Interview with Janet Chester Bly & GIVEAWAY

Interview with Janet Chester Bly & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted Word


Janet Chester Bly is the widow of award-winning western author Stephen Bly.  Together they authored and co-authored 120 fiction and nonfiction books. She and her three sons finished Stephen’s last novel for him, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot, a Selah Award Finalist.  The family’s story is told on her website blog: www.blybooks.comWind in the Wires is Janet’s first solo adult novel, a contemporary western mystery, a road adventure with a touch of romance. It’s Cowgirl Lit.


Savanna:  Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Janet. Congratulations on your recent release, Wind in the Wires. It sounds like an intriguing story! Was there ever a moment while writing this book that your character(s) and/or the plot surprised you and turned the story in an unexpected direction?

Interview with Janet Chester Bly & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordJanet:  Many times. Most of the surprising turns constitute spoilers to mention. Yet, they were the most fun part of writing this story. However, I can mention a few details.

In the original plan, 91-year-old Seth Stroud was going to take a trip from northern Idaho to Goldfield, Nevada in 1991 by covered wagon. But when I realized how long that would take and how risky with highway traffic, etc., I changed his mode of travel to a 1912 Ford Model T. A bit speedier and still caused the stir I sought. Especially when he painted it purple. Didn’t know that was coming until one of the characters in the story very close to Seth indicated her favorite color was purple. And he was taking the journey partly on her behalf.

Another shock of a twist happened when I realized a certain character was not going to survive the long trek to the desert. I received some fussing about it from a critiquer or two. But what could I do? When the moment arrived, I realized there was no other choice. No way did I have that as part of the plot points.

Savanna:  Thanks for sharing that. I always enjoy hearing about the creative process.  Can you tell us what first sparked the idea for the Trails of Reba Cahill Series?

Janet:  I started the Reba story in 1991 because my late husband had been writing novels and I decided to try one. It was simple as that. I wanted the protagonist to be a cowgirl because I was a city gal and wanted to live the ranch life through her. A fully completed novel never quite jelled. Life happened. And we got so involved with producing Steve’s works, some of which I co-authored with him. The years slipped by. Meanwhile, I played with various scenes, developed different characters, and even took some research trips.

Savanna:  Wow, these stories must be very close to your heart then.  I can certainly see why.

Your website mentions you also offer a wide variety of speaking engagements. What is one of your favorite themed topics to teach and why?

Interview with Janet Chester Bly & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordJanet:  The most requested theme has been Awakening Your Sense of Wonder, taken from my book of the same title. I love talking on that subject because, no matter what else is happening in my life, I’m reminded how active God is in our lives. How we discover Him in the ordinary details of everyday. In small things. In the expanse of creation. Through children and random acts of love. By catching glimpses we’re all part of a Big Plan.

Savanna:  If you were to give a tour of your home state of Idaho, what would be your first stop and why?

Janet:  (Chuckle) I’ll bet you didn’t expect this answer. First, I’d bring you to Broken Arrow Crossing, the false front town my husband built in the yard beside our house. It’s one of the tourist attractions of our small town (pop. 400). And it’s across the street from Winchester Lake State Park, another stop on the tour.

Savanna:  Really? How fun is that! I’d love to see it! 😉

Interview with Janet Chester Bly & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordWhat is one of your most unforgettable moments from your writing career to date?

Janet:  Finishing my husband Stephen Bly’s last novel, along with my three adult sons. He left us a one-page synopsis, two pages of character names, and 10% of the writing done. We had a four-month deadline. It was a huge privilege and by far the greatest challenge of our lives. It was also cathartic as we four met weekly to stress and brainstorm, research and plot, laugh and cry.

Savanna:  Wow.  What a tribute to your husband.  That’s wonderful!

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

Janet: Book 2 of The Trails of Reba Cahill Series is scheduled for Fall 2015. I’m not sure about the title…maybe something like When She Marries, When She Dies. I’m a bit more certain about Book 3 for 2016, which has the working title Beneath A Camperdown Elm.

Meanwhile, in the Spring I hope to re-release several of our earlier nonfiction books, mostly in digital eBook format. After that, I aim to reprint as many of the children’s novels as possible too.

Savanna:  Ah, the busy life of a writer!  Thanks so much for being here today, Janet.  Many blessings on your family and your writing!

Connect with Janet

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook   

Goodreads  |  Pinterest


Janet has graciously offered a copy of Wind in the Wires to one lucky reader! Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and Canada and ends December 17, 2014.  The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody! 😉

31 comments on “Interview with Janet Chester Bly & GIVEAWAY
  1. Susan Wayne says:

    Thank you for your interview. Looking forward to reading your new book.

  2. Savannna: Thanks so much for interviewing me on your blog!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Janet, Thank YOU for sharing with us and taking the time to comment here as well. I’m so happy to have met you and learned more about your writing. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas!

