by Rebecca Brooks
I love taking characters out of their elements and throwing them into unfamiliar situations. It gives them the chance to experience something new and discover aspects of themselves they never knew existed. But then I inevitably wind up with a problem. If the hero and heroine have stepped out of their lives to do something different, how are they going wind up happy together when the real world calls?
The kernel of the idea for HOW TO FALL came from six months I spent in Brazil on two separate occasions, approximately a lifetime ago. Take two strangers, throw them together in a beautiful setting, and see what happens. I knew sparks would fly as soon as Julia and Blake laid eyes on each other in a small town on the border between Argentina and Brazil, home to some of the most stunning waterfalls in the world. There was so much going for them: instant attraction, a gorgeous location, the freedom that comes from stepping out of your life and letting yourself be a little braver, a little bolder, than you might otherwise dare.
But of course then I ran into my usual wall. It’s all well and good for them to get together for a time, but how on earth will they find Happily Ever After if Julia has to go back to Chicago and Blake to Sydney, Australia—basically the farthest points I could put them, just to make their lives extra tough.
How my characters go from a one night stand in Brazil to building a future together that spans continents has led me to think a lot about how we get to Happily Ever After in romance. Anyone who derides the genre as “predictable” or “easy” obviously hasn’t actually read any romance novels, and certainly has never tried to stick two people in a difficult situation and have them wind up convincingly together by the last page. In many ways, I feel like Julia and Blake told this story for me. I outlined and outlined, but in the end I had to scrap all my plans and listen to them and what they wanted. I had to let them go through their struggles and come out the other side, stronger, happier, and even closer for having had to earn their HEA.
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.