Barbara Mertz’s early fiction appeared under the name of Barbara Michaels. The Michaels books featured gothic and supernatural themes. The first best-selling Michaels novel, Ammie Come Home, was eventually made into a movie featuring Barbara Stanwyck; a later Michaels book The Crying Child was adapted into a film featuring Mariel Hemingway. Although most of the Michaels books are stand-alone, Mertz did develop two short series under this pen name: (1) the Georgetown Trilogy (Ammie Come Home, Shattered Silk, and Stitches in Time) and (2) the paired set of Someone in the House and Black Rainbow. The first Michaels novels, The Master of Blacktower and Sons of the Wolf, paid homage to a romantic and gothic tradition of writing reaching back to Jane Eyre and forward to later writers such as Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney (with whom Mertz carried on a lively correspondence for many years). The final novel written by Barbara Michaels was Other Worlds, published in 1999.