Secrets from the Past by Barbara Taylor Bradford

By SMW Staff

Secrets from the Past by Barbara Taylor BradfordIf you’ve read any of Barbara Taylor Bradford’s 27 best-sellers, you know she writes about powerhouse woman, often single and looking for love, and definitely ready to conquer the world. This month, with the release of her 28th saga, SECRETS FROM THE PAST, the living icon shared with her favorite book to write and the magic behind her 50 year marriage.    

Barbara, first, it’s an honor to speak with you. You always write about women with strong convictions, who can run circles around any man that comes their way. Serena Stone, your latest protagonist in Secrets from the Past, is a war photographer on the front lines. How did you develop this character?

I was on holiday in the south of France with Bob a couple of summers ago when the Arab spring was in full force. It was brutally hot outside, so I stayed in my hotel room and watched the news most of the day. CNN. FOX. SKY. BBC. All of them had women reporters on the scene in Egypt, Libya and Syria. As a former journalist, I wanted to run to the Middle East and be a part of this scene and report on the eruptions of violence. Of course, Bob, my husband would have no part in it. So, instead, I decided to write a novel about a female photojournalist who is right in the heart of conflict. Serena is a strong woman, but one who is burnt out from all the terrible things she has seen from the front lines. That is where her story begins.

You call yourself a Family Saga Novelist and your books usually weave tales around big families, what’s the allure?

I’ve always loved the big saga. Gone with the wind was one of my favorite novels when I was a child. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens was another. I love the concept of having more than just the protagonist to root for. Layers of support characters make for interesting reading… and writing.  When I wrote a woman of substance, I had the luxury of time to write a big book with a large family and three generations of characters. And so began the Harte family saga. These books have been my most popular among my readers, so I often return to this genre when I begin a new novel. My readers and my publishers have come to expect this kind of book from me.

Finish this sentence…My favorite part about writing Secrets from the Past was ____________.

The research. Reading all these first-hand accounts from the journalists in the Middle East was fascinating for me. It gave me a great deal of inspiration to write realistically about the life of these men and women who put their lives on the line to report the news to the rest of the world.

What was your favorite book to write?

All of my books are like my children. It’s hard to pick a favorite among them.  A recent book that I greatly enjoyed writing is called “breaking the rules.” My UK publisher wanted a new novel about the Harte family for the 30th anniversary of a woman of substance. My US publisher didn’t want another Harte book at that time. My compromise was to write about a new character from the Harte family (m), who runs away from her life in England to start anew in New York. However, as one can never fully escape their past, old family enemies catch up with her and make her life chaotic in the second half of the book. That’s also where I was able to bring back many of the popular characters from the series in cameo roles, and to resolve some unfinished business from the earlier books. Writing this book was a great challenge, but most satisfying.

You credit your husband Robert Bradford with being the most romantic person you’ve ever met. What’s the most recent romantic thing he’s done for you?

Grand gestures aren’t usually his thing. Bob has surprised me with 50 years of gifts, vacations and romantic meals. For our 40th wedding anniversary, he threw me this big surprise party in New York at a club called “doubles” with about 150 of our friends. He got Julio Iglesias to come to NY and serenade us at the party. That was surely romantic.

Barbara Taylor BradfordAbout the Author

Barbara Taylor Bradford was born and brought up in England, and started her writing career as a journalist. 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.


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