I’m delighted to welcome Sandy Barker to my blog.
Hello Sandy – It was lovely to connect with you through the Romantic Novelists' Association and I have been looking forward to hosting you on Arabella's Blog and Chit-Chat. But before we discover more about your latest release, The Christmas Swap, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.
Arabella: You’ve got an idea for a story but it has yet to take shape. Where do you start? Do you concentrate on the location in the story, or developing the characters personalities, or are there other key points you might consider?
Sandy: All my books are travel romances, so I typically start with the location (somewhere I’ve visited or lived), and then I consider who should go there and how they will be transformed by their time there. Once I have the basic framework and know who is going where, I let the idea percolate until I can imagine the characters in the location ― almost like watching a film. I typically have a basic outline of the story and detailed character outlines when I start writing ― from there, anything is possible and I am frequently surprised by my characters’ actions.
Arabella: In your latest release The Christmas Swap what is the overall theme or premise, and what made you choose this topic?
Sandy: I really wanted to write a Christmas book as it’s my favourite holiday and I started thinking back over the Christmases I’ve had, particularly those in the US and the UK, which are quite different from the hot Christmases we enjoy here in Australia. Once I had the spark of the idea, that three friends who live in three different countries would swap Christmases, the characters started forming in my head ― each distinct and each with a different feeling about the holiday. Lucy from the UK is desperate for a proper white Christmas, so is enticed by a trip to Colorado. Jules from Colorado is over the freezing winters and jumps at the chance of a hot Christmas in Melbourne, and Chloe is keen to swap her orphans’ ―
her parents are going on a cruise ― for a traditional British Christmas in a sleepy English village. And, of course, as I write romcoms, hilarity and romance follow.
Arabella: Trainers, Slippers or High-Heels?
Sandy: I’ve been in lockdown for the better part of six months and over the cold months, so slippers or Uggs are the norm. I’d love a reason to put on some heels and hit the town ― maybe soon. I am also a bit of a gym junkie ― exercise is my therapy ― so it’s trainers most days too.
Arabella: You’re stuck in a lift and it’s a two-hour wait before a pain-free extraction. What emergency rations would you like to be sent down the lift shaft?
Sandy: My Kindle and a proper coffee. Maybe a cushion.
Arabella: You’ve arranged to meet up with friends and family for an afternoon of fun. Where do you go and what do you do?
Sandy: We go to a winery and sit in the sun, tasting and sipping wine, and grazing on antipasto and cheese while enjoying the view.
Arabella: The moment we are published, a career path is usually envisaged. Do you have any aspirations or ambitions for yourself and any future novels you might write?
Sandy: I work fulltime in adult education and, though I love it, I love writing even more so I am working towards being a fulltime author. The Christmas Swap is my 4th book, and I have just finished writing my 5th and have started my 6th, both in the Holiday Romance series. I have the final book in that series planned out and an idea for a few stand-alones too. There’s a fairy-tale I wrote as a short story years ago that I’d love to write as a novel and my (author) friend and I have a great idea for a dark contemporary thriller. I think that once I am a fulltime author, I can branch out into other genres.
Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Sandy. I too have a soft spot for Uggs when lounging about the house.
All the best for your latest release - The Christmas Swap
About Sandy Barker
|Sandy Barker - Author|
Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. She lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins. The Christmas Swap, Sandy’s fourth novel is a stand-alone and celebrates her favourite time of year.
Book Blurb: The Christmas Swap
Christmas is coming and best friends
Chloe, Jules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays
could be the perfect present for all of them!
Christmas is coming and best friends Chloe, Jules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!
Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.
Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.
And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.
Release dates: Oct 16 (ebook) Nov 26 (print)