Travel to Santorini with Sandy Barker
Sandy Barker transports readers to Santorini
The latest novel by Sandy Barker is a treat for travellers of all descriptions! Armchair and real as you can enjoy the lucious settings from the comfort of your home but if you take this novel to Santorini, imagine how brilliant that would be! Sandy has been kind enough to invite you all here today for One Summer in Santorini…
So- can you tell us a bit about location and setting?
One Summer in Santorini is about how to rediscover your fabulous self by travelling. Sarah, heartbroken and humiliated, has booked herself on a ten-day sailing trip starting in Santorini, and sailing the Greek Islands on a yacht. There’s something magical about this part of the world – the briny air, the sun on her face, the inky depths of the Aegean sea, the red volcanic rocks of the islands which contrast brilliantly with the stark white of the boxy dwellings. Greece is a place that make my heart happy.
Tell us more about this wonderful journey you went on.
I’ve been on a sailing trip around the Cyclades Islands twice. The first trip was when I met my partner (we met on the pier right before we stepped onto the yacht) and the next time when we celebrated an anniversary. Both trips were with the same skipper, and although he’s a Kiwi, he knows these islands well. I’ve mined a lot of our first trip with Patrick from One Summer in Santorini – we started that trip on Santorini and went to the same islands as Sarah in One Summer in Santorini.
On that trip, Naxos was my favourite island – perhaps because that’s where I started to fall for my partner. On our second trip with Patrick, we again started on Santorini but got to explore new islands, and I now consider Sifnos my favourite in the Cyclades. One night we anchored in a tiny cove Patrick had discovered his previous trip and we were the only boat there. We swam off the boat and had a moonlit BBQ on the tiny beach. I was magical.
Tell us about the food!
I love Greek food. There’s something elegant in the simplicity and intensity of the flavours. In my book, they grow the best tomatoes in the world. Every time I travel to Greece, I am in danger of turning into a tomato. And there is little that beats a Greek Salad, or horiatiki as the Greek call it, of fresh tomatoes, plump, briny, Kalamata olives, crumbly feta, fresh oregano, crisp cucumber and a drizzle of peppery olive oil. Just divine. I also love roasted goat, and there’s a vegetable stew, called briami, that’s to die for.
How you do evoke setting in your work and why is location important to your story?
Travel features heavily in my writing, because it is one of my great loves. I like to go, see, do, eat and then write about it. In my writing, I want to capture the feel of what it’s like to be in those incredible locations. I give attention to the details – the sights, the smells, the taste of the food, the emotions evoked by being in each place. Importantly, the characters I write are transformed in some way by being away from home, and by gaining a fresh perspective from a new location.
How did you research your novel?
In all my books (and I am working on my 4th), I write about places I’ve been to and have great affinity with. When I travel, I take a lot of photographs – some even turn out pretty well – but mostly, they are to remind me of the details I might forget. I also write detailed travel journals and I blog about travel too. When I start writing a new book set in specific locations, I draw on my blog posts, journals and photos for the details that help me evoke setting. Google is also a terrific way to verify specific facts.
Where do you live and how does that affect how you write?
I live in Melbourne, but I have also lived in Perth (Australia), Sydney, Bali, the US (LA, Seattle and Minnesota), the UK (London and Rugby) and Porto, Portugal. Different cities have different personalities, and I do try to capture the feel of those places if they feature in my writing. In addition, I also like writing Australian characters who travel, or who live overseas. I think we tend to be quite intrepid. Whenever we travel, we almost always meet Australians – no matter where in the world we are.
How else do you get the sense of a place in your work? (the culture, language, habits etc)
I like to incorporate language and customs in my writing as a way of fleshing out each location. My third book is set in Europe (on a coach trip), and one of the supporting characters is French and he speaks Italian. My brother-in-law, who is fluent in both languages, was a great help when I was editing. He would make suggestions based on what someone would actually say – the vernacular – as well as correcting the grammar or syntax. Language can give such a great air of authenticity to settings in fiction.
Have you ever travelled somewhere to see a literary setting of some kind ?
We spent eight days in Edinburgh last year and, yes, I was excited to go on a JK Rowling walking tour. It was terrific seeing real locations which inspired her Harry Potter world. And we also went on an Outlander tour, exploring locations used to film the TV series based on the books. It was a thrilling day, because I absolutely love Diana Gabbaldon’s books, and the tour really brought those locations to life.
BookTrail Boarding Pass: One Summer in Santorini