Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Today's Special - - Spotlight on Rebecca Brooks' Make Me Beg

Today, we're turning our spotlight on Rebecca Brooks, a new author writing sexy, contemporary romance. Rebecca lives in New York City, in an apartment filled with books. She has a PhD in English and is an intrepid explorer; backpacking her way across India and Brazil, traveling by cargo boat down the Amazon, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, exploring ice caves in Peru and more. She likes outdoorsy guys with muscle and heart and independent women ready to try something new.  

Rebecca's Men of Gold Mountain series for Entangled finds outdoorsy guys and strong, independent women tangling the sheets (and buffing the local hangout’s wooden bar) in a remote ski village in Washington’s breathtakingly beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Turns out Rebecca is a strong, independent woman herself who’d rather lace up hiking boots than zip into a cocktail dress. She does enjoy a good bar now and then. Most of the action in her March 20 novel, MAKE ME BEG, takes place in that ski village’s colorful watering hole, The Dipper. And, to celebrate this delightful, sexy book, Rebecca’s running a Name Your Favorite Bar Contest for readers—how much fun is that?! More about the contest below and how you can enter. But first, let’s welcome Rebecca to The Romance Dish!

Rebecca: Thank you so much for having me! I always love talking about books, mountains, and my favorite beers!

So the idea for MAKE ME BEG popped into your mind while you were in a bar? Did you do a lot of (wink-wink) elbow-bending bar research for this story?!

Rebecca:  (Laughing) Truly, I’m not a frequent bar flyer, but I like craft beers, and when I travel, especially in the U.S., I like trying different local brews that I can’t get at home.

Any fun stories related to that?

Rebecca: I’ve wound up with a good number of pint glasses I’ve picked up during my travels. I like that I have memories associated with the glasses. For example, my best friend had her wedding at a small brewery in Seattle, and I have a glass that I got from there when my husband and I went with her to check out the venue beforehand. It’s got a bicycle on it and always makes me smile when I use it. My husband threatens to weed out the collection—how many glasses do two people need? But no way I’m letting that happen! Plus, he collects 45 records, so we’re even.

While we’re on the bar topic, tell us about your Name Your Favorite Bar Contest.

Rebecca:  I wanted to hear readers’ stories about their favorite bars (or similar hangouts) they’ve come across, so I launched this contest, and the winner will receive a $100 VISA gift card. I’m thinking the winner could host a fun night with their friends at their current favorite spot. All readers need to do to enter is post on Facebook or Instagram, in 75 words or less, about their favorite bar, past or present. (For example, one friend I know met her husband in a bar.) The post needs to include this hashtag #makemebegcontest. A photo is not required (except on Instagram, because, well, it’s Instagram), but photos are welcome! I have a team of judges who will pick their favorite five, and I’ll then post those on my website, and readers will vote to pick the winner! Deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. March 31, 2017. So ready, set, post!

Where did you learn to write? Or were you born with the gift?

Rebecca: My mom is an editor, and when I was growing up, she would read all the papers I had to write for school. She was serious with her red pen! I like to say that she taught me to write, in the sense that she taught me how to approach my work with a critical eye. I feel like I’ve always been writing, but having that early understanding of writing as editing and rewriting has always helped me.

Do you do a lot of rewriting when penning a book?

Rebecca: I write a first draft as quickly as possible, and then I have something to work with. But that only works because I’ve trained myself to park in front of the computer and get that first draft out, and then see my work critically enough to be able to edit it thoroughly and not be afraid to cut, rearrange and basically butcher what I have.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Rebecca: When I was in the first grade, and we had to write stories every week. We’d get a stapled-together booklet to write in/draw on, so it felt like making a book. I was hooked. I’ve really only ever wanted to be a writer, so then I was stuck with two questions. What was I going to do to support myself financially while writing, and what kind of writing did I want to do?

We hear you’re a hiker extraordinaire. Do you go to all the places you write about in your books?

Rebecca: I love when books feel rooted in a sense of place, like they have to take place where and when they do and wouldn’t be the same book if written any other way. The setting connects to so many senses. It also shapes what the characters do and experience and what conflicts or complications arise. I rely on my own experiences to convey the overall feel of a place as well as specific details that make it come alive.

So tell us about your setting research for MAKE ME BEG. 

Rebecca: MAKE ME BEG and the Men of Gold Mountain series overall is set in the north Cascade Mountains in Washington State. I went there specifically to check it out as a place to set a series. I wanted to create a small ski town at the center of the books and use Mt. Baker as my model. The world of Gold Mountain is made up, but I couldn’t have done it without drawing on the hiking trip I took to explore the area.

You were born in Boston. Did you grow up there? How did this early life experience affect who you are today?