  3. Barbara Thompson says:

    I enjoyed the interview. The book sounds great. I live in Louisiana, so it’s hard to pick the first place to visit. I believe I would have to choose New Orleans. It’s famous for Mardi Gras, but also has many other attractions and the food is so delicious. Thank you for the opportunity of this giveaway.

  4. If you were to give a tour of your home state, what would be YOUR first stop and why? The mills with their waterwheels ~ all touristy now ~ no longer in use. We visited several on my husband’s birthday one year. So fun and historically dreaming! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  5. I am always delighted to read the interviews done with Janet. (and all other authors) I have no doubt all 3 of Reba’s stories will be well worth reading. I am excited to see all God has for you Janet in your journey of writing!

  6. Joan Arning says:

    Difficult question, Savanna! Our state of Missouri is beautiful and diverse! I’ll say my area of “The Parkland” with Hawn State Park, Pickle Springs, Elephant Rocks, Johnson’s Shut Ins, Fort Davidson, St. Francois State Park and the historic buildings in Ste. Genevieve. If someone prefers the city, we can go to St. Louis to Forest Park, the Arch, City Museum, and the Fox!

    • Joan: Attended a writer’s conference in St. Louis in view of the arch. Gorgeous landscape. Also enjoyed spending 4th of July one time in St. Joseph on a hilltop and watching lightning hit in several states.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Joan! I agree, our Missouri has so many beautiful and historic places to visit. Love that you mentioned so many places I still have yet to see in my own home state! 😉 I’ll have to write those down. I do love Fort Davidson, though. I’ve been there multiple times and I’ve been to the Arch too. I was up in it on a very windy day and we could actually feel it swaying back and forth. That made me a bit nervous! 😉

      If you ever get the chance, be sure to visit Ha Ha Tonka Park. We went there this fall and hiked to some beautiful castle ruins, a cold fresh-water spring, and some caves. Very cool place!

  7. Robin Bunting says:

    Gosh, Texas has so much to offer. I am hardpressed to pick a beginning point.

    Thank you for the interview with Janet Bly. I have read many of her husbands novels which are in our church library.

    So glad to hear she has finished the last one of his and written some of her own. Looking forward to reading them. Thank you for a chance to win one.

    • Robin: So glad you’ve ready many of Stephen’s novels. Thanks for your comment and entry in the contest.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Welcome, Robin. Thanks for visiting the blog. Glad to hear you enjoyed the interview. Hope you get to read Janet’s book soon. 🙂 And you’re right, Texas has a lot to see! I visited there on a business trip a couple years ago, but would love to come back for a longer visit. Gotta see the Alamo one of these days. 😉

  8. Ann Ellison says:

    Wonderful interview and a great sounding book. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

  9. Sierra Faith says:

    I have no idea……

  10. Deanna S says:

    I’d do Chimney Rock in Western Nebraska, It was a point to look for while traveling across the prairie. I could imagine all the Indians & Cowboys & Military & pioneers traveling by that point..
    I do enjoy a good western..

  11. Melanie Backus says:

    Great interview! There are so many wonderful places in Texas but we would start off at our ranch and go from there.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  12. Trixi Oberembt says:

    This isn’t in my home State, but I’ve been there enough times to know you’ll enjoy it too; Washington, more specifically Pikes Place Market & the waterfront! Ever seen a fish thrown through the air? It’s quite a unique site & a must see if you visit the fish market! Customers who purchase thier many varieties of fish (salmon, trout, etc), place thier money in a tennis ball, which in turn gets thrown to the cashier behind the vast seafood display & then the person in front throws whichever fish you buy to the packager to be wrapped & taken home. Wow, I never tire of seeing that! The rest of the market is quite unique too, many different talented crafters, jewelry makers, food venders, fresh flower & produce stands, a vast many different stores selling a vast variety of products…too much to list! You can’t possibly see everything in 1 day. And if you like coffee, there is the original Starbucks to get any kind of coffee, latte, expresso, etc you like. Get there early, or the line is long! Oh my, have I ever rambled on, lol! Both Oregon (my home State) & Washington have many, many different things to offer a visitor. It’s a beautiful area no matter where you decide to go. Thank you Janet for a chance to win a copy of your book & a great interview! Savanna for another new-to-me author, my hats off to you! Blessings to you both & Merry Christmas to you and yours 🙂

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Trixi! Never apologize for “rambling on”. 😉 We always love to hear from you! Everything you mentioned sounds fascinating. I’d like to see all that some day. I’ve never been to Washington, but I have been to Oregon once. Drove out there from Missouri last year with my hubby for a friend’s wedding. Such a beautiful place…. the mountains, ocean, waterfall, sand dunes, and tall trees. Would love to visit that area again. 😉 Merry Christmas to you as well!!

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