(Post updated 2018)
How do you define a Prime Woman? After interviewing Barbara Taylor Bradford, I knew that my definition would need to include many of the traits that have made her one of the best-selling authors in the world. She has written 35 novels since 1979. All of you, no doubt, know of her wildly successful first book, A Woman of Substance. It is a fitting title for the author as well. While on the surface it may seem she was an overnight sensation, her work ethic and writing career began many years earlier at the age of seven when she wrote her first fiction story.
Barbara grew up in Yorkshire, which also happens to be the setting of her latest novel, Secrets of Cavendon. Her mother was so impressed with her writing as a child that she submitted one of Barbara’s stories, getting it published when she was only ten years old. Barbara, like many Prime Women, has had many firsts in her career.She had the distinction of being the first editor of a woman’s page at the Yorkshire Evening Post at the age of 18 (she started as a reporter at 16!). By the time she was 20, Barbara had moved to London to become a fashion editor and columnist for the magazine Woman’s Own.
While Barbara said she had made many attempts at writing a novel while continuing her career as writer and editor for various publications, she didn’t have her “ah ha” moment until after hearing a comment by Graham Green – “character is plot.” It was then that she found herself as a novelist. Barbara knew then how she needed to write her novels, and write she did – 35 books in 90 countries and 40 languages. All of her books revolve around strong women, flawed like us all, but nonetheless steely strong women just like the author herself.
As many of us are reaching that stage of our lives when we are asking what’s next, Barbara Taylor Bradford is still hard at work at the age of 84 doing what she loves to do best, write. Living in New York with Robert, her husband of over 50 years, you can still find her in her study by 7:00am sitting down to write for what will be most of the day – a remarkable woman who is still in her PRiME.
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