How to Fall started with a place: a small hostel on the border between Argentina and Brazil, near one of the world’s largest waterfalls. I spent a few nights there in the winter of 2005 when I was living and traveling in Brazil during my junior year of college. Almost a decade later, as I was thinking about what I wanted my next book to be about, it came to me as the perfect place to throw two strangers together and watch the sparks fly.
At the hostel I met a group of Australians who’d been traveling for months. They’d saved up their money and vacation days so they could be away for such a long time, which was how I got the idea for Blake. But just making him an Aussie wasn’t enough. I had to think about why he was on the road. He had to have something he was avoiding in his life back home, and some way that his trip and his time away were going to change him. Fame? Scandal? Devastating heartbreak? Check, check, check.
Julia was trickier. In my very first draft she came across as super shy and apprehensive about her travels. But I want to read and write about heroines with backbones. They don’t always have to say and do the “right” things—I certainly don’t. But neither are they passive or waiting for a man. As I revised the novel I realized there was no way this woman would be so timid. She’d bought a ticket to Brazil! By herself! She may have been nervous, but she was doing it. That’s when the story finally clicked in my head.
How to Fall was so much fun to write. It gave me the chance to dust off my old journals and revisit places I’d traveled, while describing the most gorgeous scenery, thrilling adventures, mouthwatering food…not to mention all the chances for hot outdoor sex. I learned a lot from Julia and Blake as they go from strangers to lovers to more. They both have a lot going on in their pasts—secrets, fears, reasons for running away. But they’re not at home hiding. They’re out there, trying to figure out who they are alone as well as together. Just like the rest of us, I like to think.