Happy Birthday Lady of Hay!!

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Wow!  25 years old. And then there was the ten years or so I was researching it and dreaming about one day writing it and wondering if it would ever be published. That is a huge chunk out of my life.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been looking out some of the photos I took all those years ago as I trudged around the Welsh Borders and the English places which were so important in Matilda’s life. (No internet then. Not even a word processor. It was all typed on a typewriter! But still there will never be a substitute for going to the actual places and absorbing the atmosphere.)  Bramber came first, of course, where Matilda  was born and brought up. This was handily on the way to my son’s prep school at Sompting Abbotts, in West Sussex. Then pictures of Abergavenny Castle, scene of the treacherous massacre, which at the time seems to have been under repair; of Clare, in Suffolk, the family home of Richard (I had no way of knowing then that I would come to live so close to Clare one day), Hay of course, still my home from home and then the wild and eerie photos of Corfe. Looking at the pictures now I can’t help but compare the unkempt loneliness and wild romance of these places then and the more strictly controlled and mowed preservation today. My goodness, going through the albums has taken me on a journey down memory lane. We’ve put some of them up for you to see. (Click on Lady of Hay in Novels)

Lady of Hay has had the most extraordinary history – almost impossible to find a publisher originally because of the ‘obscurity’ of the subject, once out there it was up and running, breaking records, travelling the world, this amazing woman capturing people’s imagination wherever her story went.

And then, at a publisher’s meeting in 2010 when we were discussing the anniversary edition I suggested in a moment of madness writing a ‘sequel’ (as I had done a few years before for Whispers in the Sand. This time it was to be a single long short story to bring Lady of Hay up to date and carry the characters forward to 2011.  I went home from the meeting in a state of euphoria and sheer terror. I know it’s my book, but somehow adding to it seemed almost to be tempting fate. And the fact that I had to reread it for the first time in 25 years, and couldn’t remember some of it at all, and that my computer didn’t recognise such words as de Braose,  Abergavenny . even Bramber, emphasised the extraordinariness of the whole thing for me.

Anyway, it is done. It wrote itself. Of course, it did. There was so much the surviving characters wanted to say! And this time the sequel is published with the book. (To carry on the story of Whispers there were two extra stories and they were published in my collection of short stories, Sands of Time.) So, this edition has an extra 60 or so pages.

 On first publication of the paperback, back in 1987 the publisher wondered if they would have to use their ‘bible binder’ as the book was so fat! I’m glad to say modern technology seems to have coped with those extra few millimetres ok. I hope you like the lovely new edition, which has been reset to give a clearer typeface after all these years, and I hope you enjoy finding out what happened next!



Christina King on 26/07/14

Thank you so much for all the reading pleasure you have given me. Read all your fabulous books. Totally 'hooked' from page one to the end every time. I never can predict the twist of intriguing events your creative mind produces, combined with all the accurate historical reference. Imagine, you are the novelist who opened the mind of a fact only book reading Doctor to the joy and escape of novels in 1997,aged 50 now!. Please carry on writing. Thank you again.

Melody Chan on 28/03/14

I love Lady of Hay when I first read it. The story is so interesting that makes me couldn't stop turning pages, just love it so much and i'm now reading Kingdom of Shadows . Thanks for writing us all those good books~

Melody Chan on 28/03/14

I love Lady of Hay when I first read it. The story is so interesting that makes me couldn't stop turning pages, just love it so much and i'm now reading Kingdom of Shadows . Thanks for writing us all those good books~

Marilyn Sayer on 21/03/13

I absolutely loved reading Lady of Hay. I read it many years ago and the story has always stayed with me. I love the idea of a book story being told in the present and the past, intermingling together. I have read several of Barbara's books but she has gone off my book list of late. I have just heard Barbara's name on the radio and realized that it is a long time since I have read one of her books. I would love to know the order of books - date wise, as I can't remember which ones I have read.

Angela on 02/10/12

I loved Lady of Hay when I first read it, so I really enjoyed the updated version. I've read all the novels, but this is my favourite, along with Hiding From the Light and The Warrior Princess. I'm looking forward to River of Destiny coming out in paperback, but it's a long wait!

Angela on 02/10/12

I loved Lady of Hay when I first read it, so I really enjoyed the updated version. I've read all the novels, but this is my favourite, along with Hiding From the Light and The Warrior Princess. I'm looking forward to River of Destiny coming out in paperback, but it's a long wait!

