1--What is the title of your latest release?
2--What is it about?
It’s a multicultural romcom between Alia and Drew, two crew members on an outdoor TV show. They have a VERY interesting meet-cute which results in them disliking each other, but then they have to work together on a series about the national parks in Utah. The host of the show is a D-list celebrity who is monumentally difficult, so Alia and Drew have to overcome their messy history—and budding attraction—in order to save the show.
3--What do you love about the setting of your book?
The book takes place in southern Utah, which is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s probably my ultimate hiking destination—I can’t think of a more beautiful landscape with the red rock landscape that goes on for miles and miles. I wrote ON LOCATION during quarantine/pandemic when I was stuck in my house dreaming about escaping to a gorgeous destination. Writing it was such a wonderful escape and gave me all the happy feels.
4--How did your heroine surprise you?
I set out to write Alia as a tenacious and hardworking woman in the television industry who’s been through a lot to get to where she currently is in her career. I also wanted to give her a backstory to show her softness and vulnerability beneath her strong exterior as a producer and showrunner, but it surprised me just how deep that story went. Alia has experienced trauma in her past and the way she addresses it and reconciles with it is a really important journey that I didn’t initially plan to take her on as a character when I started this book. But as I revised it, her past ended up playing such an integral role in her present life, and I think it helped make her a richer, more relatable character.
5--Why will readers love your hero?
I think readers will love how willing Drew is to say sorry. There are a couple of conflicts in the story that lead to arguments and hurt feelings. Afterward, Drew is always willing to apologize and take responsibility for what he did wrong. I feel like that quality—being able to sincerely apologize and own what you did wrong—can be really difficult to find in a person, especially a partner. Drew realizes he’s not perfect and he’s never too proud to say sorry when he messes up, and that to me is one of the most swoon-worthy things a book boyfriend can ever do.
6--What was one of your biggest challenges while writing this book (spoiler-free, of course!)?
Learning about the outdoor television industry! When I pitched this idea to my publisher, it was kind of a whim and I didn’t think they would go for it because it was a bit out there. But then they did and after the excitement of getting the contract to write ON LOCATION wore off, I had a brief moment where I was like, “Crap...now how do I pull this off?” Haha! But luckily I have a couple of friends who work in the TV industry so I spent some time interviewing them to get a better idea of how things operate. I watched tons of episodes and behind-the-scenes footage of Rock The Park, a TV show that follows two hosts as they explore national parks in the US. I also watched the entire series of Unreal to get some inspo for behind-the-scenes TV production drama. I think ON LOCATION ended up being an excellent blend of rom-com, TV drama, and nature show.
7--Do you look forward to or do you dread the revision process?
I love the revision process! It’s challenging for sure because you often have to do A LOT of work, but it’s also SO rewarding. My first drafts are pretty messy, so to see the story improve drastically with each round of revision is so thrilling. At the end of it, I’m left with a book that’s a million times better than it started out as. I always feel proud of myself but also a bit bewildered. Like, “Wow, this book went from ‘meh’ to ‘damn good,’ I almost can’t believe it!”
8--What’s your favorite snack to have on hand while writing?
Weird answer: Water! I don’t like to eat when I’m writing (I find it really distracting), but I need to be hydrated. I’m constantly guzzling water and need to have a giant glass of water nearby.
9--Where would you go for an ideal writer’s retreat?
A secluded cabin in the mountains. That sounds so peaceful and fun. I feel like I’d get so much writing done because there would be so few distractions.
10--What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Just write. Don’t worry about how good or bad it will be, just put words on the page. You’ll always be able to revise and make whatever you write better—but you can’t revise a blank page.
11--Who is the fictional character you want to hang out with the most? (anyone in literature!)
Abigail from A GIRL LIKE YOU by Gemma Burgess. I think we’d have a hell of a night on the town in London together.
12--What’s one of your earliest book memories?
Reading my auntie’s stash of romance novels in the closet of my bedroom when I was in grade school.
13--If you had to write in a different genre, what would it be and why?
I’d love to write a horror story someday! I’m a big horror fan and I think it would be a fun way to challenge myself as a writer to try and write something totally different from romance and romcom.
14--What song will automatically put you in a good mood?
How Will I Know by Whitney Houston. It’s impossible not to smile and sing along with that song.
15--What is your favorite way to practice self-care?
Facials or massages
16--What can you eat and never get sick of?
Potato chips. I’m always craving them no matter how full I am. It’s a problem.
17--Will you share a favorite, recent-ish book you recommend?
I absolutely loved Kate Bromley’s debut romance TALK BOOKISH TO ME. The premise hooked me right away: The main character is a romance writer with an annoying case of writer’s block and the only way she’s able to power though it is by hooking up with her ex.
18--Do you have any hobbies?
Yes! I love to hike and travel. I’m planning a hiking trip to Utah in the near future, and I can’t wait to explore all the places Alia and Drew visit in ON LOCATION.
19--Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Night owl all the way! I’ve always been someone who works better late at night (I’m completely useless in the early mornings LOL). I can focus better because it’s quieter and I’m not getting interrupted by emails, phone calls, and texts.
20--What can readers expect from you next?
I’m working on a few really exciting projects, but they’re still being finalized so I can’t talk too much about them (so annoying, I know!). Just know that I have more books in the works...I’ll be making some major announcements about them soon, so stay tuned!
Nothing like a rocky start between enemy coworkers stuck together on location to prove that love isn't just a ploy for ratings—it's a force of nature.
Alia Dunn has finally gotten her big break. After years of working her way up at TV's top outdoor travel channel, she gets the green light from network executives to bring her dream project to life: produce a series about Utah's national parks. It's a touching tribute to her late apong, who sparked Alia's passion for travel and the outdoors as a kid.
Alia is thrilled—until she meets her newest crew member, Drew Irons. The same Drew she had the most amazing first date with two weeks ago—who then ghosted her. The same Drew who has the most deliciously thick forearms and who loves second-guessing her every move on set in front of the entire crew. It's not long before the tension between them turns hotter than the Utah desert in the dead of summer, and their steamy encounters lead to major feelings.
But when the series host goes rogue one too many times, jeopardizing the entire shoot, Alia realizes that she'll need to organize one hell of a coup to save her show—and she'll need Drew's help to do it. It's the riskiest move she's ever made. If she pulls it off, she'll end up with a hit series and her dream guy . . . but if it all goes wrong, she could lose both.
Romance Comedy [Berkley, On Sale: September 21, 2021, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9780593201657 / eISBN: 9780593201664]
Sarah Echavarre Smith is a copywriter-turned-author who wants to make the world a lovelier place, one kissing story at a time. Her love of romance began when she was eight and she discovered her auntie's stash of romance novels. She's been hooked ever since. When she's not writing, you can find her hiking, eating chocolate, and perfecting her lumpia recipe. She lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband and adorable cat Salem.
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