Barbara Taylor Bradford started her writing career in the 1960s as a journalist who felt destined to become "a hard-bitten reporter in a dirty trenchcoat." However, her breakout bestseller, A Woman of Substance (1979), sparked her prolific career as the author of thrilling novels of romance and intrigue.
Barbara Taylor Bradford was born and raised in Yorkshire, England. A voracious reader since childhood, she took her first job at the age of 15 with the Yorkshire Evening Post and by the age of 18 was the newspaper's women's page editor. Two years later, she headed for London and became a reporter for the London Evening News, Today Magazine, and other publications.
After meeting her husband-to-be, Robert Bradford, in 1961, she relocated to the United States. Continuing in journalism, Barbara created the syndicated column "Designing Woman," which ran nationwide for 12 years. Children's books and 8 works on decorating followed.
In 1979, Bradford published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, introducing the Emma Harte saga and beginning an almost uninterrupted string of bestsellers. Her work has been published in more than 90 countries in 40 languages, and total sales of her books now surpass 75 million.
Barbara now lives and writes in New York City with her husband, Robert. In addition to her work as a writer, she is active in a number of major charitable organizations, including the Police Athletic League, Girls Inc., City-Meals-on-Wheels, and the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation.
Good To Know
Queen Elizabeth bestowed the Order of the British Empire on Barbara in October, 2007. The news was announced on the author's website with the following headline: "BTB Gets Her OBE from QEII."
Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Bradford:
"All 20 of my original manuscripts are stored by the prestigious Brotherton Library at Leeds University in England, next to the works of the Brontë sisters."
"My first job was working as a typist for the Yorkshire Evening Post at the age of 15."
"When I'm not writing, (which isn't often) I love to read. Biographies are my favorite genre, though I do like to read fiction to see what others are putting out on the market. Authors whose books I always make time for are Patricia Cornwell, Mary Higgins Clark, and Bernard Cornwell."
"I love to travel whenever possible. Paris is my favorite city to visit, though some of my favorite holidays are spent back in England."
"My husband, Bob, has a vote for the Academy Awards, so I get to see a lot of movie screenings."
"I'm involved in a number of charity organizations on both sides of the Atlantic. From the Police Athletic League and the Literary Guild in America to PACT (Parents and Children Together Again) in the U.K., I devote a fair amount of time to these causes. And as an advocate for world literacy, I am a member of the Madison Council to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C."