Born in Peru, Isabel Allende spent most of her childhood in Chile, where her parents were from. Allende briefly translated Spanish romance novels into English—she was occasionally reprimanded for making the heroines sound more intelligent than in the original text—and worked as a journalist, although Pablo Neruda told her during an interview she should transition to fiction. “I think he saw that I was a liar,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “As a journalist I could not be objective. I would make up stories. At the time I was very hurt because he said I was the worst journalist.” Her novels, starting with her debut, The House of the Spirits, all feature magical realism.