Morning my lovelies. I’m super excited to have the lovely Sandy Barker on Meet the Author today. I love her books, so am excited to have her here! We’re chatting about her being a hopeful romantic, why her first book is so special to her, auditioning for Survivor, her most recent book, The Christmas Swap (I can’t wait to read this) and more….
Contemporary romantic (travel) fiction
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I consider myself a hopeful romantic, as well as a traveller at heart and a life-long learner. I am a wine appreciator, a coffee snob, an avid reader, and I love a good story – no matter the format.
How long does it take you to write a book?
From conception to completion (drafted and edited, ready for submission to my agent/editor), around 3-5 months (that’s for 90-100K words).
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
My first book, One Summer in Santorini, has a special place in my heart as it was inspired by my real-life love story (I met my partner, Ben, in Santorini as we were about to embark on a sailing trip). I started writing it as a love letter to him, so it is a little piece of my heart.
But I love all my books. I spend so much time with them, that I have to fall in love with them – the stories, the characters – to make them leap off the page. I’m writing book number six right now and I LOVE it!
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Melbourne is just now immerging from a rigorous lockdown – the last 110 days in Stage 4 and before that Stage 3 since March, so I am really looking forward to socialising with friends – dinner parties, drinks out on the waterfront, and barbecues, most of all.
I have also missed travel – even just a long weekend away in the country, so we will be planning something soon.
At home, I love to read, and I am unnaturally addicted to cooking shows, especially if baking is involved.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
I got it in my head to audition for Australian Survivor back in 2001. And I got so far in the audition process, that I was an alternate for the women! Unfortunately, all eight women accepted their places, but it was a little surreal. (I love that show, btw!)
What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
Probably When Harry Met Sally. It’s the perfect romantic comedy. I can start watching it from any place in the film and slot straight into it. And I am always noticing something new every time I see it.
Describe yourself using three words only.
Passionate, creative, generous.
- Do you feel it’s more important to have a) strong characters b) a mind-blowing plot or c) amazing settings?
Character is everything in the types of books I write. They need to be distinct, they need to have their own journey, and they need to be believable – even supporting characters. I have a litmus test for dialogue, which is that if any of my characters could say the line (as in, it doesn’t belong to a specific character, or have a their distinctive cadence or objective), it needs to be edited or omitted.
What is your favourite genre to read and why?
Romantic fiction that makes my heart sing (I love to see what my contemporaries are writing)
Historical fiction that I can immerse myself in and learn from
Crime fiction that give me chills and gets my analytic brain working
What is your favourite time to write, and why?
I typically write first thing in the morning – I’m usually up between 5:00am and 6:00am and I will either read through what I wrote the day before and make tweaks, or I will start (and usually finish) a new scene. This way, when I switch to work mode (I still work fulltime), I have given my most creative self to my writing.
What is the funniest typo you have ever written?
Actually, this usually happens at work. I work in adult learning and the number of times I’ve written ‘adult leaner’ or ‘adult leaning’ in drafts of educational resources is WAY TOO MANY. I can just bet that you’re imaging adults leaning against things now. 😉
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
The Christmas Swap is about three life-long friends – one from Melbourne, one from Oxfordshire, and one from Colorado – and they decide to swap Christmases. As I write romantic comedies, there is romance, there is laughter, and it also explores the themes of family and friendship.
It’s out now in ebook and will be out in print at the end of November.
thank you so much for coming and chatting with us sandy! I can’t wait to read the christmas swap!
Have a wonderful day folks and stay safe