31 October 2016

Getting to know Janet Chester Bly with giveaway

Please help me welcome Janet Chester Bly to my blog today. Janet has a new book out Down Squash Blossom Road and has kindly offered to give away either a paper back copy to a USA reader or a PDF to anywhere else in the world. Just comment on the blog with a way to contact you by next Monday.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I love Matt Damon and the Jason Bourne movies and anything starring Tom Selleck. I don’t drink coffee, except if I go down the mountain to the big city to shop. Then it’s a latte or frappuccino or an ice cream flavor. Never black. I’m a city girl with a country heart who doesn’t corral horses or mow my own lawn. But I enjoy my Idaho mountain top small town on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation, where I rake lots of pine needles and cones and survive the long winter, one snowstorm at a time. (Jenny here I don't drink coffee either but I dont like it at all)

2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?

Not really. Our home was small with five kids and not much room for extras like books. However, I don’t remember the title or author, but I found a novel on my grandmother’s bookshelf when I was staying with her and will always remember this scene … the female protagonist cutting up the baby clothes she just knitted and flushing them down the toilet. The poignant sadness remained with me all these many decades later. When I finally grow up as a writer, I’d like to create memorable scenes like that.

3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and write?

I love mysteries of all sorts. Wind in the Wires and Down Squash Blossom Road are the first two in my new novel series. These stories are contemporary western mysteries with a touch of romance. Some folks call them CowgirlLit. (Find out more about CowboyLit and Cowgirl Lit here: http://www.blybooks.com/cowboy-lit/ )

4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?

Here’s some books on my shelves that I’ve had since the early days that I’ve marked up with the phrases and scenes I’ve liked. I’m sure their stories and styles have had some sort of influence on me. Authors include  Eugenia Price (Stranger in Savannah), Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca), Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), Dorothy Sayers (The Nine Tailors), P.D. James (Devices & Desires). My mom’s favorite suspense writer was Mary Higgins Clark and she got me reading most everything she wrote. One time I got hooked on Anne Perry (The William Monk Mysteries) and I’ve got all her books read too.

5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

After my husband graduated from seminary and began to pastor his first church, I sought what my main ministry should be. He had found his, so I asked him about mine. "That's easy," he replied. "Do stuff for me and stuff for the church."
I wanted a more specific job description. So, I did try most everything the church offered in the way of being useful. And got very involved in the community. I also took numerous classes and went to a diversity of conferences and seminars. One of these was a writers' conference at Mount Hermon in California. I was intrigued with everything. The idea grew to try writing as I became excited about the process and received some affirming encouragement that I could do this.

6. How did you go about becoming an author?

From what I learned at the writers conference classes about the nuts and bolts and the contacts I made, I soon got articles, poems, and fillers published. I describe this journey more in my book, Managing Your Restless Search. One day, while transcribing my husband’s sermons from tape to hardcopy at request of the congregation, I realized some of his stories and sermon themes could be edited as articles and short stories for magazines. I asked his permission to send them out, along with mine. When he also received acceptances, he began to focus on writing himself. Which was great for both of us. We made a good team with different strengths that made each of our projects better. He stretched me with fresh ideas. My editing skills made him a professional. He developed the first book length project, which got us both going into that side of the business.

7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?

Retired. Taking it easy. Being bored stiff with nothing to do and no more deadlines. Not! Can’t imagine doing anything else.

8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?

I used to have all sorts of hobbies, such as making wreaths, pottery, and embroidery. But all of those fell to the wayside when I started writing. Besides, I overdid it on all those activities. I made so many items for friends and family and myself, yet wasn’t interested in traveling to fairs and bazaars to sell them. There was no point in continuing.
Any extra time these days is given to library board (as president) and church board (as clerk) and ministering with the church worship team and choir (as director).  

9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?

I loved going anywhere with my husband. We traveled all over the western U.S. down every dusty trail we could find, then to every state in the Union, including Hawaii. We toured across Canada and all over Europe, with my favorites being Paris and anywhere in Scotland. I’m so thankful we went to all those places. Great memories. But travel doesn’t appeal to me as much without Stephen. Now, it wouldn’t be the place as such. I’d need some purpose for going. To see someone. To do research. To go to a reunion or conference. (I could imagine how hard it would be to go without him now I guess you would be thinking Stephen would love to see this etc.)

10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
That’s easy. Any of my three married sons or their wives, or any of my four grandchildren, or three great-children. And they all live within fifty miles of me. I am blessed.

Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.

Here’s my two most recent book releases …

1) Wind in the Wires, Book 1, Trails of Reba Cahill series
Cowgirl Reba Cahill searches for love and family. Ninety-one year old Seth Stroud seeks justice for two cold case murders. Their journey together exposes lies and betrayal. Will the truth be too hard for either to bear?
Sign up now for the Almost Monthly Bly Books News!
Download Now! 5 Free Chapters of Wind in the Wires, Book 1, Trails of Reba Cahill

2) Down Squash Blossom Road, Book 2, Trails of Reba Cahill series
What secret lies down Squash Blossom Road?
Cowgirl Reba Cahill’s schedule is full. Save the family ranch. Free her mom from a mental institute. Take another road trip. Solve a murder and kidnapping. Evade a stalker. Can she also squeeze in romance?
Download now! 5 Free Chapters!
Click here: http://www.blybooks.com/genre/contemporary-fiction/

I’ll be working on Book 3 soon with the working title: Beneath a Camperdown Elm.

Find me here:
Website: www.BlyBooks.com
'Like' Bly Books on Facebook:
Bly Books Blog: http://www.blybooks.com/blog/  
I’m also on Google+ and LinkedIn


csthankful said...

I don't like coffee AT all, no matter what is or isn't in it...but do love the aroma. My Darlin' and I have a joke...when he is making coffee and I comment on how good it smells, he tells me he won't share any with me! I love the questions asked and the answers in this interview. Thanks much!

Connie said...

I love my coffee in the morning but I add a lot of milk so it would probably offend coffee purists. Janet, I am also a big fan of Mary Higgins Clark.
I enjoyed reading this post.

Janet Chester Bly said...

CS & Connie: Thanks for stopping by and leaving the comments! And a huge thanks to Jenny for this feature on her blog!

Janet Chester Bly said...

Nancy Shackelford from my Facebook page tried to leave this comment and couldn't remember her Google account, so I'm adding it for her: "I love coffee, but not the flavored ones. Good, hot and fresh plain ol' coffee, with a bit of low fat milk. I attempted to submit a comment on that wonderful interview, but hit a glitch.

Karen R said...

Enjoyed reading this interview, especially how you were such a wonderful support and help to your husband in writing and ministry. So sorry for your loss. Glad you have continued to write. Btw, I love dark roast coffee with milk or cream. Vanilla lattes are a special treat too. :) Thanks for doing a giveaway! kjrochon40(at)msn(dot)com

Janet Chester Bly said...

Karen R: Thanks for the kind words! My hubby loved dark roast too! In fact, the darker, the better. Boiled coffee over the campfire with grounds at the bottom was his fav! :-)

Janet Chester Bly said...

Karen R: Congrats! You were randomly drawn to receive a copy of Down Squash Blossom Road. Will send you an email to confirm.

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