Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to get on a plane and go on a holiday? The Tourist Attraction, translated into Dutch as Droomvakantie, by Sarah Morgenthaler brings you close to that with a lovely, romantic series set in a small mountain town in the wild nature of Alaska. Writer Sarah Morgenthaler won various awards within her genre and I got to interview her about the Dutch release of The Tourist Attraction, happy endings and mountain climb adventures.
About the book The Tourist Attraction / Droomvakantie
You could barely imagine that the owner of The Tourist Trap would rather see the tourists disappear. The grumpy Graham Barnett runs a diner in a small town called Moose Springs, where he has to grill sausages for an endless string of resort visitors, that all annoy him… until a very special tourist shows up.
Zoey Caldwell is so looking forward to her trip to Alaska that it’s not on top of her bucket list, it is her bucket list! She travels to the town called Moose Springs to enjoy the ultimate holiday with her super rich friend Lana. When Zoey meets local Graham on an interesting night out, she discovers there’s more to love in Moose Springs than just the beautiful Alaskan wilderness.
Writer of the book Sarah Morgenthaler is a geologist and an enthusiastic science nerd. She has a little rescue pit bull, Sammy. When she’s not writing, Sarah loves to go hiking through the national parks with her husband. She became a Golden Heart Finalist two times and won the Nola Stars Suzannah Award for her romance fiction.
Did you always know you wanted to become a writer?
“I’ve always loved writing, but for most of my life, it was something I did as a hobby. A couple years ago, I shifted my focus to actively trying to get published. Now I’m so happy being a romance writer!”
Your book The Tourist Attraction is now released under the title Droomvakantie in The Netherlands. You’ve already written three books in the Moose Springs, Alaska series by now, but how did you get the idea for the first one and when did you start writing it?
“In 2018, I took a research trip to Alaska to work on another novel. A friend came with me, and we ended up doing some sightseeing and other tourist type activities. A lot of fun, silly stuff happened on those adventures, and most of the ideas for Moose Springs came from those experiences. I started writing The Tourist Attraction/Droomvakantie as soon as I got home.”
How did your own adventure go to becoming a published author?
“It’s been such a fun experience! I entered my first couple of novels in writing competitions, which is how I met my agent. We went on submission with a more serious contemporary romance, also set in Alaska, but then ended up pitching the romcom series of Moose Springs to my U.S. publisher, Sourcebooks. They liked the light-hearted vacation romance idea, and the rest is history!”
Could you describe The Tourist Attraction / Droomvakantie in three words?
“Alaskan armchair vacation.”
In your book we read about a small mountain town called Moose Springs. Is it based on a real place you’ve visited, or can readers only travel to the town through your books?
“Moose Springs is fictional, but there are lots of small towns in Alaska with gorgeous scenery and great people!”
Graham Barnett is a grumpy diner owner who gets annoyed by all the visiting tourists, while Zoey Caldwell is this bubbly, enthusiastic tourist. How did you come up with the idea to write such opposite characters for your main characters and let them fall in love?
“One of my favourite romance tropes is the ‘grumpy/sunshine’ trope. I loved the idea of a cheerful tourist coming into Moose Springs, and the town grump falling hard for her.”
Should a romance book always have a happy ending to you?
“I think the best part of a romance novel is the happily ever after (HEA) or the happily for now (HFN). That emotional satisfaction is a promise from the author to the reader. No matter what journey we take the reader on, everything will be okay in the end.”
Zoey Caldwells whole bucketlist basically is: ‘two weeks in Alaska’ and she’s super excited about it. What’s on your bucketlist?
“There are so many places I’d love to go, but at the top is visiting Machu Picchu! I’d love to hike to Mount Everest basecamp, and I’d also love to see the Northern Lights.”
Your books are also described as ‘Alaskan mountain climbing romcom’. Now I’m wondering, have you ever climbed a mountain before?
“My newest Moose Springs, Alaska romcom Enjoy The View/Droomuitzicht involves climbing a mountain, which I had so much fun writing! I’m a hiker, not a climber, but we’ve spent a lot of time hiking around the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains. I also love reading non-fiction stories about climbing, which ended up being great research for that book.”
When hopefully we’ll be able to safely travel again somewhere this year, what’s the first place you’ll visit?
“I can’t wait to travel again! I really want to go back to Colorado, and I’d also make another research trip to Alaska.”
The Dutch edition of The Tourist Attraction called Droomvakantie by Sarah Morgenthaler has been published by A.W. Bruna Uitgevers. What holiday are you dreaming of at the moment?
Lees je dit interview liever in het Nederlands? Je vindt de blogpost hier.