Meet Janet Bly

Janet Chester Bly authored and co-authored, with late husband Christy Award winning western writer Stephen Bly, 40 fiction and nonfiction books. She lives in north-central Idaho on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. Her most recent novels include the Trails of Reba Cahill Series, Wind in the Wires and Down Squash Blossom Road. Book 3 is scheduled for Fall release, Beneath a Camperdown Elm. Check out her website for more info:

Tell us about your newest book.

In Book 1, Wind in the Wires, Trails of Reba Cahill … Idaho cowgirl Reba Mae Cahill searches for love and family, after being abandoned by her mother, never knowing her father, and losing several boyfriends. All she wants to do is take over her grandmother’s ranch someday and hopes for a husband to partner with her. But an old man’s quest to seek justice for two cold case murders reveals lies and betrayal that rock her world. Will the truth be too hard for her to bear? And prevent any chance at romance?

Book 2, Down Squash Blossom Road, Reba and her grandmother Pearl must save the family ranch from a lawsuit, free her mom Hanna Jo from a mental institute, and take a forced road trip to California. Along the way, she helps solve a murder and a kidnapping, plus attempts to evade a dangerous stalker. Can she also squeeze in romance?

What genre do you focus on and why?

My late husband, Stephen Bly, majored in both historical and contemporary westerns, including western romance. We also co-authored some cozy mysteries. In order to stick with the brand and connect with his fans, and yet keep within my sphere of knowledge and expertise, my solo novels focus on contemporary western mystery with a touch of romance.

Why do you write? What drives you?

In my diligent search years ago to discover what God wants me to do with my life, after some trial and error, I was drawn to several writers’ conferences. I learned the whole writer’s world process, how to develop my own communication skills, and connect with editors and other writers. I also realized I had a passion to share spiritual insights, as well as to tell stories that follow a character’s journey of the soul. My desire is for a reader’s own heart to be prepared to receive God’s truth.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Reba Mae Cahill is a 25-year-old cowgirl with red hair similar to country singer, Reba McEntire, the general inspiration for this character.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

Now that I don’t have my soul mate, my partner in everything, my days play out so differently. I’m responsible for all the duties of home and office. So, much more of my time’s tied up with non-writing detail than it used to. However, I try to work on writing at a minimum of one hour per day during the week–in the midst of shipping orders, answering fan emails and letters, and the constant plugging away at marketing the backlist. In addition, I have the privilege of hosting birthday and holiday events for my family who live down the mountain from me and for occasional community and church events at Broken Arrow Crossing, the false front town hubby built in our yard. Plus I’m busy with assorted duties at my church—as Music Director, Sunday School teacher, church clerk, etc.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

Marketing! It’s constant. It’s so hit and miss. And there are a bazillion more writers in competition for readers’ attention these days. Anyone and everyone can be a writer with the whole Indie and self-publishing craze. Plus, there are fewer serious readers than when we first started back in the 1980s, in my humble assessment, especially of our brand.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

Leaving a heritage for our family, words recorded that can be shared with future generations. Spreading an inspirational message all over the world, wherever our books travel.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

Having direct quotes out of our books scattered over the internet without credit given. On occasion, whole book contents have been stolen and sold by others.

What are you most proud of?

The privilege of my three sons and I to finish my husband’s last novel for him, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot, Book 7, The Stuart Brannon Series. He had 10% completed with a one-page summary and one-page list of character names. With a 4-month deadline, in the aftermath of losing him, we finished this committee project. A miracle happened for a supposed impossible undertaking. Most often heard from my husband’s fans, “We could not tell Stephen’s input from your own. It read like a Stephen Bly story!” This novel was a Selah Award Finalist. To learn more about the process, check out these blog articles:

What is your favorite pastime?

Spending time with my three sons, their wives, and my four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

My other books include inspirational nonfiction such as Awakening Your Sense of Wonder, Hope Lives Here, God Is Good All the Time, The Heart of a Runaway, Managing Your Restless Search, Friends Forever, Words to Live By For Women, and family books like How to be a Good Mom, Be Your Mate’s Best Friend, The Power of a Godly Grandparent, as well as fiction novels, The Crystal Blake Series, The Hidden West Series, and The Carson City Chronicles.

What are you working on now?

Book #3 in the Trails of Reba Cahill Series, Beneath a Camperdown Elm … Idaho cowgirl Reba Mae Cahill finally gets the guy of her dreams, who promises to be her longed-for rancher husband, and her prodigal mother returns home, when the worst possible catastrophe happens. Three generations of women struggle to find their place and destiny in God’s plan as they each fight their own obstacles alone. Will they ever get it together?


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3 Comments on “Meet Janet Bly

  1. From the first time we met, I was impressed with Janet’s gracious spirit. After reading this interview, I also realize she is a woman of great perseverance. I’m so intrigued by the Reba Cahill series because I’m a Reba McEntire fan, too.
    Going to sign up for your newsletter now, Janet!

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