Thursday, November 19, 2015

Author Interview and New Release: How To Fall by Rebecca Brooks


How To Fall
By: Rebecca Brooks
Releasing November 16, 2015
Entangled Select Contemporary

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada


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.



The Falls

    Julia heaved her bag off her shoulder and rang the small silver bell. There was no one at the front desk, but she’d already learned that in Brazil, life had a way of taking its time. She set the backpack on the floor and twisted her long hair up off her skin, welcoming the breeze on her neck.
    It had been nicely air conditioned on the bus, the first time she’d felt cool since her plane touched down two days ago. The evening heat hit her as soon as she stepped into the street, laden with luggage and unsure where to go. Clutching the map in her guidebook, she’d finally found the turn-off for the hostel hidden behind a row of palm trees, long fronds rustling as she passed. After the twelve-hour ride from São Paulo, through rushing greenery and endless fields, she wanted nothing more than a cold drink and a long dip in the pool.
    The pool was why she’d chosen this place. “A delightful option,” her guidebook said. “Pousada Iguaçu may be off the beaten path, but with a steady stream of travelers looking to unwind, relax, and explore the waterfalls—the main reason to come to this border town—you’ll be sure to leave with new friends from around the world.”
    New friends? She was sold. Just having someone to talk to would make Iguaçu a major step up from São Paulo. The most social contact she’d had in two days was when an elderly woman waiting for the bus pointed out that Julia had been holding the map upside down.
    She took a deep breath. She wasn’t alone, she reminded herself. She was a woman traveling solo. Independent. Self-assured. She knotted her hair into a ponytail and rang the bell again.
    The sound of a door opening from the garden made her turn.
    She told herself that the first thing she noticed were his eyes, clear blue like a tropical sea and looking straight at her. Maybe his tan. Or the curl in his sun-lightened hair.
    But no. She hadn’t gotten laid in she didn’t know how long, and the man walking in from the garden behind the lobby was shirtless, wearing nothing but cobalt blue swimming trunks slung low on his tanned, narrow hips. She wasn’t about to miss a single detail as her eyes ran from his sculpted chest down to the ripples cut into his abs.
    “You must be looking for André,” he said, and Julia blinked in surprise at his Australian accent. His voice made her think of the beach and diving into the pounding waves. She could practically smell the sun on his skin.
    She ran her eyes up and down his body like she could feel him just by looking. Every inch of his muscular torso. The softness of his thick, curly hair. A picture formed of its own accord: her fingers hooked under the band of his shorts, yanking him to her with a take-no-prisoners grip. Her mouth pressed against his before he had time to protest.
    There was no one around. She could totally do it.



Author interview

I'm delighted to have Rebecca join me to anwer a few questions for the blog. Please give her a very warm welcome ...

Thank you for having me here today!

So, what have you written?
I write contemporary erotic romance about independent women who travel to new places, and strong, outdoorsy heroes with muscle and heart. My first novel, ABOVE ALL, features an artist and a younger chef in the Adirondacks. My newest release, HOW TO FALL, is about a Chicago teacher and an Australian screenwriter on a whirlwind week in southern Brazil. I also have a short story set in the same town as ABOVE ALL—it’s available in a new anthology of contemporary and historical romance authors writing about food, the proceeds of which will go to food-based charities. Currently I’m working on a series set in Washington state. The first book, MAKE ME STAY, is about a former Olympic skier and coach who takes a gorgeous stranger to bed, not realizing she’s the real estate developer who’s taking his land and livelihood.

All the information about my books is on my website:

(Deanna): Oh, I need to check out ABOVE ALL. I love stories featuring chefs.

Is there a message in your newest novel that you want readers to grasp?
A lot of HOW TO FALL has to do with friendship and loyalty. For a long time Julia has put her needs second in order to help her best friend. Blake, meanwhile, has been deeply betrayed by his closest confidant. So both the hero and heroine have these friendships that have shaped them in profound ways, but they’re both also kind of stuck. Blake can’t move on from the loss of his friend. Julia can’t see how to advance her own life and be there for someone else. For both of them there’s this tension between, how do you be a good person and friend while still following your heart, taking risks, and dreaming big for yourself—especially if those dreams take you far from those you love?