Rebecca: I was born just outside Boston and grew up there; my parents still live in the same house we moved to when I was two. As an adult I can appreciate what an idyllic place it is to live—tree-lined streets; very walkable; close to the city as well as mountains, beaches, lakes and farmland; a good school system, and lots of amenities. But, like a lot of kids, I just wanted to travel, see the world as soon as I could strike out on my own.

A birdie told us you took a gap year after high school.

Rebecca: And I traveled to India, with a few clothes in a backpack and not a whole lot of plans. I went hiking, taught an art class, learned stone carving, worked as a research assistant, and spent a lot of time writing. I think it took getting out of the area where I grew up to give me the perspective and courage to push back against expectations and think about what I really wanted—for example, to leave academia to become a romance novelist instead!

Wow! You were brave!

Rebecca: Well, that wasn’t my first experience away from home. When I was fifteen my dad and I went to Nepal and hiked the Himalayas in the Mt. Everest region. It blew my mind to see a part of the world that was so different—and so unbelievably beautiful. And to go on a trip like that with my dad felt really special.

Any other special trips with your dad?

Rebecca:  So many! When I was in college we climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and we usually give our hiking boots a good work-out a few times a year. Earlier this year, my mom, dad and I went to the Galapagos Islands, which was truly a once in a lifetime experience. 

Do you always go abroad for your hiking trips?

Rebecca: There’s always so much to explore, but having
spent so much of my childhood hiking in New England, those are the places that feel most like “home” and the most beautiful to me. My husband and I love to take day trips to hike in the Hudson Valley. We also like to take a long weekend or even a week or two to drive up to the Catskills, the Adirondacks, western Massachusetts or Vermont and rent a little place to be our home base while we go off and take day hikes.  For the past few years my dad and I have also been hiking in the southwest in the spring, the perfect time of year to beat the summer heat—and crowds! We’re talking about adding in a hiking trip in Georgia, Tennessee, or North Carolina after the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Atlanta in May. My dad is semi-retired, so anytime I say I want to go somewhere, he’s ready to pack!

Do your lead characters do a lot of hiking in MAKE ME BEG?

Rebecca: Actually, no. They both work long hours in The Dipper, where Mack Ellinsworth is the bartender, and Connor is the ripped and rugged cook who loves to give Mack a hard time. All the regulars see through their sniping and know they’ve had the hots for each other for years but have never crossed the line. That all changes when the bar’s owner decides the place needs a makeover to help boost the business. Mack and Connor compete for the right to remake The Dipper in their dream image. The only home Mack has ever known was a bar whose owner took her in as a teenager and saved her from the streets. So she likes the bar much like it is, a casual local hangout. But Connor? Trained as a restaurant chef, he wants to convert The Dipper into a first class dining destination. They spend a lot of time together trying to reconcile their visions—and the fiery hot heat simmering between them. Let’s just say after reading MAKE ME BEG, you might not ever look at one of those hard, wooden bars in quite the same way. J

Sounds like fun, Rebecca! Thanks for dishing with us today.

Rebecca: It’s been fun! All of you Romance Dishers, don’t forget to enter my Name Your Favorite Bar Contest by March 31

To read an excerpt of Mack and Connor’s hot story, visit, and visit my Facebook page for my latest hiking and writing adventures!

Readers, do you enjoy hiking? Exploring? Taking long walks?

Where in the world would you most like to adventure?

Do you have a favorite local hangout (bar, restaurant, etc) where everyone gathers? 


  1. Welcome, Rebecca! I am in awe of your adventures. I love to travel but I've always preferred the comfortable route. *grin*

    I did enjoy camping in my younger years but wasn't quite adventurous enough to take the backpacking route.

    Thanks for visiting us today!

  2. Hi Rebecca - I can't wait to dive into your new book. And thanks for sharing your approach to writing.

    I love long walks in open spaces and when the weather gets nicer I walk every day. But when it comes to adventure, I've also been the kind of gal who likes the view from the inside an air-condition car.

    1. I've also been the kind of gal who likes the view from the inside an air-condition car.

      Me too, Maria. I wish I'd been more adventurous when my knees were younger. Of course, I probably wouldn't have gone far what with stopping every 10 feet to take photos. ;-)

  3. Enjoy long walks. When living in England as a child there was a wooded area across the street from us that we would often walk through. It was full of Beachwood trees. On the other side was a lush green valley and you could see the local pub down below. Not a drinker so don't go to bars. Only bar I can think of was one we went to after hs a few time.

    1. We had a wooded area behind our house when we were kids. I loved walking there and exploring all the beautiful wild flowers. There was quite the variety.

  4. What an adventurer you are! I love to travel, but my adventures are more tame than yours.