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Robin Lerner lets go an infectious laugh as she reveals the object of her affection in this hit she wrote with Tommy Lee James. "I was really writing a love song to myself," she says.

"What I mean," Robin quickly explains, "is that if anyone ever wrote a love song about me, it probably wouldn't be the 'You are my sunshine' kind of thing. I can be a moody gal at times, so it would be more like, 'You're the rain, you're a thunderstorm - but I like that about you.' That's where 'She's My Kind of Rain' came from."

Robin, who lives in Los Angeles, wrote the tune in Nashville with frequent collaborator Tommy Lee James - in their typical "strange and unique" manner. Just how offbeat is their technique? "Well, the way we like to work is ... I bring absolutely no ideas to the table. But neither does Tommy Lee. He is a brilliant music writer, so what I do is I sit there with my recorder running while he plays a chorus or a melody line."

A few hours and several melodies later, Robin will trek back to her hotel and hit the books. "I have these notebooks that are filled with ideas and lines that I've written down over the years," she says. "I flip through them and see what ideas or lines would fit best with his melodies. After that, I write the lyrics. It's different, but it works for us."

And this song proved no exception. "I found the words - She's my kind of rain - in my notebook, and I started thinking about that love song. I finished the lyrics and brought them back to Tommy Lee the next morning."

His verdict was an immediate thumbs-up. "Then we played it for Tim McGraw," recalls Robin, "and he asked us not to pitch it to anyone else. So we knew we had something good."

But the best was yet to come. "She's My Kind of Rain" hit the Billboard Top 5 this past year - making Robin a double winner with the McGraw-Hill clan. She also wrote "This Kiss," which Tim's wife, Faith Hill, took to the top in 1998.

"I'm writing for the whole family now," Robin laughs. "So tell their kids to watch out - they're next!"

Story by Bob Paxman