Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Interview with Barbara Taylor Bradford, day 2

Welcome back for our second day with Barbara Taylor Bradford!

Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE is a best-selling English novelist. Her debut novel, A Woman of Substance, was published in 1979 and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. It ranks as one of the top-ten bestselling novels of all-time. To date, she has written 29 novels — all bestsellers on both sides of the Atlantic.

You’ve been referred to as your own “woman of substance.” How do you interpret that for yourself, and how does that make you feel?

I suppose people say I'm a woman of substance because I gave Emma Harte so many of my own characteristics, such as drive, ambition, dedication to my work, and the desire to succeed. I rarely think of my actual success because I am very focused on my work. I know who I am, and that is a writer. That's what matters to me.

Ten of your books (to date!) have been adapted for TV films or drama series. Once you reach that initial agreement to take a story to the screen, what’s your involvement?

It is my husband, Robert Bradford, a movie producer by profession, who makes my books into TV drama series. There is no agreement as such. He knows he has the books if he wants to make them. Naturally, we discuss such things as script, and casting, but I don't interfere with the film-making process. He is the producer, the professional, and he knows exactly what he is doing. I'm very lucky! I usually visit the set occasionally, but that's all.

Historical fiction requires a lot of research – which you’re certainly no stranger to. What are a couple of interesting (or unusual, or funny) things you’ve done in the name of research for a book?

I do most of my own historical research, mainly because I enjoy it, and also the research often leads to storylines. I can't think of anything particularly funny or strange involving research. However, I did decide I wanted to revisit a place called Ravenscar in Yorkshire, when I was planning to write the RAVENSCAR TRILOGY. Bob and I and Piers Dudgeon, my biographer, drove over to this famous beauty spot when we were in Yorkshire. It was June and the wind from the North Sea was so powerful and icy cold, we were back in the car within five minutes, where we actually sat on our hands to to warm them. It was so cold even in June, I wondered how people managed to live there centuries before. For the rest of the the visit we simply drove around and stayed in the car. But I've never forgotten how chilled I was on the cliffs.

Along those same lines – can you share a favorite story or two of fans that you’ve met?

I have one amusing story about a fan who brought some of my old books to a signing event. One of them, a paperback, had a small hole right in the center. You could push a pencil through it quite easily. When I remarked about this, she said, "My husband shot it." Apparently he had been annoyed she had read the book all the time that they were on vacation, and when they got home he took it into the yard, stood it on a wall and aimed at it. I must say I had a good laugh with her about this.

Wow, that’s a story most authors probably can’t share! :-) There’s so much more we’d love to ask, but we’ll end with one more question for readers and writers. First, what do you hope readers will gain from reading your books?

I write popular fiction. I hope I entertain, enlighten and inspire my readers with stories about people and the relationships they have with each other. From what my readers say, I do. And I hope that this is so... I want to give my readers my vision of life and the world, the good and the bad.

And, for those would-be authors who are reading, what’s your top advice for someone hoping to become published?

A famous editor once told me this: "Many are called, few are chosen." By that she meant that many people want to write, and do, but don't always make it as a published writer. My advice is to come up with a good story, do the research and write an outline.  Then sit down and write the book, or certainly a good portion of it. Then comes the hardest task, finding an agent to handle it. Most publishers only deal with a literary agent. I wish everyone lots of luck, hope they have an exciting writing career.

Thanks so much for joining us this week – it’s been a pleasure!

Visitors, you can learn more about Barbara’s books and connect with her online in several places:

And don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of her latest novel, Cavendon Hall. Just leave a comment answering this question:

During what era does Cavendon Hall take place, and where?

Please be sure to include your email with your comment (spelling out ‘at’ and ‘dot’ to help cut down on spam). The drawing will be held on Friday morning.


Gabrielle Cole said...

Excellent interview!! Barbara Taylor Bradford is my absolute hero in life. She is an amazing woman who write amazing characters.

~Gabrielle Cole

Gabrielle Cole said...

I apologize for not previously giving a proper answer to the contest question. "Cavendon Hall" by Barbara Taylor Bradford takes place in Yorkshire, England during the Edwardian era.
I am very excited to read this book. I thank the author of this article for the wonderful interview and allowing us this opportunity to win the book. This article and contest have really brightened my day. Thank you very much!
Gabrielle Cole
gcole (at) mcarchitectural (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for interviewing Barbara. I've been seeing her books for a long time. I really enjoyed her tale of autographing a book for a fan where the woman's husband shot a hole in the center of her book. She must have really enjoyed that book. This book took place in the early 1900s. From 1913 to 1929. I call that the Depression years here in America. But in England it would have been the Edwardian era. I would love to win Barbara's book. Thanks for the chance. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

KayM said...

Thanks for the 2-day interview. Barbara Taylor Bradford is one of my favorite authors. I loved Woman of Substance. It's still one of my favorite books. Cavendon Hall is set in Edwardian England.
may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot) com

Gabrielle Cole said...

I want to take a moment and thank the interviewer again for this article on Barbara Taylor Bradford. I was just working and my mind started going over various parts of the article again. I have read every article with Ms. Bradford that has been published on-line (as I have stated, she is my hero). There is information in this interview that I have not read anywhere else. Particularly, how she sat down and wrote on a piece of paper what kind of novel she would really like to write after trying to write four previous books. This helped her to create "A Woman Of Substance". Reading that is a great encouragement to me as an aspiring writer. Thank you very much for publishing this interview. It has been immensely helpful to me.

Gabrielle Cole

Britney Adams said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview! What a funny fan story Barbara shared! CAVENDON HALL takes place in England during the Edwardian Era.

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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