Carol Townend was born in Yorkshire in the north of England. Because her family's roots can be traced back at least as far as the fifteenth century, she likes to think she might have Viking ancestry. Certainly from yeoman farmer stock sprang a great-grandfather who founded woolen mills in the horse-and-carriage days of Queen Victoria. Other forebears were on visiting terms with the Bronte sisters who created Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, and Cathy and Heathcliff.
Reading has always been important to Carol, who used to read under the bedclothes when she was meant to be asleep. As a child, she drove her mother to despair when she insisted on reading boys' comics like The Beezer and the entire set of the Biggles books, several times.
Luckily Carol was schooled by nuns in a castle on the Whitby cliffsthe Whitby of Count Dracula fameand the wild beauty of the Yorkshire landscape continues to provide her with plenty of inspiration for her novels. It was there that, much to her mother's relief, the good sisters steered her gently away from the comics by introducing her to the classics of English literature.
After leaving school, Carol completed a history degree at Royal Holloway College, part of London University. In the '70's she worked in media and advertising, and met her husband when they were both working at Saatchi & Saatchi. When their daughter went off to school at age five, the stories that Carol had squirreled away began to emerge. Thanks to an early Amstrad word processor, her first historical romance, Sapphire in the Snow, was sold to Mills & Boon in 1989. It won the RNA New Writers' Award. Other historical romances and sagas followed, as well as dozens of articles on writing for Writing Magazine and Writers' News. It sounds easy, but it wasn't. Rejection letters still turn up in office clear outs.
Carol is currently working on novels set in England and Europe just after the Norman Conquest. She revels in the researchwhether it be visiting the watery, marshy fens of East Anglia, or driving down through France to the Cathar country southwest of Carcassonne. Beyond that Italy, Sicily and the Byzantine Empire beckon. Carol never knows where inspiration will come from next. The lie of the land, the layout of a street, the quiet dusty corner of a cathedral, a statuette in a museum, a river in Brittany splitting into two streams around an island, a face in a magazineany one of them may do the trick.
All Carol's stories, however, regardless of setting, champion a phrase first used by Virgil over a thousand years ago. In Latin it reads: Omnia vincit amorLove conquers all.