Barbara Wood was born January 30, in Warrington, England (near Liverpool). Together with her parents and older brother, she immigrated to the United States. She grew up in Southern California and attended Los Angeles Schools. After High School, Barbara attended the University of California at Santa Barbara but left to train as a surgical technician. During this time, Barbara held numerous jobs, before she sold her first novel in 1976. To date, Barbara has written 25 books, including three under a pen name. She is an international best selling author with books translated into over 30 languages. The reader is transported to exotic countries that Barbara has meticulously researched to provide her fans with a true sense of the culture and history relevant to each story. At the heart of every book, is a strong, independent woman. Currently, Barbara is busy working on her next story that will, no doubt, showcase an extraordinary heroine in an exciting and intriguing adventure.
When not writing, Barbara often takes time to enjoy the work of other authors, and that of a certain well-known martial artist, whose name is listed among the "Ten things you might not know about Barbara." She also likes to play golf with her husband, Walt.
The fledgling writer
At a very early age, Barbara began to tell stories. She recalls lining up her numerous dolls in a row and they became her captive audience. Before Barbara could write, she drew her books in the form of picture books. Barbara considered herself a mediocre student. Her schoolwork suffered, especially in High School when all she wanted to do was write stories. At age 16, Barbara wrote her first book. It was a 300 page, hand-written romance set in Ancient Egypt and by her own admission, was truly terrible!!
After graduating from High School, Barbara enrolled at the University of California at Santa Barbara as a French major with a minor in Anthropology. She dropped out after the first year to travel and see the World.
Out in the work place
Before Barbara became the international best selling author that we know today, she held many different jobs. They included: waitress, secretary, switchboard operator, and dog walker !! Barbara's career path took a more serious direction when she became an Operating Room technician. She worked in Santa Monica for 10 years before she quit to become a full time writer in 1980.
First Book Published
When Barbara submitted her first manuscript, Hounds & Jackals to a publisher in 1976, the editor rejected it, but recommended Barbara to an agent who was taking on new authors. The agent was Harvey Klinger and he and Barbara have been together ever since. That same year Barbara sold three of her manuscripts, Hounds & Jackals, The Magdalene Scrolls, and Curse This House.
Barbara also writes under a pen name, Kathryn Harvey. "Butterfly" and its sequel "Stars" continue to be huge successes. Most recently, "Private Entrance" was added to the collection. These books are quite different from the Barbara Wood novels and Barbara, her agent and editor agreed that a pen name would serve to indicate the difference.
Barbara's research for her books extends far and wide. She has visited every country she has written about and in fact does not feel comfortable writing about a country that she has not walked on or breathed its air. Sometimes it is the visit itself that inspires the book (as was the case in Green City in the Sun). In addition, she feels that the country of origin is by far the best source for research information. But research for a book does not end there. Barbara immerses herself completely into the subject at hand. This includes extensive reading of books, newspapers, and magazines, internet research, as well as first hand interviews and contacting experts in the various subjects relevant to Barbara's current project.
Inspiration: Barbara's many characters are fictional, but some are based on people she knows and people who are in the news and in history. Interwoven throughout Barbara's books are elements of herself in the main characters. While the majority of events that take place in her books are fiction, some of the characters' experiences are her own. Barbara's experiences working as an operating room technician leant authenticity to her modern medical novel, Vital Signs. Her passion for medicine and the healing arts is a common thread in Domina, Soul Flame , Green City in the Sun and Perfect Harmony. Also, Barbara's Catholic background crops up from time to time (Childsong, Prophetess and her latest book, The Divining).
A typical Writer's Day
Barbara rises at 5:00 each morning, exercises, makes a strong pot of coffee and then steadily writes and conducts research until late afternoon.
Barbara's Favorite Books:
Up the Line, by Robert Silverberg
Hollywood Wives, by Jackie Collins
The Other Side of Midnight, by Sidney Sheldon
I, Robot, by Issac Asimov
The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
The Egyptian, by Mika Waltari
The Futurological Congress, by Stanislaw Lem
Cashelmara, by Susan Howatch
Mistress of Mellyn, by Victoria Holt
Fire and Water, by Mary Spencer
One Hundred Year of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank
Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart
Incident at Badamiya, by Dorothy Gilman
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean Auel
Ten Questions for Barbara:
1. Do you have a special writing room?
No, I do not. I write where I feel inspired: in the living room, outside on the patio, in a coffee shop.
2. Do you write a story in sequence?
No, I write as the ideas come to me. Sometimes I will write the ending first and then work towards it. Often, I will bounce around the book and make changes as they occur to me.
3. Is there a best time of the day for writing?
Early morning, when my brain is full.
4. What country would you like to visit that you haven't
India, and I cannot believe I haven't been there!!!!
5. Is there a character from your books that you identify with most?
Yes. It's always the one I am currently writing about.
6. What are your hobbies?
Golf, watching Jackie Chan movies.
7. Favorite ice-cream?
Coffee!! Is there any other kind?
8. Barbara's top 3 movies are:
I don't have a favorite as they change from day to day but I enjoy action films, Kung Fu and Disney animated features.
9. Secret for a happy life:
10. Favorite quote:
"Another glass of wine please."