John on 13/06/12

Hello Barbara;
I first read Hiding from the light about a year ago and became hooked. Ive read about four or five of your novel's since Including Lady of Hay which I plan to read again very soon. at the moment I'm reading On the edge of darkness. I find your novel's...well let's put It this way. nothing come's close. and I'm looking forward to your next. please keep writing you are brilliant!

Geri on 26/10/11

Funnily enough, i was just looking at my bookshelf and thinking about delving into Lady of Hay for the 4th time in 20 years. I loved that book, I think it would be a beautiful mini-series. I also loved Child of the Phoenix and Kingdom of Shadows...also read multiple times. (I never read anything twice, these are exceptions). Cannot wait for your next novel, which I'd love to review on

Catharina on 24/10/11

I really really Love your books...!!!!!! =) But here in Sweden,we Only got three (in swedish).. =( Im always looking on your side,hope everytime that it will say something about a new realese in sweden,(translation)...
You are the Best writer I ever had read,they touch my soul deep......

Jennifer Chislett on 27/08/11

Lady of Hay was the first book I read, and loved it. I have since read several more, and today have just finished Time's Legacy. Wow! I was so deep into it I resented coming back into the world.
I believe in ghosts, future life, past life, etc. A psychic told me that a ginger cat had walked across the room when I went to see her - that was my beloved soul mate who had to be put to sleep due to cancer in 2009 - oh how I miss him.
A friend of mine has a poltergeist, a little girl who hides things - she has never seen her, but she knows she's there.
Now I shall be looking for the books I haven't yet read. Thank you for giving such pleasure to us all.

sitteeGew on 12/08/11

lo que yo queria, gracias

Maria on 20/06/11

I think I might've read one book years ago but am enjoying rediscovering you Barbara! I love everything about your writing from the prose to the subjects. Thank you so much for giving me so much readining enjoyment!

Sharon Watts on 22/05/11

I first came across Lady of Hay in 1987, I tired to read it and found it hard because I wasn't used to reading, so I put it down. 2 years later I found it again and pushed myself to keep reading within hours I found I couldn't put it down and it was always in my hands, at the dinner table, in the car and one night I was still reading it when my dad got up for work at 2am (he was a milkman then) and was still reading it when he came home for a drink at 6am, I just couldn't put it down mum would moan at me "don't you ever put that book down" it when everywhere! I have lent it friends and they always told their partners to make their own tea and to bugger off if they wanted to go out!! They are all hooked on your books now and I have all of your books and they have pride of place on my book case!! Thank you Barbara for such wonderful stories

Patricia Warner on 14/05/11

Congratulations, Barbara on "Time's Legacy".
I've read it three times, and intend to get back to it again, soon. Specially liked that none of the modern characters got killed this time!

Your scariest book (for me) is "Midnight is a Lonely Place" - it took years before I could go back to read it again.
I also love "Hiding from the Light" but my overall favourite is still "Child of the Phoenix.". Any chance another like that? Maybe one of the characters could forsee glimpses of our modern world? ... now, that could really be a chiller!!

Best Wishes, Barbara - and thank you for all the wonderful hours of pleasure.

Lisa Pucci on 14/04/11

Thank you Barbara for writing such an amazing story. I love Lady of Hay. I read it for the first time, I thought it was while studying in England in 1985, but you say above that the paperback didn't come out until 1987. My first copy is now in my parents crawlspace with rubber bands around it inside a baggy to keep it safe. My second copy, I lent to my friend and never got it back because we life so far from one another. My third copy, is sitting on the bookshelf in my home office, safe and sound. As you can tell, I love the book so much and re-read it again, this past summer. The characters are amazing and having lived in England I could imagine the places throughout the book. This past time was like reading it for the first time all over again. I am now looking for a copy for my niece, so that I can share this amazing story with her, but I can't find it anywhere. Everywhere I've checked, says it's out of print. I would like it to be a new copy. Any suggestions? Can't wait to read the continuing life story of each character.

I hope you found it in the end - I think you were trying when the hiccup occurred but it's now out there in the shops and on Amazon. I'm so glad you like the books!

Amanda Bradshaw on 13/04/11

Kingdom of Shadows was my first and still my favourite, but I have read every novel several times and wait with bated breath for every new one. Times Legacy didn't disappoint!

Maggie Bull on 12/04/11

Hi Barbara, I love your books. The first one I read was House of Echoes, given to me by my mother-in-law, free with the Woman's Own magazine. I then bought all your books, reading and re-reading them. Now I am the proud owner of a Kindle and I'm buying them all over again, in an effort to go Green, just waiting for Lady of Hay to be added to the Kindle store. Last purchase was today Time Legacy , sounds exciting, but will have to wait til I've re-read Whispers in the Sand. One of my favourites. Thank you so much for your wonderful writing.

