Barbara McMahon grew up in northern Virginia, moving to California to attend the University of California at Berkeley. Upon graduation, she remained in California, making the San Francisco Bay Area her home base while she worked as a flight attendant for an international airline. What fun that job proved--flying to different cities all over the world. On most trips, McMahon had layovers lasting a day or two--enough time to see some of the local sights--and shops--and then it was on to the next country! She kept a journal while flying and today delights in being able to use some of the descriptions she jotted down to add authenticity to settings for some of her books.
When McMahon's flying days ended, she began to work in the computer industry, rising to a vice presidency in a software development firm. In her "spare time," she decided to give in to a long cherished desire to try her hand at writing. One of the first things she discovered was that writing was one thing, but getting a book written is difficult to do when things like real-life interfere. But finally she finished a book, submitted it to a publisher, and Harlequin Mills & Boon bought it!
Come into the Sun (1983) was the first of over three dozen books sold to Harlequin Mills & Boon and Silhouette.
After that first sale, a new dream arose--to write for a living and leave the hectic pace of the San Francisco Bay Area behind. Once her younger daughter graduated from high school, she did just that--quitting her "day job" to move to the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. "It's been wonderful!" reports McMahon. "I love every minute of living here!"
To date, over five-and-a-half-million copies of her books have sold in thirty-five different countries in nineteen different languages. McMahon's books routinely appear on the Waldenbooks bestseller list, the Ingram's Top 50 Requested Romances, and Amazon.com's bestselling lists. Bride of a Thousand Days made the USA Today bestseller list.
With her recent nomination for a Romance Writers of America RITA Award, her books have either won or been a finalist in every major award in the romance industry.
What's special about McMahon's books, besides her ability to put the reader in another world full of the adventure she's sampled, can be summed up in one word: characters. They arrive on the page with fully developed pasts. Often her heroes have experienced betrayal that has hardened them. Lesser women would give up and move on, but, like the author herself, McMahon's heroines are empathetic and optimistic. They see the good in these honorable men and patiently nurture them to become equal partners in a relationship. Sometimes it's the heroine who has a past to overcome. But always, she's self-directed--a dynamic woman who knows what she wants and sets out to get it.
For books with international settings, McMahon refers to her flight attendant's journal, but the American West is her favorite locale. She's as much at home on the back of a horse as she is behind an autograph table. She has participated in week-long horse drives, similar to the cattle drives in City Slickers, attends local rodeos, the Grand National Rodeo in San Francisco, and county fairs.
Dedicated to a strict work regimen to meet deadlines, she still finds time to pursue her hobby of working on her family history, to serve on the board of directors of the local woman's networking group, and read voraciously. In memory of her mother who died from the disease, she actively supports breast cancer research.
McMahon is a member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists, Inc. and the NSDAR, which has nothing to do with writing, but does tie in with her love for genealogy!