Friday, 14 February 2014

Author Interview with Barbara Taylor Bradford

All of us here at Booky Ramblings are thrilled to welcome the amazing Barbara Taylor Bradford to the blog to answer a few questions for us, and for you! We all hope you enjoy our interview with the bestselling author.

About Barbara Taylor Bradford

Barbara Taylor Bradford is the author of 25 bestselling novels, including Playing the Game, Breaking the Rules, and The Ravenscar Dynasty. She was born in Leeds, England, and from an early age, she was a voracious reader: at age 12, she had already read all of Dickens and the Brontë sisters. By the age of twenty, she was an editor and columnist on Fleet Street. She published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, in 1979, and it has become an enduring bestseller.

Barbara Taylor Bradford’s books are published in over 90 countries in 40 languages, with sales figures in excess of 82 million. Ten of her novels have been adapted into television mini-series starring actors including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Deborah Kerr and Elizabeth Hurley. She has been inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America, and in June of 2007, Barbara was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to Literature.

She lives in New York City with her husband, television producer Robert Bradford, to whom all her novels are dedicated, and their Bichon Frise dogs, who sit under her desk while she writes.

Booky Ramblings Interviews Barbara Taylor Bradford

   At what point in your life did you realise that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream, but a career you were going to turn into reality?

I started writing when I was seven. When I was ten, and had had some practice by then, my mother sent a story to a children’s magazine. It was about a little girl who wanted a pony, and how she went about getting it. Nobody was more amazed than me when they not only accepted it, but paid me ten shillings and sixpence! My destiny was sealed when I received that postal order.
4.       Do you recall how your interest in writing started?
My mentor Cornelius Ryan, historian of the Second World War, told me that if I wrote five pages a day every day for a year, I would get into the habit of doing it and would probably have over 400,000 words and the making of a novel.
5.       Do you ever experience writer’s block?
1.       No! My mentor, Cornelius Ryan, told me not to sit staring at the blank page all day, but to get some thoughts down on paper, whatever they were, so that I had something to rewrite the next day.
6.       Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published, if you had any?
I didn’t have any. A friend, who was an agent, gave my outline to a publisher, who happened to be in his office the day he received it. I had sent it to him to get his opinion. He thought it was so good, he gave it to the publisher, who also liked it, and passed it on to the woman at Doubleday in New York who would become my editor. She asked for some pages and a month later I gave her 90, and they bought the book in 48 hours on the outline and the chapter I had delivered.
7.       Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I have mostly been influenced by the classics: Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy, and the French writer Collette.
8.       Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I am currently writing a new book, the sequel to Cavendon Hall - called The Cavendon Women.
1     Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
A novel is a monumental lie that has to have the absolute ring of truth if it is going to succeed.  So yes, my stories are from my imagination, but I do a lot of research if I am writing about such things as wars. However, life teaches everyone about life and gives a writer insight into how we behave.
1     What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I haven’t had a great deal of criticism, and the best compliment I could have is when someone says ‘I couldn’t put this book down.’
1     Do you have any advice to give to aspiring authors?
To sit down and write an outline, and to think everything out. Once the story and the characters are clear, then the next thing to do is to actually write the book.
1     Do you get much time to spend reading yourself?
Not as much as I’d like, but I always take books away with me on vacation.
Barbara's latest book, Cavendon Hall, is out now, and you can also read Lisa's review here.

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