As the calendar page turns to the New Year, I’m already looking forward to summer. What’s the first clear sign of the season? Getting the boat in the water. From my office where I write, I can grab a glimpse of the lake. Ice covers the surface now, but it won’t be long before I’m tossing off a dock line and scrambling across the bow.
I guess I’ve always been a boater. My dad had an old wooden rowboat we put in the river near where I grew up. This was always an occasion with the feeling of a grand expedition. In college, I rowed with a crew club–not team, we lacked the organization and glamor of a team–and had a lot of fun. When my husband and I were first married, we bought a JetSki. I remember his parents shaking their heads at this sign of our youthful foolishness, but we sure had fun. We still own the personal watercraft, but it’s in drydock.
Over the years, we’ve become more serious about boat ownership. We bought a 23′ SeaRay when our kids were too young to appreciate it. Too much crying and fussing temporarily drowned our desire to be boaters. We gave up and sold it a few years later. One memorable weekend when I was out of town, my husband made an impulse purchase of a 19′ SeaRay that I refused to name or develop a relationship with. Taping a For Sale sign to its hull was the closest I ever got to that boat.
And then we (okay, I) succumbed to a sweeping, romantic, gut-feeling. We bought an old (older than we are) wood boat with beautiful bones and the patina of history. I had visited the boat, stood at the wheel and imagined myself with the wind in my hair many times. Buying the vessel was a two-year negotiation. But I knew I had to have it. Despite its age, it runs and floats and, even without all the restoration it needs, we spent hours on the lake last summer. This, however, may be our last boat–possibly because I’m in love with it and possibly because it will be the death of us restoring it. It will look much like the boat in this picture. Someday.
In an effort to pass along our boat-titude to our children, we bought them both kayaks last year. I imagine it won’t be long before they begin the trading-up tradition until they find the boat that reaches out to them like a lighthouse in a storm.
What does all this have to do with writing contemporary romance? Plenty. In my Carina novel Her Lucky Catch, the marina setting is essential and plenty of action occurs on boats. In Will Work for Love, the hero restores a wooden beauty and romances the heroine on the boat. In He’s on Her Trail, the outdoors-loving heroine leads an expedition in kayaks.
Slap a life jacket on me, I can’t resist the water. How about you? Have you ever owned a boat? Do you have a dream boat you’re saving up for? I could tell you plenty of tales of hard lessons learned boating (did I mention I’m a decent swimmer?), but I’ll save those for the next time. For now, please share a boat story with me!