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:
- Website: www.barbarataylorbradford.com
- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbara.t.bradford
- Twitter handle: @BTBNovelist
- Pinterest page: www.Pinterest.com/BarbaraTaylorBradford
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.