#1 New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford has written everything from contemporary suspense to historical intrigue covering class, friendship, and forbidden love.
In her latest and in many ways most intimate novel, SECRETS FROM THE PAST, thirty-year-old American photojournalist Serena Stone is working on a biography of her celebrated father when she discovers that a former lover is in trouble overseas. Her travels take her back into her own past and into the past of her mother where she'll uncover family secrets long buried.
Barbara was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about SECRETS FROM THE PAST (the book that is, not her personal secrets from the past... I'm not publishing an exposé here!).
Ali: You’ve been publishing with us for about 10 years and you’ve written almost 30 novels, what makes SECRETS FROM THE PAST special for you and your readers?
Barbara: What makes SECRETS special for me and my readers is that I've used the first person narrative. But this is only the third time in my writing career that I have done so. However, I believe writing in Serena Stone's voice gives great intimacy to the book, and therefore to the reader. I always give my female protagonist a job and I've never written about a war photographer before. So this is something else that's new. I am told by my earliest readers that the book has an enormous amount of immediacy and is very NOW.
Ali: Speaking of "now"... when a library patron returns SECRETS FROM THE PAST to his or her local branch and inevitably says, "I loved it! What do I read now?" Which books, audiobooks, and films would you want Readers' Advisory librarians to recommend?
Barbara: Of course I would always recommend A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE as a book, an audiobook, and a movie. The movie stars Liam Neeson, Jenny Seagrove, Deborah Kerr and a cast of other great actors. It is available now on DVD from Acorn Video. The miniseries runs for 6 hours. Also available are the two sequels, HOLD THE DREAM and TO BE THE BEST. Other books I would recommend of mine are HER OWN RULES, REMEMBER, THE WOMEN IN HIS LIFE and LETTER FROM A STRANGER.
Ali: Fantastic. That sounds like a formidable stack of excellent stories. You mentioned audiobooks so let's talk briefly about the audiobook for SECRETS FROM THE PAST. The narrator Stina Nielsen has narrated everything from Chuck Palahniuk's RANT to Sarah Dessen's KEEPING THE MOON to Shannon Hale's MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND. She did a particularly wonderful job with SECRETS FROM THE PAST (listen to a clip from chapter one here!). Tell us a little bit about your relationship with audiobooks. What's your ideal situation for listening to books read aloud?
Barbara: I always enjoy listening to the audiobooks. It's a wonderful way to relax, just sitting on a sofa and imagining all of the characters enacting the story.
Ideal, indeed! Thank you so much for your time, Barbara! [...]