Interview & Contest: Barbara Taylor Bradford

Today we welcome best selling author Barbara Taylor Bradford to Romancing the Book. And we thank JoAnne, one of our staff reviewers, for interviewing Barbara today. Now ladies, take it away…

JoAnne:  I have loved all your books from the first one I read – A Woman of Substance. Where do you get your inspirations for your books all of which have strong female characters?

Barbara: THE CHARACTERS ARE ALL INVENTIONS FROM MY IMAGINATION. HOWEVER, THERE IS ALWAYS INSPIRATION FROM PEOPLE AROUND ME, AND FROM THOSE WHO INSPIRE ME. MY MOTHER WAS A STRONG, DETERMINED WOMAN. I GET A LOT OF MY STRENGTH AND MENTAL TOUGHNESS FROM HER. MARGARET THATCHER IS A GREAT HERO OF MINE. SO WAS ELIZABETH I, AND OTHER STRONG WOMEN THROUGHOUT HISTORY. I READ MANY BIOGRAPHIES AND I AM OFTEN INSPIRED BY THE TRAITS OF THESE WORLD-CONQUERING WOMEN.

JoAnne: Do you have a favorite character from your books? Do you have a favorite book that you’ve written?

Barbara: EMMA HARTE FROM A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE WOULD BE AN OBVIOUS ANSWER. AND PERHAPS SHE IS MY MOST ENDURING CHARACTER. CERTAINLY, HER NAME AND STORY STILL RESONATE WITH MY READERS ALL THESE YEARS LATER. A PERSONAL FAVORITE CHARACTER AND BOOK OF MINE IS MAXIMILLIAN WEST FROM THE WOMEN IN HIS LIFE. THIS CHARACTER WAS LOOSELY BASED ON MY HUSBAND, BOB, WHO NARROWLY ESCAPED CAPTURE BY THE NAZIS AS A YOUNG BOY IN GERMANY. THAT WHOLE NOVEL IS DEEPLY PERSONAL AND WRITING IT WAS QUITE AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR ME.

JoAnne: Do you know you’ll be writing a series as opposed to a stand alone book when you start? If it’s going to be a series, how detailed do you plot it out?

Barbara: GREAT QUESTION. THE ONLY SERIES THAT I EVER INTENDED TO WRITE WAS THE RAVENSCAR TRILOGY. I KNEW GOING IN THAT I WANTED TO TAKE 100 YEARS OF ENGLISH HISTORY AND BRING IT FORWARD TO THE 20TH CENTURY WITH A FOCUS ON THREE MAIN CHARACTERS. EDWARD DERAVENEL WAS BASED ON KING EDWARD IV IN THE RAVENSCAR DYNASTY. HARRY TURNER WAS BASED ON HENRY VIII IN HEIRS OF RAVENSCAR. AND ELIZABETH TURNER WAS BASED ON ELIZABETH I IN THE BOOK BEING ELIZABETH. I KNEW THAT 100 YEARS OF HISTORY AND THREE PROTAGONISTS WOULDN’T ALL FIT INTO ONE NOVEL, SO I MADE THIS INTO A TRILOGY. I’VE WRITTEN SIX SEQUELS TO A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE THUS FAR. EACH SUCCESSIVE BOOK IN THAT FAMILY SAGA WAS ADDED BASED ON READER DEMAND AND AT THE REQUEST OF MY PUBLISHERS. I ALWAYS TRY TO MAKE ALL MY BOOKS WORK AS A STAND-ALONE, NO MATTER WHETHER THEY ARE SINGLE BOOKS, OR PART OF A LARGER SERIES. BUT PLOTTING FOR A LARGER SERIES IS DIFFERENT THAN WRITING AN OUTLINE FOR A SINGLE NOVEL.

JoAnne: How did you feel when you were awarded the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for your contributions to Literature especially since you received your medal from the Queen herself at Buckingham Palace?

Barbara: MY OBE INVESTITURE WAS A GREAT HIGHLIGHT IN MY CAREER AND IN MY LIFE. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A GREAT ADMIRER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH. HAVING THE CHANCE TO MEET HER, ALBEIT FOR JUST A BRIEF MOMENT WAS A MAGICAL MOMENT FOR ME. HERE IS A VIDEO CLIP OF MY BIG MOMENT AT THE PALACE:

JoAnne: Who is your favorite author? What is your favorite book?

Barbara: HAVING GROWN UP IN YORKSHIRE, I HAVE TO SAY THAT THE BRONTE SISTERS ARE MY FAVORITES. I SPENT MANY AFTERNOONS IN HAWORTH, VISITING THE BRONTE HOUSE (NOW A MUSEUM) AS A CHILD. MY MOTHER HAD ME READING ALL OF THEIR NOVELS WHEN I WAS ABOUT TEN YEARS OLD. MY FAVORITE OF THESE IS WUTHERING HEIGHTS — A BRILLIANT STORY OF LOVE AND REVENGE. OF MODERN DAY AUTHORS, I’M A BIG FAN OF DANIEL SILVA, PATRICIA CORNWELL AND MARY HIGGINS CLARK.

JoAnne: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Barbara: EVERY YEAR, USUALLY IN SEPTEMBER, I GET TO GO HOME TO ENGLAND AND SPEND SOME TIME UP IN YORKSHIRE WHERE I GREW UP. I’VE BEEN LIVING IN NEW YORK FOR MOST OF MY ADULT LIFE, BUT YORKSHIRE WILL ALWAYS BE THE PLACE OF MY YOUTH. I STILL HAVE GOOD FRIENDS, AN AUNT AND COUSINS BACK IN THE AREA. EVERY TIME THAT I HEAD HOME TO YORKSHIRE I AM SUDDENLY TRANSPORTED BACK TO A SIMPLER, HAPPY TIME. THERE IS NO PLACE THAT I WOULD ENJOY VISITING MORE THAN MY OLD HOMETOWN. HONORABLE MENTION WOULD BE THE CITY OF VENICE, WHICH HAPPENS TO BE THE MAIN LOCATION OF THE BOOK I AM NOW WRITING.

JoAnne: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Barbara: I’D LOVE TO KNOW HOW MANY OF THEM ARE READING BOOKS ON E-READERS VS PRINTED BOOKS THESE DAYS. DO THEY THINK THAT PRINTED BOOKS ARE A THING OF THE PAST, OR WILL THEY MANAGE TO PREVAIL IN THIS INCREASINGLY DIGITAL SOCIETY.

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Barbara Taylor Bradford was born and brought up in England, and started her writing career as a journalist. She has written twenty-six international bestsellers. This is her twenty-seventh novel. In 2007, Queen Elizabeth awarded her the OBE for her literary achievements. She currently lives in New York with her husband, TV and film producer Robert Bradford.
Website: http://www.barbarataylorbradford.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/BarbaraTaylorBradford
Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/BTBNovelist

Contest details:

  • The prize is a print copy of Letter from a Stranger, courtesy of Get Red PR.
  • The contest is open to US & Canadian residents only.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • A valid email address needs to be included in your comment.  If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  You can also send a message to this email after your comment has been posted.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, April 8.

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