Friday Reads – The Dating Game by Sandy Barker

It’s time for another Friday Reads blog and my featured book this week is the hilarious romcom, The Dating Game, by Sandy Barker. Let’s find out a bit about the book then get chatting to Sandy.


Abby Jones has a secret identity …

While her dream is to be an investigative journalist, in her ‘day job’ she is the Anastasia Blabbergasted, Queen of Snark and illustrious recapper of British reality television shows for online magazine, Feed Your Mind. When a recap of reality dating show, The Stag, goes viral, the show’s producers practically insist that she joins next season’s cast, undercover as a Doe – won’t that make her recaps all the spicier! Abby’s editor is all for the idea, but Abby can’t think of anything worse – even though next season is filming in Sydney!

That is until Abby meets gorgeous Australian, Jack – rescuer from murderous elevator doors and the producer of the show. With the opportunity to write a juicy tell-all and perhaps break out of recapping once and for all, a free trip to Sydney, and (let’s face it) more time with the gorgeous Aussie, Abby looks on the bright side, donning a whole new persona as ‘Doe Abby’.

Buy links:

You can read Sandy’s interview with Abby from The Dating Game on my blog here:

Welcome back to my blog, Sandy. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Ever since my first book came out in 2019, many family members and old friends have mentioned that I’ve always talked of being a writer, and it’s true but I didn’t actively start pursuing it as a career until around 2015.

Has any author inspired you?

All authors who I read inspire me because I know exactly how much effort it takes to get a book down and then edited, but it was reading Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart series back in 2013 that made me realise there was a place in the publishing world for my destination romcoms.

What do you like writing most?

I love the experience of telling myself the story, When I’m in the flow and the characters are living and breathing in my head and I ‘simply’ follow them around and write down that they do and say – that is an incredible feeling.

Do you have a special place for writing?

I typically write at my stand-up desk which has views of Melbourne’s Yarra River, but I am also partial to writing at beachside pubs and cafes and the occasional sunlounger.

Are you a pantster or a plotter?

I’m a ‘plantser’ in that I know the broad strokes, the ending, and the beats I want to hit in the manuscript but how I get to those is total pantsing.

Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?

Oh, absolutely. I’m inspired by my real-life travel experiences (much like you are) and many of my characters are inspired by people I know well or have encountered. I am also a shameless stealer of other people’s funny or interesting anecdotes (fair warning!).

What are you writing at the moment?

I am about half-way through the first book in my new 5-book series which is set in a bespoke London-based dating agency. Each book is a new love story and the agency employees form the cast of regulars who feature in every book. Book 1 will be out later this year, as I’ve just signed with a new publisher.

That sounds fun! What inspired you to write this book?

During lockdown – and my current hometown, Melbourne, was the most locked-down city in the world from 2020-2022 – I binged both Call My Agent and Ten Percent (the UK version). I loved the idea of a series set around an agency and as I write romcoms, those two big-picture concepts came together. Book 1 is about a marriage of convenience, with an enemies-to-lovers storyline – both fun tropes to explore.

What time of the day do you write best?

I still work 4 days a week in adult education, so I write in the early mornings on those days. I also dedicate Fridays to writing and a few hours each on Saturdays and Sunday. Sometimes inspiration will strike at odd times of the day, like the middle of the night, but I find I write my best stuff first thing in the morning.

What are your hobbies?

Travel, wine tasting (and travelling to go wine tasting), films, reading, hosting dinner parties … I’m into fitness but only for my health – I don’t love it.

What advice would you give to other writers?

Read widely. Get the words down. Be an honest critic of your own work. Learn as much as you can about the craft. Find your writing tribe. But most importantly, be kind to yourself. It can be a harrowing ride.

Great advice! Lovely to talk to you, Sandy. I’ve read this book and loved it, it made me laugh so much.

Meet Sandy

Author Bio – Sandy Barker

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 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 five-book Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.

The series continues in Paris, Sydney, and Bali with Tuscany the final destination in the series. Sandy’s novels The Christmas Swap and The Christmas Trip celebrate her favourite time of the year, and her romcom, The Dating Game, is set in the (fascinating) world of Reality TV.

Follow Sandy

Twitter – @sandybarker

Facebook – Sandy Barker – Author

Instagram – @sandybarkerauthor

Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page:

One thought on “Friday Reads – The Dating Game by Sandy Barker

  1. The dating game sounded just fabulous so I went and bought it for my kindle. Looking forward to reading it.

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