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. One of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever had of lightning came as the dh, the boy, and I were driving into Denver from the mountains. We came around a curve, and the lights of Denver were spread out before us in the distance. But above the lights was a storm cloud layer that blocked the stars, and we were far enough back to see the forks of the lightning spearing down. It was awe-inspiring.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    Being a big fan of disaster movies, I love books where the characters get caught in a storm, be it a snowstorm, a thunderstorm, a tornado, a hurricane, whatever. Adds drama to the moment and if there is a love scene involved then all the better. Always wanted to read a good love story centered around a tornado but you don’t see many of those. The weather in Indiana today is mild after -16 with wind chills up to -41!

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Debbie, just reading those temps makes me feel cold! I don’t know how you all survived that. We had temps in the upper 20s and the windchill got down to -1, but only early in the morning. That was enough for me!

      It’s a little harder to continue life (as in, write a love scene) while a tornado is passing by. Though the movie Twister managed to fit that in a bit.

    • Debbie, those temperatures are really intimidating. I guess those of you who live where that’s common get used to it, but to me, sitting here in the upper South, that’s just really amazing.

  • Marnee Bailey says:

    When I’m writing, I like the weather because it can be an antagonist without having to give it motivation. Weather’s a jerk sometimes with no reason at all. That’s easy conflict. LOL!

  • Shari says:

    I notice the weather more in the Christmas stories. I love your anchor books.

    • Shari, I love Anchor Island, too. I think weather tends to be more prominent in Christmas stories because people use snow a lot, as a way to trap the h/h to have them interact closely, to spur the need for a roaring fire they can sit in front of, etc. I enjoy those stories, but I’m looking forward to seeing a hurricane for a change.

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Thank you, Shari! I’ve never been one to read Christmas stories, but dove in this year and read several. I loved them. I believe I’ll be doing this every year from now on.

  • Hey Terri is in the house!!! Whoo hooo!!!

    Love your series, Terri and Up To The Challenge is on my list of treats once I finish this book!

    I love weather and it affecting the characters and plot. My problem is I’d set everything in rainy, cold, snowy weather, just coz I like it. I have to remember to have sunny days, too!

    • Suz, you don’t like sunny days? I wouldn’t have guessed. Good luck with the book! Can’t wait to read it.

    • Terri Osburn says:

      I suppose being a northerner transplanted to Texas would make you long for the colder weather. (Well, it wouldn’t for me but then I hate winter with a passion.)

      Thanks for checking out my series and good luck getting your book done. I hope you like UP TO THE CHALLENGE!

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Terri is here! I never get tired of seeing “Bestselling Author” in front of your name. So well deserved!

    I’m sure I’m subconsciously aware of the weather in books but it usually only comes to the forefront of my consciousness when it affects the characters or progresses the story. Loved the hurricane scenes in UP TO THE CHALLENGE.!

    Just a note to other readers here who haven’t read Terri’s books yet. Buy them. Today. You won’t be sorry.

    My weather today is gorgeous. After a week of single-digit temps, ice and rain, today we have a brilliant, blue Carolina sky, mid-fifties temperatures and plenty of sunshine for our Carolina Panthers vs San Francisco playoff game. Perfect weather for moving our team’s football season forward! 🙂

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi Terri!

    I’d had your first book on my TBR pile for a bit, and just got to it last month. I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOUR STORIES!!!!

    Is that enough exclamation points? Maybe not but I was feeling silly. You are now an autobuy for me. I can’t wait for the next book. I want it NOW. Write faster.

    As to the weather, it’s a big part of the setting in my books. I even did the unthinkable in one. I started the book with it. Yes, we’ve all been beaten over the head that we shouldn’t do it, but I don’t care. It’s part of the characterization for the hero–how he feels about this rotten weather–he likes it because he has a use for it.

    I probably use it too much, and have to rely on outside readers to tell me if it’s getting annoying or becoming redundant.

    And yes, I would miss it if it weren’t in the books. It bears on everything we do, every day, and most people don’t go a full day without noting it. So I think it’s really important in books.

    I loved that scene from the Hurricane, and the way you used it to push two resistant people together.

    Don’t enter me in the drawing because I already have both books.

    So glad to have you here on the blog!

    • Cassondra, I echo everything you said about Terri’s books. And I don’t think you overuse weather, just fyi.

    • Terri Osburn says:

      Cassondra, unless every single scene is a raging storm, I agree with Nancy. I doubt you overuse it. Weather happens! And sometimes it happens right at the front of a story. If that’s where it starts, then that’s where it starts.

      And thank you SO MUCH for the sweet words on my stories. I wrote 10 pages on book 4 on Friday so I am trying to comply in that write faster request. At least you don’t have too much longer to wait for book 3. 🙂

  • Sharlene Martin Moore says:

    I always notice it. I love Terri’s books and not only is she a rising star, she is just the nicest person ever. I see very long successful writing career for her.

  • Terri, the dh reminds me that weather, in the form of a tornado, plays a critical role in The Wizard of Oz (both book and film versions).

    He says the book opens with the cyclone (tornado). Dorothy is about to go into the cellar when she realizes Toto is outside. She risks her life to save him and sets herself up as a hero. The framing sequence that opens the movie isn’t in the book.

    • Terri Osburn says:

      I don’t think anyone would argue if the Wizard of Oz starts the right way. If it starts with a storm, then it starts with a storm. Forget all those mystical rules that get thrown around.

      There are only two rules in writing, and one is more a statement. One is don’t bore your reader. (Not as easy as it sounds.) The other is that you can write anything as long as you do it well enough.

      I have faith in you. 🙂

  • bn100 says:

    Not really