When I set out to write my new book On Location, I wanted it to be the ultimate romcom read. I wanted lots of steam, sweet and relatable characters, a fun setting, loads of humor, tons and tons of drama, and an ending that would make readers go “aww.”
The premise is the most fun one I’ve ever come up with: Filipino-American television producer Alia gets to make the series of her dreams: a show about Utah’s national parks. It’s the career break she’s been working years for, but she’ll have to navigate working with the hottle who ghosted her and a diva host to make her professional—and romantic—dreams come true.
It’s the perfect mix of romance, hinjinxs, wanderlust, drama, and emotion, and I can’t wait for readers to get their hands on it.
So what exactly inspired it?
- The pandemic/quarantine
Like almost everyone else, I was stuck at home for most of the pandemic, dreaming about all of the places I wished I could visit. Southern Utah is one of my favorite destinations I’ve ever been to. It takes your breath away with its red desert landscape and jaw-dropping rock formations. Since I couldn’t travel there, the next best thing I could think of was to use it as the setting for On Location. Even though it wasn’t as amazing as visiting in person, it was still so fun to write a story set there. I looked back on all the photos I had taken during previous visits, which gave me all the happy feels. I even incorporated some of the hikes and sightseeing I did into the plot of the book, which added a special personal connection to the story.
2. The travel program Rock The Park
One of my favorite shows ever is the travel show Rock The Park. For six seasons, hosts Jack and Colton explored national parks all over the US. I’ve been a viewer of this show for years and loved it. Even when I was stuck in my house, I could always count on Rock The Park reruns to give me a taste of so many stunning national parks. When I started watching it years ago, it helped spark my love of hiking, specifically at national parks. I rewatched episodes about Utah’s five national parks (Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion) in preparation to write scenes in my book that are set at those parks. Not only did it help refresh my memory of each place, but it also helped get me into an adventure mindset, which made writing about each destination all the more fun.
3. The drama series UnREAL
One of the shows I binged during quarantine was UnREAL, which aired a few years ago on Lifetime. Boy oh boy, did it suck me in. The premise was brilliant: it’s a fictionalized drama series about a Bachelor-type dating show that showcased all the juicy, cutthroat behind-the-scenes goings-on amongst the staff that produced the show. It was gloriously gritty, shocking, hilarious, and sexy. The storylines were often outrageous—but supposedly based on things that had actually happened on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. When I finished watching it, I felt inspired to amp up the drama in On Location. I don’t want to give anything away because of course it’s more fun if you go out and read what happens in the book. But know that there are some over-the-top diva/jerk characters and a couple of plot points loosely inspired by UnREAL. But don’t worry! On Location is still a very sweet and emotional romance at heart, just with a tad bit of edge.
About the Author
Sarah Echavarre Smith is a copywriter-turned-author who wants to make the world a lovelier place, one kissing story at a time. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking, eating chocolate and perfecting her lumpia recipe. She is the author of Faker, Simmer Down, and On Location.
***If you love GWN, click follow!!!