(Deanna): I love knowing the essence of a story. :-)

Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A lot of the events in HOW TO FALL come from my own life—way more than anything else I’ve written. I traveled to Brazil in 2004-2005 and again in 2006 and have been to all the places described in the book. I’ve done the things Julia and Blake do, like visit the waterfalls and the major sights in Rio. I went hang gliding in Rio, which was how I came up with the idea for Julia and Blake to take that leap. I spent New Year’s Eve on the beach in Rio, too. All these experiences gave me ideas for what they could do on their trip. But who they are and what they make of their journey is really rooted in their characters and not in me. I’m much more adventurous than Julia is!

(Deanna): I recently got a tour of an area where a book I read was set. She pointed out where a number of scenes were set. It was wonderful. It's like a guided through a movie set, only it's a story in a book. Your experience in Brazil sounds like that.

Do you see writing as a career?
I definitely do. Writing is something I do because I love it, but it’s also the way that I support myself. It’s my job, and I hope that the more I write the more my career will grow. It’s important for me to view writing this way because it compels me to sit down and get cracking even if I don’t feel like it. My husband gets up and goes to work. I get up and go to the computer. By the end of the day, I hope to have something to show for myself besides “I stared at the wall and scrolled through Facebook.”

(Deanna): I wish you all the best with this career. What do you love best about being a writer?

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Yes! The settings for my books are so central to the stories, it’s important for me to get it right. My first book takes place in the Adirondacks. I’ve done a lot of hiking in the northeast so I knew I could get the description and the sense of the place. My second book is set in Brazil, where I’ve also spent a lot of time (although I wish I could have gone back to help me write the story!). I’m now working on a series set in Washington state, and for that I traveled to the Cascades to research the area and get a sense of where I wanted to place the story and what the town would be like. Let’s hope I can go back to make sure I’ve captured all the details!

(Deanna): Traveling to areas where you set your books sounds like such an exciting thing to do, and all in the name of research. :-)

What were you like at school? Were you good at English?
I’ve always been into reading and writing intensive courses. In high school I took a lot of visual art. In college I studied poetry. I majored in English and Political Science, and then I did a PhD in English, where I eventually switched from poetry and wound up studying philosophy, feminist theory, and American literature. I’ve always had a lot of interests, though. One of my dissertation committee members accused me of wanting to be a “dilettante” when I said I wasn’t going into academia—as though my desire to learn about a lot of different things meant I somehow wasn’t committed. I’ve always been a serious student, but I’m the most creative and fulfilled when I’m working out ideas in my books.

(Deanna): I love learning. :-)

Do you work on an outline to plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Both! I start with an outline—first a general arc of the story and then a more detailed outline with each scene mapped out. When I get stuck, the outline reminds me where to go. But no matter how well I think I know my characters, they always turn out differently once words start coming out of their mouths. I wind up adding new depth and complexity and coming up with new situations. I therefore often rewrite the outline when I’m halfway or thee-quarters through the manuscript because so much has changed. The goal is to have an outline so I’m not flailing around, but be flexible so the outline doesn’t hold me back as the story grows.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
I absolutely believe in letting the book stew (I like that way of thinking about it!). I get as far as I can until I feel like I can’t see how to make it better anymore, and then I put it aside for at least a month—usually longer, until I’ve mostly forgotten about it. During that time I work on something else—another writing project, for example, or a marketing push. When I come back to the manuscript, I can do a better job of editing because I can see the story more clearly. I’m not so close to it that I can no longer tell what to do.

(Deanna): Time and distance brings perspective I guess.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
When I think the manuscript is ready, I send it to my agent. If she thinks it’s ready, she sends it to my editor. A book is not done at this point. My editor for HOW TO FALL was amazing and had great ideas for how to really clarify each character’s trajectory and make sure the ending resulted in all the feelings. We tossed around ideas, I went through a set of edits, and when it was set it went to copyeditors and then proofreaders. It’s really important not to skip any of these stages. I kept thinking, “I don’t need to reread this, I’ve read it so many times and all these professionals are working on it, too!” And then I’d fine a word I wanted to change, or a phrase I repeated but hadn’t caught before. I definitely learned how important it is to put in the time.

I’ve worked as a professional copyeditor and proofreader, so I know what I’m doing. But I wouldn’t do it for my own book. It’s just not the same as having another set of eyes and opinions. You can hire a team if you’re self-publishing, there are lots of people out there. What matters is finding an editor and a proofreader (they’re different jobs with different skills!) you trust and respect.


Author Info

jsRebecca 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.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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