Barbara Erskine’s love of history started with her own family, her grandparents lived in India and Ireland before returning to the UK. Her father was a Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot with a family that Barbara describes as ‘two wonderfully contrasted heritages. Two hundred years of clergymen (mostly – though some were ‘yeomen’ and presumably yeowomen and some ‘gentlemen’ and gentlewomen ) living on the borders of Essex and Suffolk in what must have been a Jane Austen-type lifestyle of utter respectability, with a wild and aristocratic castle-dwelling bloodline from the mountains and moors of northeast Scotland.’
It was her great aunt who put together the family tree and who introduced her to all the ancient stories including the discovery that on one side there was ‘the heiress of the Picts’ and a direct descent from THE bloodline of Da Vinci-code fame; and the revelation that that one of the ancestors of the Erskines was the god Woden.
Barbara’s love of history led her to study Scottish history at Edinburgh University, where she started, but abandoned, her first novel. This book would later become Kingdom of Shadows. After University, she worked for an educational publisher and then as a freelance researcher for books on art and history. Barbara also began to sell short stories and to dream about becoming a full-time writer with a handful of historical Mills & Boons under her belt.
Barbara was living in the Black Mountains near Hay-on-Wye in the Welsh Border and stared to research Lady of Hay, at first as a part-time hobby and a barely formed idea, then with more and more urgency. Exactly ten years after she first roughed out the story line, the book was published. It very quickly became a bestseller.
Barbara has written 14 novels and four short story collections since, with The Ghost Tree her most recent book.