We hope you are all recovered from Christmas and have some time to relax. And just in time for summer holidays, welcome our last blog contributor for 2019 – Sandy Barker. Sandy joins us to today to tell us about three things she learned while writing ‘One Summer in Santorini’.
1. The publishing ‘rules’ are changing
I self-published One Summer in Santorini in late 2017 as You Might Meet Someone. While I wrote two follow-up books, a direct sequel and a ‘spin-off’, I queried publishers and agents. I got the ‘yes’ from Avon Books (now One More Chapter), an imprint of HarperCollins UK, in January 2019. The offer helped me secure an agent and I now have a four-book contract, with three books coming in 2020.
Many times, fellow authors have been surprised that I successfully queried a self-published book. The truth is, I didn’t know not to. While I was querying, I was building my author platform via social media, strengthening my network of fellow authors, and honing my writing skills—all while producing two more books. I knew I just needed one yes—just one editor who got my writing and loved it. It was a surreal and thrilling moment when I got that email.
2. I’m a planster
Authors will often identify as a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’, as in ‘I’m flying by the seat of my pants’. I discovered, while writing One Summer in Santorini, that I am a ‘plantser’. The story is inspired by my real-life love story, so I knew how it started. Sarah would go to Santorini to embark on a sailing trip and she’d meet a cute American guy, just like I did.
What I didn’t know until the story started to unfold, was that she’d also meet a handsome silver fox. As I typed the words, a love triangle emerged—one that would carry over into two more books. As the author of these romantic entanglements, I oscillated between ‘Team (American guy) Josh’ ‘Team (the Silver Fox) James’. In fact, it wasn’t until I wrote Act III of the sequel that I knew who Sarah ended up with.
As a plantser, I start with a rough storyline, including locations and characters, but I’m open to seeing where the story goes, and I am often delighted by the twists and turns that emerge.
3. The writing community is incredible
Writing is a solitary endeavour—it’s just you and the words, right? Or so I thought.
As I started to engage with the online writing community, I was surprised to learn two things: how incredibly welcoming and supportive other authors are; and how integral the writing community is to my work. Quite simply, I couldn’t do it without the many authors I am connected with around the world.
Since I wrote One Summer in Santorini, I have sought and given feedback. I’ve engaged beta readers and became a beta reader. I’ve been part of book blog tours and I hosted my own. I’ve been an early reader and given quotes for marketing, and I’ve received some lovely quotes for my own.
When I received rejection after rejection, I was encouraged by the writing community to keep at it, and I’ve been able to reciprocate many times as we lend each other support and champion each other’s successes. I’ve even made close friends I’ve yet to meet face-to-face. So, though it is essentially a solitary endeavour, we’re not alone. We’re all in this together. And that has been the greatest thing I’ve learned in the past couple of years.
About One Summer in Santorini
There was something in the air that night…
Sarah has had enough of men. It’s time to rekindle her first true love – travel – so she books a sailing trip around the Greek islands with a group of strangers.
The very last thing Sarah wants is to meet someone new, but then a gorgeous American man boards her yacht… And when she also encounters a handsome silver fox who promises her the world, she realises that trouble really does come in twos.
Will Sarah dive into a holiday fling or stick to her plan to steer clear of men, continue her love affair with feta and find her own way after all?
The perfect holiday read to escape with this summer, for fans of Annie Robertson’s My Mamma Mia Summer and Mandy Baggot’s One Last Greek Summer.
One Summer in Santorini is available on Amazon.
About Sandy Barker
I’m a writer and traveller with a lengthy bucket list and cheeky sense of humour. When I travel, I love exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local. I’m also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.
As well as blogging about travel, life, writing, reading, and (sometimes) serious stuff, I am an author of romantic fiction.
As an author, I write the heart – what makes it sing, what breaks it, and how it mends – and many of my travel adventures have found homes in my novels. My first novel, a romantic comedy set in Greece and inspired by my real-life love story, was published in June 2019 by One More Chapter (HarperCollins).
In 2020, two follow-ups to One Summer in Santorini will hit bookshelves. That Night in Paris in March and One Summer in Love in June, and a stand-alone Christmas novel, The Christmas Swap, will be published in October.
You can find Sandy at: