FAQ about The Summer House in Santorini

Q: Are any of the characters based off people you know?

A: Nope, not at all. That feels like a major no-go to me. Not only will you inevitably take liberties with a person’s story, but it also limits the way you think about your characters. 

Q: Have you been to Santorini? If so, what was your favourite part?

A: I haven’t actually! I spent a lot of time walking down the streets on Google Street View as I researched, but I have sadly not yet been there, despite my best efforts to try to convince my husband I needed a research trip. I do plan to go at some point though, and I’ve made my ultimate Santorini bucket list!

Q: What was the hardest part about writing the book?

A: Definitely the edits. You put all of this work into a story and then have to detach yourself enough to be very objective and make the best choices for your story and your characters. It’s not easy. I definitely cried a couple of times. But it’s so worth it. The version of the book you all have is so much better than the first version I wrote.

Q: Who is your favourite character and why?

A: Nikos is the obvious choice, but for me it’s Elena. She’s such a powerhouse and unapologetic. I admire her a lot. I identify more with Anna, but I like Elena much better. I feel like we would be friends.

Q: What inspired you to write the book?

A: My editor actually asked me to write a book set in Santorini, so that was always the starting point. I was inspired a lot by the history of the island. It used to be one big island, but a volcanic event caused it to break apart and sink, creating the myth of Atlantis and leaving behind the islands and caldera we know today. That trauma completely rocked the island, but it also made it possible for it to grow into the paradise it is today. The cliffside towns would have no cliffs if it weren’t for the centre of the island breaking off and sinking into the sea. The volcanic ash in the soil is what makes its produce so delicious, especially the grapes used to make wine. The trauma was horrible but it shaped the beautiful future of the island. And I wanted Anna’s story to mirror that.

Q: Would you ever write a sequel?

A: I don’t think it’s possible for an author to write an entire book and then NOT think about the future of the characters, unless they all die (which, spoiler alert, is not how my book ends). So do I think I have a sequel in me? Yes. I do. I know what the next big struggle for Anna will be. But would I write that sequel without being explicitly asked to? No, I wouldn’t. In fact, I’ve already started work on the next novel, and it’s completely unrelated.

Writing/NewsSamantha Gale