Please help me welcome Rebecca Brooks to the blog today!
Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Rebecca! What 5 things should readers know about you?
- I read everything. Lots of genres of romance, as well as literary and commercial fiction, science fiction, fantasy, classics, poetry, mysteries, philosophy, YA and middle grade books, literary criticism… I tend to jump around and I’m usually reading more than one book at a time – typically a romance or a YA, plus something else simultaneously.
- I love going for long walks around New York City and its outskirts. There’s so much to explore, I don’t have to get on a plane or travel far to feel like I’ve gone somewhere new.
- I’ve never worked in an office. I’ve taught college English and creative writing, worked with high school students, and done a LOT of freelance writing and editing, but no offices. Let’s hope I can keep it that way.
- I’m a vegetarian and have been my whole life. Any time you come across a non-veggie meal in one of my books, picture me puzzled on Google, trying to come with ideas.
- What I love most about romance is the possibilities for female characters. It’s amazing to be part of this genre that’s so focused on women’s pleasures and passions. To that end, I’m all about books with great writing and strong female characters. No wilting flowers, please!
Staying away from office work—an excellent life goal. I’ll take high school students any day over office work 🙂
Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉
Blake is from Sydney, Australia. In addition to his gorgeous tan and sun-lightened curls, he’s an incredibly talented screenwriter famous for writing and producing a Downton Abbey-style series. Blake is full of ideas and extremely driven, creative, and passionate about his work, but he could live without all the nuisances (and scandals!) that fame brings. He probably wouldn’t mind some time on a desert isle, as long as he had Julia with him and a notepad to jot down ideas. He’s so loyal to his friends and family, though, he’d be anxious to get home to them.
Julia is a high school math teacher from Chicago who is all about supporting others. She loves teaching because she gets to help students have their “light bulb moment” when a new idea clicks. Some time on a desert isle would be good for her because she’s always working so hard—she needs to take a break! She’d want to have a good book with her and a sturdy pair of shoes so she could go explore the isle.
Julia sounds like a kindred spirit! Except for the whole “math” thing, that is. 😉
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
HOW TO FALL is set in Brazil, where I lived and traveled in 2004-2005 and again in 2006. It feels like a lifetime ago, but the experience has always stuck with me. At one point when I was traveling by myself I stayed a hostel much like the one where Julia and Blake meet, in a small town near these incredible waterfalls on the border of Argentina and Brazil. I knew I wanted to take two strangers and throw them together in this beautiful location. Then I had to figure out who they were, why they fell into this fling together, and how they’d ever turn it into something more.
Great inspiration—I love it!
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since first grade, when we had to write and illustrate stories every week. I’ve never wanted to do anything else! But I didn’t start writing fiction more seriously until I was in the middle of a PhD in English and realized that if my real dream was to write a novel, I needed to a) get writing and b) find a job to support myself that wouldn’t take over my life. So I finished my doctorate but didn’t go into academia, returned to freelance writing (which I had been doing throughout college and parts of grad school), and started my first romance, ABOVE ALL. I’m so glad I gave myself that kick in the pants instead of waiting to magically have more talent or inspiration or free time—all three of which are such myths.
Very smart plan! You’re right—they’re total myths.
What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
I love having my own schedule and being entirely self-motivated. My favorite moments come when I’m so engaged, I lose track of time or how many words I’ve written and just go. That happens to me most of all in early drafts, when the project feels wide open and I loosen the reins, giving myself space to see what happens.
The most challenging part is when I don’t know what the book looks or feels like yet, and I’m groping blindly through the scenes, trying to find the image or idea or overarching issue that’s going to bring the whole piece together. Sometimes it feels like it’s not going to happen no matter how hard I try. The thing to remember is that even the hard parts are good because struggling to write means I’m writing, at least.
Definitely! Writing is key—you can’t edit or revise a blank page.
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I have a story in a new anthology called TASTE ME, TEMPT ME: EIGHT TALES OF SWEET AND SPICY ROMANCE with an amazing group of contemporary and historical romance writers. The collection is available for 99 cents and all proceeds will be donated to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada. My story is set in the same town in the Adirondacks as my first novel, so it’s a fun way be introduced to the place and the people, or revisit them if they’re already old friends. Check it out here [http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017IZC3CM?]!
I’m currently working on a brand new series set in Washington State. It’s tentatively called the Gold Mountain Series, and the first book, MAKE ME STAY, is about a real estate developer gunning to take over an Olympic skier’s land and livelihood—after she first gets in his bed. I’m at work on book number two in the series, MAKE ME BEG, so definitely keep an eye out for those! If you sign up for my newsletter [rebeccabrooksromance.com/newsletter] and keep in touch via Twitter [twitter.com/beccabooks] and Facebook [facebook.com/rebeccabrooksromance], I’ll be posting about new releases as they come up in the next year.
Awesome! Can’t wait 🙂
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
The first contemporary erotic romance novel I read was LIBERATING LACEY by Anne Calhoun. I remember downloading it on my phone and reading it surreptitiously in bed while I was on a ski trip with my parents. I knew I was tentatively interested in writing romance—my dissertation had been on the romance plot in feminist utopian and dystopian fiction, so I’d done a lot of thinking about the romance genre—but I wanted to see if this was something I could actually get into. I now know not to be surprised by books that are hot and have real storylines and interesting characters. Anne Calhoun, Victoria Dahl, and Charlotte Stein were some of the first authors who showed me that, and really got me excited to write in this genre.
I have LIBERATING LACEY, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. It’s just been bumped up my TBR list! I completely agree with you about Victoria Dahl and Charlotte Stein. Charlotte Stein especially just blows me away whenever I read something new by her–she can say so much with so few words. How does she do that? Plus, SO hot. With such complex characters–amazing.
What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?
Last night I started STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel and I’m hooked. I love a well-written, creative post-apocalyptic story. My romance book club just finished A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER by Kresley Cole, which I really liked. It’s honestly one of the few books I’ve read with a super dominant, scary dude and a weak, virginal woman that (to me) successfully pulled off that dynamic without being creepy, off-putting, or totally unconvincing. Next up for book club is an erotic graphic novel, which sounds really cool!
Wow, an erotic graphic novel—I didn’t even know those existed! I’m going to have to check out the Kresley Cole book too—I’m intrigued.
If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
It’s just a fling, until a passionate week traveling in southern Brazil convinces two strangers to risk it all.
Great job! Thanks so much, Rebecca!
Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them. She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx.
Find Rebecca on Facebook [facebook.com/rebeccabrooksromance], Twitter [twitter.com/beccabooks], Instagram [instagram.com/rebeccabrooksromance] and Google+ [https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RebeccaBrooksRomance/posts]. Check out her books and sign up for her newsletter at rebeccabrooksromance.com.
How to Fall
by Rebecca Brooks
One week of adventure might just lead to love…
Julia Evans has always put others ahead of herself—her high school math students, her troubled best friend, and her ex. But with New Year’s approaching, she buys a round trip ticket to Brazil. For one week, she can put her needs first. She can meet a stranger in the hotel pool at midnight and dance all night on the beach.
Screenwriter Blake Williams has to keep moving before Oz’s latest scandal catches up to him. But the dark-haired beauty with a backpack and an adventurous streak is messing with his plans. He can’t seem to walk away from her. But secrets have a way of coming out, and when the week is up, Julia and Blake will have to decide if they’re jumping into the biggest adventure of all or playing it safe.