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As a writer and a reader, I know how off-putting it can be when a writer relies on coincidence to make things happen.  It rings untrue—feels too far-fetched.  And yet, in the real world, I love stories where fate, chance, or divine providence brings a couple together.  Stories where the timing was perfect … where a few minutes or even seconds could have changed two lives forever.

I have a friend from California who was visiting her parents in Kentucky one Thanksgiving.  Her mom sent her to the store for butter.  She ran into her high school boyfriend whose mother had sent him to the store for cream.  They chatted, exchanged phone numbers, and have been happily married now for seventeen years.  If one of them had reached the dairy aisle three minutes earlier, they might have never reconnected.

Another couple I know lost contact after high school.  Twelve years later, they were both Christmas shopping and happened to pass in a crowded shopping mall.  One cup of coffee turned into two, and they’ve been together over thirty years now.  What would’ve happened if they’d been looking the other way during that split second as they passed?

My own happy story is a matter of perfect timing.  I was playing golf and my now-husband happened to be in the foursome behind me.  I caught his eye (yeah—notice I said he was behind me, so he wasn’t checking out my face), and he asked for an introduction.  What if a foursome had played between us, which could’ve easily happened if I’d been a few minutes earlier or he a few minutes later?

Last year, we wintered in our motorhome at an RV resort in Florida.  One day during a massage, the massage therapist was fascinated to learn I was a romance author.  Imagine her surprise the next day when she ran into Cynthia D’Alba, who was also writing a romance novel!  She told Cyndi about me, and Cyndi contacted me through my website.  We’ve become great friends.  In fact, it was Cyndi who suggested my wip was a good fit for Harlequin Superromance.  My agent agreed, and I’m thrilled to report that Out of the Depths is scheduled as an August release in that line.  What if I’d skipped that massage, or what if Cyndi hadn’t been writing at the exact moment the massage therapist spoke with her?

Timing is everything.   

How about your real-life story?  Was serendipity at work?  Coincidence?  Perfect timing?  We would love it if you’d share!



20 Responses

  1. Congrats!!! What an awesome story!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Tina! We’ve had some serendipity at work at writeromance, too, haven’t we? 🙂

  3. I love these kinds of stories, Pamela! And the most surprising thing is they’re a daily occurrence. I often wonder at the connections we make that so easily could have gone differently.

    An offhand conversation with a former Navy Seabee turned physical therapist at the office where I was temping before my junior year of college convinced me to talk to an ROTC instructor at my school. (I had considered ROTC as a freshman but changed my mind.) I joined ROTC and met my future husband. I honestly don’t think our paths would have crossed otherwise.

    Then there’s the time… Oh, I could go on for days with this stuff! 😉

    • I love this, Gwen! And what a cool premise for a romance novel! Kimberly Lang is always quoting Max Erhmann’s Desiderata to me (what a gorgeous poem!): “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.”

      How true!

  4. Loved this, Pam! 🙂 I was actually using a fake ID when I met my hubby for the first time. I was scared to death of getting caught and had made myself a promise to never do it again. LOL Just think, if I hadn’t let my friends talk me into going out that night, used that ID and danced with the handsome stranger who kept watching from across the crowded room, I might have missed out on all these blessings the past 21 years. 🙂

  5. Yeah, life is full of them! I like to think of the “what if” part in positive terms, too. Just in a “what kind of life would I be living if…” kind of way. It doesn’t take anything away from what *is* but it’s kind of fun to think of what would be different.

    My biggest one is that I found out I was pregnant with Number One (a big surprise) and four days later got laid off from my job. My husband was frantic with worry about finances, so even though I was determined to breastfeed only, I caved and went to a temp agency. The job they put me in paid less than unemployment had and was very boring work that lasted two months beyond the 2 weeks it was supposed to (I was too good at keypunching HCFAs LOL). They got me a one-day gig at a place that soon after lost their secretary and asked for me to come back, then offered me a full-time permanent job. The owner’s daughter had brought her baby to work for almost a year, so they were very cool with me doing the same. I ended up there for 11 years, and brought both kids to work every day until they were 9 months old.

    • Nothing like perfect timing, Natalie–well that, and the fact that you were such a great temp worker they wanted you back for more. So many opportunities work like that. I’ve often wondered how many kids in our small town could have been medalists in something if they’d only had the opportunity.
      Food for thought:-)

  6. So here’s the real story about me and Pam. I did not contact her through her website. I drove my golf cart up to her motorhome and knocked on the door! LOL LOL

    I wouldn’t have met my husband IF one of students hadn’t talk him into coming to a Christmas party I was co-hosting for my nursing students. Otherwise, our paths would not have crossed. Of course if I hadn’t married, moved to Memphis, and divorced my first husband, I’d never had been a nursing instructor in Memphis and would never have met hubby.

    Life is a series of domino falls…if this domino doesn’t fall, then it doesn’t knock down the next one, etc.

    But great stories, Pam!

    • And that’s the truth! Cyndi’s never met a stranger–thank Heavens 🙂 Love the story of you and DH. I remember some other cute details that you’ve shared with me, but once again, it’s all about timing.

  7. Such a great story! love hearing about these in real life.

    I had chance encounter to help my aunt get a date with a guy. In payment (payback?? 🙂 ) she wanted to set me up on a date too and picked my now husband. We’d known of each other for years, but not sure we would have ever gotten together because dh is such a shy guy!

    • Just needed a nudge, did he? That happens a lot! My dh has never met a stranger–I’m the shy one. And I’m curious about your aunt’s date. Did it turn out as well as yours?

  8. Pamela, that story reminds me of “Same Old Lang Syne” (no I didn’t misspell it – I looked it up!) by Dan Fogelberg. Only with a happy ending!

    I think this happens ALL the time! Wonderful post – thanks!

    • I love that song, Laura. In fact, it was an Old boyfriend who introduced me to it:-) shall we raise a cup to innocence?

  9. What a great story! I dont’ really see my husband as a coincendence – we just had 8th grade English together. But my switching genre, meeting my editor and selling my book were ALL coincidence. Or, as I prefer to call it – fate. The story is pretty long, but it all fell into place and I’m happily bookending Pamela this summer with my Superromances in July and September. So everyone get ready to get your Superromance on this summer! LOL.

    And I love that Cyndi drove up to your door and knocked. That’s a lady who knows what she wants and how to get it! Glad she made a friend in you and shared you with us.

    • I’m glad, too, Liz:-) I love that you met your husband in 8th grade English. I taught 8th grade English for many years, and I used to tell the kids that their future spouse might just be sitting beside them. They never believed me, but several have proven me right.

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