Elizabeth on 08/04/11

By accident, I discovered Lady of Hay when looking around the book store. Never having read a book by Erskine, I found this one difficult to put down, especially since I will be going to Wales to student teach in the fall semester. I hope to see some of the places mentioned in the book and maybe a trip up to Scotland! Question is, which book to read next?

Grant Vaughn on 06/04/11

I bought "Lady of Hay" for my wife for Christmas. She enjoyed it. I started reading it a couple of days ago and it is quite good. I saw the book when we were staying at Blaendigeddi Fawr up below Hay Bluff last August. We were in the area (from the US) doing family history research. Absolutely beautiful country! I have also been working with a historian out of Llandrindod Wells who works at the County Archives. She found some wonderful info from the Hay Vestry Records on my family. She and I however, are stuck trying to find anyone who would know where the Hay jail (gaol) records are for 1789 for a very important piece of the puzzle. At that time the gaol was still in the old keep of Hay Castle. Geoffrey Fairs references those records in his book on the history of Hay but doesn't tell where the records are kept.(They're not with the County Archives.) So I thought I'd try - Do you currently have any historian contacts in Hay who could possible know such a thing? I thought it was worth a shot. Many thanks!
-A Son of Hay

Ivana Vcelisova on 27/03/11

Barbara, thank you for all books. You are my best-loved author. I am from Czech republic. I am sorry for my english. Please write another book soon. Ivana

Sandra McKinley on 20/03/11

Read most of your books and loved them all.Just finished Times Legacy what a fantastic journey you take us on, I live in South Africa and have recently had a trip to Somerset where my daughter relocated Can't wait for my next visit to explore the area with new eyes, Thank you for the amazing insights

Kelly Lawrence on 19/02/11

I loved Lady of Hay when I first read it 15yrs ago and have LOVED every book since...thankyou for each and every one. I Cant wait to read the sequel!

sheila williamson on 16/02/11

Barbara I have just read Time Legacy what a fantastic story - just couldnt put it down. I have read and re read all your books and enjoy them each time. I think the Child of the Phoenix is another brilliant story . When travelling in Scotland and visiting the castles and palces that are mentioned in your books makes the stories really come to life.
Please write another book SOON.
Thanks Sheila

Rosie Capper on 11/02/11

I have only read one of your books, Child of the Phoenix. I absolutely love it! I've read it least 10 times in the last two years! I have ordered Kingdom of shadows and am awaiting its arrival. I would love to do what you do, but i wouldn't know where to start!

Robin in U.S. on 09/02/11

Hi, I have read nearly all of your books - they are quite hard to find here in the States, unfortunately. I loved Lady of Hay, but I think my favorites are Whispers in the Sand and Midnight is a Lonely Place. I look forward to reading the sequel to LoH. Thanks so much for taking us to these fascinating places in time and space.

Samantha Godkin on 07/02/11

I have been a huge fan from the start and my local booksellar knows to put any of your books away for me on the first day of publishing. I am there with coffee in hand and a free day planned to read!!! I remember this book with joy and tiredness from lack of sleep (reading to 5am was the norm) and the Kindom of Shadows equally so! Then of course I was hooked. I now have a kindle and have downloaded all your books to that but was wondering if you would be issuing Lady of Hay in this version too? I like having them with me to read and not go over my weight limit on the flights!!

I am not sure about this. will try and check. B

susan donkin on 07/02/11

Have got all your and re read them. No other books ive read match them,waiting for the next one.

Helen Sands on 06/02/11

I can't believe it is 25 years since I first read Lady of Hay..It has to be my favourite book of all time and the very last i would give away..i recently re read it and enjoyed it even more ..i have all your books and have just bought Time's Legacy..i so love the way you write have given me so many hours of pleasure..thankyou........Helen

Helen Bird on 05/02/11

Babara, thank you so much for all your wonderful, incredible stories, I obviously have them all, and wait eagerly for the next book!. I have purchased today Times Legacy,had no idea it came out last year!!, should use the internet more often, I have not started it yet, but have skipped through, to find a snake on the start of each chapter!!,will have to cover it before reading, really have a fear of the pesky things.

Pam Coxon on 04/02/11

I have enjoyed all tour books but Lady of Hay is still my favourite.
How good to see a new short story on your website

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