Monday, October 11, 2021

Sarah Echavarre Smith Interview - On Location

Photo Content from Sarah Echavarre Smith

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.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
When I was a kid, writing was my favorite thing in the world to do. It wasn’t really a moment of realization, just a feeling I’ve held since I was young and that has stuck with me all this time.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My favorite romance/romcom is A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess. It’s the ultimate romcom and has everything that I love: forced proximity, roommates to lovers, set in London, pining, an epic misunderstanding, and a beautiful wedding speech at the end. It’s the book that made me want to write romcoms and romances.

My favorite non-romance book is Revenge by Yoko Ogawa. It’s so beautifully written and such a quietly haunting collection of stories. So many other horror books are so in your face with the scares, but Yoko Ogawa builds tension so subtly. She’s a brilliant writer and I’m in constant awe of her prose.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Whenever someone reaches out to me and tells me how wonderful it was to read a romance/romcom book with a Filipino-American heroine, it makes my heart soar. I relate so much to that feeling of consuming entertainment (like books) and never seeing yourself represented. So to know that readers are relating to the characters I write because they share that same Filipino-American background means more than I’ll ever be able to fully express.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
My cat, haha. He’s constantly climbing on me whenever I write.

Can you tell us when you started ON LOCATION, how that came about?
I wrote it during spring 2020, while I was home during the pandemic. I was dying for an escape, but like everyone else I couldn’t travel. So I decided to write a destination romance. I set it in Utah because that’s one of my favorite places in the world to hike. And because I love the shows Rock The Park and UnREAL, I blended the concepts of both of those for the travel TV show premise in the book.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from ON LOCATION
Two of my favorite scenes to write were the tent scene and the allergic reaction scene. The tent scene is super hot while the allergic reaction scene is so funny. I’m so excited to hear readers’ reactions to them!

  • It took forever to decide the main character’s name (Alia). I wanted it to be unique and pretty and finally settled on Alia when I saw it on a random Facebook post.
  • I wrote the first draft in 6 weeks
  • I’ve been to every site that the TV crew visits in the book (except for the Delicate Arch)
  • Drew’s physical inspo is Alex O’Loughlin from Hawaii Five-O
  • The character Brooke is based on my awesome friend Bella, who works in travel TV production
  • The dinner scene at Desert Bistro is an actual place that I’ve been to, and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had
  • I wrote about Snoballs so much in the book because I was craving that snack while writing and couldn’t find it anywhere
  • I’ve never been to New York City before so I had to have a couple of friends who live there read over the subway scene in chapter one to make sure I got the stops right
  • On Location contains more love scenes than I’ve ever written in any other book
  • The meet-cute I wrote for Alia and Drew is my favorite I’ve ever written
Meet the Characters
Alia is the main character, the book is told from her POV. She’s Filipino-American and has worked her way up in the outdoor TV production industry for years to finally get this chance to be the showrunner for her very own show set in southern Utah. She’s tenacious, determined, hardworking, and assertive. She’s kind but doesn’t take crap from anyone and it was so fun writing that kind of personality. She’s also experienced a lot of sexism in the industry that’s jaded her. Despite all that, she’s determined to make the best series she can as a tribute to her late apong, who traveled with her a lot when she was a kid and first sparked her love of travel.

Drew is a charming hunk who is a jack of all trades in the TV production industry. He strives to be fair and hardworking, but also isn’t afraid to be vulnerable. He also isn’t afraid to say he’s sorry when he screws up, which is a quality I love seeing in romance heroes. Plus, he could be the doppelganger for Alex O’Loughlin in Hawaii Five-O. He’s the one romance hero I’ve written that I wish I could bring to life and clone and give to all of my single friends. He’s pretty much the perfect man.

Your Journey to Publication
It was a long one! The first book I ever queried was a failure (I wrote it at the end of 2016), everyone I queried rejected it. But then at the end of 2017/beginning of 2018 I queried my second book (Faker) and that was the book that got me my agent. By the end of that summer I had a two-book deal with Berkley and have been writing books ever since.

It was so hard dealing with all that rejection for so long (I still get rejected loads whenever I pitch a new book or idea). I’m so lucky to have a supportive agent and a group of close writing friends to go to whenever I need a boost. The best part of this whole journey has been connecting with readers who have reached out to me to tell me how much they enjoy my books. This has been a dream for so long and for a while I thought it would never happen. Sometimes I have to take a second and soak in the moment that I’m finally at a point that for so long I’d been struggling to get to.

Writing Behind the Scenes
I always have to have a huge glass of water nearby when I’m writing. I hate having to get up and rehydrate when I’m on a roll.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
True love with the guarantee of heartbreak. I’m a glutton for punishment in that way LOL.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
My god, my eyes are puffy. I need to up my skincare routine.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be? 
I wish I could hug my mom one last time and tell her that I love her.

First Love? 
My husband

Most horrifying dream you have ever had? 
I had this recurring dream for awhile where I was swimming in open water and a shark was after me. Thankfully I always woke up before it got me. Freaking terrifying!

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.
You can purchase On Location at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SARAH SMITH for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of On Location by Sarah Smith.


  1. When I was a kid, I swore that I saw ghosts in one of the houses we lived in. My mom claimed she saw them as well. I just think we were probably seeing things.

  2. None that I know, but I use TheShadowlands to find local ones; it's a really old website!