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Writer To Reader
Guest Post with Rebecca Brooks
March 15,  2017

These Boots Were Make for Hiking!

Rebecca Brooks may be a big city girl, spinning her hot contemporary romances in her Bronx, New York apartment, but this exciting author’s heart lies anywhere her hiking boots can take her. In fact, the seeds of her Men of Gold Mountain series for Entangled were planted while Rebecca was hiking in Washington’s picturesque Cascade Mountains with her husband.

Since the second standalone story in the series, Make Me Beg, is a March 20  release, we thought it would be fun to ask hiker extraordinaire Rebecca to share with Reader to Reader the “write your own adventure” moment when this story sprouted in her mind.

My husband and I were hiking in the Cascades and came across a place called Chair 9 in Glacier, Washington. We’re both big fans of craft beers, so we decided to relax a bit and try some of the local brews. Later, I got to thinking about all the restaurants and bars I’ve been to in ski towns over the years that have a great “ski” vibe to them, with old photos and vintage ski equipment on the wall. I remember thinking, a watering hole like Chair 9 would be really fun to write about. I imagined my ideal place, where the bartender is friendly and remembers what I like, and has a great rotating menu with new beers to try. Then I populated it with characters I’d want to hang out with. Mainly a snarky bartender whose only real home had been a bar and a ripped and rugged cook who loves to give her a hard time.

So your hero and heroine met in a bar. (Grin.) Kinda turns on its ear the old axiom our mommas used to tell us, that we’d never meet any worthwhile guys in bars.

(Chuckling) Well, Mack and Connor have worked at the Dipper for some time, and all their friends know what they can’t see—that they had the serious hots for each other.

And we see you’re running a Name Your Favorite Bar Contest to help promote Make Me Beg!

Yes! All readers have to do to enter is post on Facebook or Instagram 75 words or less about their favorite bar, past or present, and include the hashtag #makemebegcontest. A photo is welcome but not required (excerpt on Instagram, because, well, it’s Instagram). A panel of judges will pick their top five, and readers will select the winner, who will receive a $100 VISA gift card. I figure they can use it to host their friends at a get together at their current favorite bar. I hope all of your readers will enter!

When did you get your passion for hiking?

I grew up in Massachusetts and spent my winter vacations skiing and my summer vacations outdoors as much as possible. My family went to places like New Hampshire and Maine, where we’d hike, swim, and canoe. So I grew up with a love of the outdoors. It was part of my life from an early age.

What are some of your fondest hiking memories?

One of the first mountains I climbed was Mt. Monadnock in southern New Hampshire, with my dad. It’s a great hike and an easy day trip from the Boston area. My dad and I still climb it together. My family went to the Galapagos Islands together this year, so we’re pretty big on nature and outdoor adventures.  And, of course, hiking the Alps on my honeymoon!

What appeals to you about hiking?

I love being outside, surrounded by natural beauty. Hiking has always felt like a great way to relax, re-center myself, and discover new places. I’m also pretty independent, and I’ve always liked that even when you're hiking in a group, it’s basically a solo activity. I like the opportunity to be on my own and just breathe.

So do you hike alone sometimes? That sounds a bit scary.

I had never been hiking alone until my husband and I went to Portland, Oregon, because he had a conference there. While he was at the conference, I went hiking on Mt. Hood and had an incredible time. The hike went up to the highest point on the mountain that you can get to before the climb becomes technical, requiring equipment, ropes, etc. It went up a notch between two glaciers, and I was right at the base of a huge snowfield, looking directly at the peak, surrounded by thick blue ice. This was a few days after my first novel had been published, and I truly felt on top of the world. The experience inspired me to do more hiking by myself—but I always make sure someone knows where I’m going, and I bring plenty of water and a first aid kit!

How do you stay in shape for hiking?

I remember training for big trips like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and backpacking in the Andes by climbing a lot of stairs. I was in college at the time and would load up heavy books in a backpack and climb stairs in the tallest buildings. These days I just try to maintain an overall level of fitness. I’ve gotten into a video series called Insanity, which is about what it sounds like. I also lift weights, do some yoga and Pilates, and run.

Do you eat healthy?

Assuming you count dark chocolate as healthy! I’m a vegetarian and have been my whole life—my parents are vegetarian and raised me without eating red meat. I stopped eating chicken and fish when I was in sixth grade and haven’t looked back.

When you were growing up, who were your idols? Your inspirations?

When I was a kid I did ballet. Ballet is tough and takes incredible physical and mental discipline. I remember admiring dancers and writing a school report on Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina in the late 19th century. And my family has a long history of women kicking ass. My great-grandmother ran her own business, a small store in Springfield, Massachusetts. I have a great aunt who was a lawyer and another who was a doctor at a time when it was rare for women to have those credentials, let alone be so accomplished in their fields. After a thirty-year hiatus, my mom has started writing poetry and recently had her first poem published. Talk about women I admire! Seeing my mom get back into poetry has been a reminder to me that things don’t get written unless we sit down and write them.

What can readers look forward to next from Rebecca Brooks?

I’m hard at work on the next Men of Gold Mountain novel. Make Me Want, book 3 in the series, heats up the sheets with a smoking hot wildland firefighter and an equally fiery naturalist. But readers don’t need to wait until that book is out to get more of Gold Mountain—Make Me Stay, the first book in the series, is available now. It’s an enemies-to-lovers story about a high-powered CEO who hides her identity to get closer to a sexy Olympian. Mack and Connor and the bar from Make Me Beg make an appearance, too!

Rebecca gets a kick out of connecting with readers. She hangs out on Facebook and welcomes readers to join her reader list. Then you’ll get all the latest news on her sexy contemporary romances—and her hiking adventures!

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