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Barbara Taylor Bradford: ‘Why would I stop working? I live by schedules’



I am a great believer in sleep. I am usually in bed by 10.30 or 11pm. If my husband, Bob, and I watch TV before retiring, it will be in another room. If I am writing a book, I will be up at 6am the next day. If I am not writing, it will be more like 7am.


I’ve always been a careful eater, because I put on weight quickly. I don’t have a big appetite. The day starts with coffee, then at about 8am I have a toasted muffin and a banana. Lunch I eat standing: usually a salad of endive, beetroot, perhaps a slice of smoked salmon. For dinner I like sole, branzino [sea bass], fishcakes or the occasional bolognese.


People don’t seem to understand why writers keep on writing. Why would I stop? I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t working. I live by schedules. A normal day involves editing the previous day’s work before breakfast, then writing afterwards. I break for lunch at 1pm and finish the day about 4pm or 4.30pm. Every hour, I have a break and do some walking. I can use a computer, but I only do that if I need to do some research. Even then, I prefer looking up anything in my library. I type on an IBM Selectric. My way is my way.


We will have been married for 55 years this Christmas. I think the secret is that we respect each other, understand each other, as well as love each other. We like the same things and share the same views on politics. I had two miscarriages and I never got pregnant again, but I am not the sort of person who dwells on misfortune. I haven’t got time for that. We don’t have any siblings or cousins, but we have a goddaughter. She is a Spanish lawyer and is now married. We go to see her often.


I love seeing friends. I have some close girlfriends and my husband gets on well with their husbands. We like to have fun and laugh. We love to travel. At Christmas, we will be on a cruise to the Caribbean. Bob likes to sit in the sun, while I sit under an umbrella and read someone else’s books.

Master of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford is published by HarperCollins (£16.99). Visit for more details