Welcome to the fourth Day in the Life of a Writer series. If you’d like to check out all the featured writers, please click here.
Sandy Barker is an Australian romantic fiction author who loves threading her love of travel into her writing. She has published three romantic comedy novels, is a self-professed coffee snob, wine lover, and has a lengthy bucket list that she is ticking off.
I came to know Sandy through Twitter and after reading her debut novel ‘One Summer in Santorini’, I immediately fell for her fun writing style. It’s such a pleasure to have her feature on the blog. So, without any further ado, here’s Sandy!
A Day in the Life of Sandy Barker
I work fulltime for an education company, so I need to fit all the business of being an author around that. I typically wake between 5:00am and 5:30am and check my social media. As an author, it is a critical aspect of marketing, so I am on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I also blog semi-regularly and contribute as a guest blogger to writing and reading sites across the world (like this one!).
Often, I will need to slap my own hand, as social media can be a bit of a time suck, and I need to get onto writing or editing, depending on what ‘mode’ I’m currently in.
If I’m writing, I will typically read back over what I wrote the day before or the last time I wrote. I will tweak as I read, which helps me when it comes to editing (I am future proofing my draft), but it also helps me get back into the cadence of the story. I will then aim to write the next scene. A scene can be a full chapter, or part of a chapter, but it is a complete section―a place where the reader could put down the book at a natural stopping point.
If I’m conducting a structural edit, I just slog through in chronological order, referring back to the editorial notes I have received. A copy edit is a lighter edit and comes next, usually highlighting overused words, adding missing words, or suggesting different syntax. I will work through that edit systematically too, referring to my author style guide.
Then I go to my day job around 8:00am or 9:00am.
Around the time I am releasing a book―I have 3 out now―I will ease off on the writing and focus on supporting the marketing of the book, such as organising a book blog tour, or ensuring the publication announcement is sent off to reader and writer associations.
And as I am building a writing career, all of this is a bit like washing your hair―lather, rinse, repeat. I can be penning the first draft of a new book, editing a manuscript, and launching my latest book all in the same month―a little exhausting sometimes, but so worth it!
The Hot 5
What’s your favourite thing about being a writer?
I love hearing from readers who have enjoyed my books. This is an incredible feeling. And whether they’ve just had a good laugh, or they’ve experienced a break through in their own lives because they’re going through something similar to one of my characters―I’m always happy to hear from those readers.
Who are your favourite or most inspiring authors?
Lindsey Kelk is a Brit author living in the States and she is about to publish her 15th book in 10 years. She writes heartfelt romcoms and I aspire to be as prolific and accomplished as she is.
I also love Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series. She is a brilliant storyteller, but what sets her apart for me, is her incredible prose. It’s the stuff of dreams.
What’s the hardest thing about the writing process?
Editing! I tend to ‘write clean’ as my editor says, but almost all the feedback I get for structural edits (the meaty, dig in and get mucky round of edits) is about ‘digging deeper’, showing more of the heart. I just finished this round of edits for my 4th book, which is a triple narrative. Any changes to one timeline affected the other timelines, so it was an extensive edit. It is on my editor’s desk now and I am nervously awaiting her feedback.
What’s your go to food or drink during writing?
TEA! I start early as you’ll see in my ‘day in a life’ and I can drink four giant mugs of tea before I properly start my day.
What’s your number one tip for aspiring authors?
Only one? Yikes. Get the words down. Tell your story. You can always edit it later, apply the feedback, shape it, enhance it, but you cannot edit an empty page. My favourite quote is by Goethe: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Begin it!
Follow Sandy on her socials:
Buy links for The Holiday Romance series:
One Night in Santorini https://amzn.to/37SLTEk
That Night in Paris https://amzn.to/2wFNW1p
A Sunset in Sydney https://amzn.to/3cPBAmV
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.
Sandy’s first novel, a romantic comedy set in Greece and inspired by her real-life love story, was published in June 2019 by One More Chapter (HarperCollins). In 2020, two follow-ups to One Summer in Santorini hit the shelves: That Night in Paris in April and A Sunset in Sydney in July. A stand-alone Christmas novel, The Christmas Swap, will be published in October.