Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reeling the Reader In: Fabulous First Lines (Giveaway)

First lines. Terrible ones can make you put a book down without reading any further. Good ones keep you reading. Great ones have you clicking "buy now" or walking to the register without having to read another word. 

The best first lines tell you a something about the character, the situation, or the setting but most of all they intrigue you, reel you in, so that you cannot put that book down. Then they keep on delivering with the first paragraph, the first page, the first chapter. 

As I'm pondering (aka procrastinating) starting my next story, I've been thinking a lot about first lines - both my own and in books I've read. Out of the four manuscripts I've written, my favorite first line (so far) comes from my third:

"Paige McAllister didn't think it was possible, but there was something worse than being single and thirty at your nineteen-year-old sister's wedding." 

The first lines from a few of my favorite contemporary romances include:

"She never should have said yes." Beth Vogt, Wish You Were Here

"At least they couldn't fire her." Carla Laureano, Five Days in Skye

"The girl with the haunted eyes reentered his life on the other side of a lowering casket, humidity and the shrill song of cicadas tangling together in the South Carolina heat." Katie Ganshert, A Broken Kind of Beautiful

"Will you marry me?" Becky Wade, Meant To Be Mine

"She'd found bliss. Perhaps even true love." Rachel Hauck, Princess Ever After

So how about you? What are some of your favorite first lines? Either your own or from favorite books? I'm going to be giving away one of the five books I've listed above. Even if you don't have a favorite first line just leave your contact email and which title you'd like to win to be in the draw. Open to residents of any country that Book Depository delivers to :) Entries close Friday 15 August, midnight PDT.

* Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

Kara Isaac lives in Wellington, New Zealand where she spends her days being double-teamed by her ninja toddler and his baby sister, and her nights dreaming up horrible things to do to her characters.

Represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc, she loves writing romantic comedy and can be found on Facebook at Kara Isaac - Writer and on Twitter @KaraIsaac.


  1. Okay...I'll start us off. :D

    My favorite is from Susan May Warren's Flee the Night: "The past couldn't have found a worse time to find her."

    I'd love to read Becky or Rachel's book. I have the rest. ;)

  2. "I'm a stalker. The good kind." That is the opening line of Kristan Higgins' "Gold Rush" and it certainly reeled me in. It sets the ironic tone of the book and makes me want to know who she stalks and why and if she ever catches him.:-)
    avaldal @ shaw (dot) ca
    Thanks for the post, Kara. This is a fun game.

    1. What a fun first line, Alice. It would certainly have me reading more!

  3. Oops. The book is "Fools Rush In" by Kristan Higgins. Mustn't comment before coffee!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rachel. I think so! :)

  5. Oh, thanks for including the opening line from Wish You Were Here. I worked on that at my first My Book Therapy writers retreat -- at dinner. We didn't have any paper, so I brainstormed it out on a napkin. And yes, I still have the napkin with all the scribbles on it.

    1. I love that you still have the napkin! That is so fun :)

      I still have the first cheque I got from winning a writing contest. I decided the actual piece of paper was worth more to me that the money! Somewhere some poor RWA chapter is probably still wondering why their books didn't balance in 2008 ;)

  6. I love this topic!! First lines are one of my favorite things to share and discuss. One of the first lines that has stuck in my memory is from Susan Elizabeth Phillips' It Had To Be You. "Phoebe Somerville outraged everyone by bringing a French poodle and a Hungarian lover to her father's funeral."

    Thanks for including a line from Meant to Be Mine!

    1. LOL. That is a brilliant first line, Becky! Need to add that book to my bucket reading list :)

  7. Kara, great post! I've just received a copy of my Aussie friend, Andrea Grigg's, new contemporary romance. The opening line is: 'I don't want to go.' I'm intrigued by the opening line and I don't want to put the book down! Reading more of Andrea's book will be my reward for meeting my word count goal today :)

    1. That's a great first line! I often use being able to read more of a book I'm loving as a reward for meeting my daily goal as well :)

  8. I can never, ever choose just one. So the best of my bookshelf:

    "He always said if I left he would kill me, but there are far worse fates than death" -- Gina Holmes, WINGS OF GLASS

    "When trouble blows in, my mind always reaches for a single, perfect day in Rodanthe." - Lisa Wingate, THE PRAYER BOX

    "Blakely Daniels' life had turned upside down. Literally." - Mindy Obenhaus, THE DOCTOR'S FAMILY REUNION

    "'You have once chance to make this fly'" - Cara C. Putman, SHADOWED BY GRACE

    "Bad hair ruined my life" - Kristin Billerbeck, SHE'S ALL THAT

    There you have it :)