One summer in Greece will change everything…
Anna’s running away. From a failed relationship, a dead-end career and a complicated family life.
On the island of Santorini, with its picturesque villas, blue-tiled roofs, and the turquoise waters of the Aegean lapping at the white sand beaches, Anna inherits a less-than-picturesque summer house from her estranged father. As she rebuilds the house, she rebuilds her life, uncovering family secrets along the way that change everything. She starts to fall for her little slice of paradise, as well as for gorgeous, charming Nikos.
Will Anna lose her heart in more ways than one?
Well I am super excited to be sharing with you Samantha Parks’ writing must haves!!!!
My Writing Must-Haves, by Samantha Parks, Author of The Summer House in Santorini
The Summer House in Santorini may be my first published novel, but it’s certainly not the first thing I’ve written. I’ve been writing since high school, and I even write professionally now for marketing agencies and blogs. I’ve always been fussy about my writing environment and habits, and writing this book was no different. Here are the things I absolutely MUST have for a productive writing session:
- A hair tie
Remember in A Series of Unfortunate Events how Violet Baudelaire always had to tie her hair back to invent something? I’m like that. I can’t think creatively with my hair in my face or on my neck.
- A good playlist
I’m incredibly picky about my writing background music. Whether I’m writing a chapter in a novel or a technical manual, I have to have fairly neutral music. Nothing with well-enunciated words. Spotify’s focus playlists are good, but they get repetitive, so I’m always up for recommendations!
- My blue light filter glasses
My ophthalmologist has told me that these literally saved my eyesight. When you’re staring at screens all day, it can lead to serious eye fatigue at best and early stages of detached retinas at worst. But don’t be duped by the Instagram ads, people. The cheap ones work just as well as the uber-cute ones. Mine are nice enough and cost me £10. Shop wisely.
A lot of writers swear by a distraction-free environment, but I could not write a novel without Google there. Not only is it great for checking certain details, but some background information found along the way inspires part of the story. Do I write more slowly than if I turned off the internet? Maybe. But it’s the only way I can get through it. The annoyance of having loose ends would drive me mad.
- A good temperature
I run incredibly hot, so it’s important to me to have a cool room. There’s a reason the bulk of this novel was written in the winter.
Always gotta stay hydrated! No tea or coffee for me, as it gives me the shakes, and then I need to stop for fresh air. Best to stick to good old fashioned water.
- No Shoes
I honestly think that my creativity lives in my feet, and it can’t flow unless they are bare. This is why I most often write at home, because believe it or not randoms in coffee shops don’t love seeing bare feet.
- A deadline
As a classic procrastinator, I absolutely MUST have a deadline, or all the urgency is gone for me. Some say it stifles the creative process, but I say necessity is the mother of invention, and I’m grateful for every deadline imposed on my by editors, clients and husbands along the way.
When I can, I try to have these things going on as well:
- A comfortable seat
While I have been known to go on a writing spree in a crappy chair in Starbucks, the bulk of my writing happens in my spare room, where my gamer husband has invested in a pretty decent office chair. It makes a big difference for me.
- My husband in the other room
Speaking of my husband, having him in the house while I write definitely helps. If I wander out to find snacks or sneak in an episode of something on Netflix, he’ll ask why I’ve stopped writing. Nothing like the fear of shame to keep you in your seat.
Note that nowhere on that list was inspiration. Contrary to what some people think, you don’t have to feel inspired to write. If I waited until I felt inspired to sit down, I would be on Chapter 2. The inspiration comes when you put words down on the page, rarely before. Sometimes it doesn’t come at all, but those days become fewer and further between when you make it a habit.
How does your writing environment differ from mine? Tweet me @samanthajgale and let me know!
Samantha Parks is the pen name of Sam Gale. Her pen name comes from her late grandmother Velma Hobbs nee Parks, who was one of Sam’s greatest role models. Sam was born in North Carolina but now resides in Bournemouth, UK with her husband Alex. She owns a successful marketing company and is enjoying her slow descent into “crazy plant lady” status.