Friday, June 1, 2012

Branded, Corralled and Wrangled: An Interview with USA Today Bestselling Author B.J. Daniels

B.J. Daniels is the first Montana author I've had the opportunity to host and what a pleasure it is to have her here with us today. She's also a seasoned author with some wonderful books and as you're about to see, she has a great way of expressing herself. Welcome B.J.! There's also a giveaway at the end of the interview - good luck!

MK: Your latest book Wrangled, is the last book in the Chisholm Cattle Company series. Will it be difficult to let those characters go and move on?

BJ: I have to admit that after I finished my Winchester Ranch series, I thought there would never be another family I would love as much. It was hard at first with the Chisholms. They seemed too perfect – until I got to know them. J Now they are one of my favorite families. And this last book is especially fun because the killer is revealed!!

I usually fall in love with my heroes as well as my villains because most of the time neither is all good or all bad – just human – the villains with major flaws. This villain, well, you’ll have to judge for yourself. Definitely an evil favorite.

But I have already started another Whitehorse series. This one at the Sundown Stallion Station introducing the McGraw family. I’m still getting to know them, but I can tell I already like – and suspect – some of them. 

MK: Will you share with us a short preview of Wrangled?

BJ: Wrangled is about vengeance and obsession. If you’ve ever been so hurt that you’ve thought of getting even, then you will be able to relate to this story. In Wrangled, Zane Chisholm is thrown together with a cowgirl from his past – after he foolishly accepts a date with a complete stranger who shows up at his door.

When the mystery woman disappears, Zane looks more than a little guilty. Only one person believes his story, a cowgirl who used to have a crush on him when they were kids. But Dakota Lansing has her own reasons for wanting to find the mystery woman.

Meanwhile back at the Chisholm Cattle Company ranch, the killer gets even closer to Emma Chisholm, the family matriarch, before the series ends and the villain is unmasked.

MK: You have more than 60 books under your belt – out of those do you, or have you ever had a favorite? Is so, which one and why?  

BJ: It’s funny, your favorite is always the one you’re working on. But Gun Shy Bride is very special to me. I think that is when I really cut loose and began to write what I wanted to. I loved Deputy McCall Winchester from the moment she stepped on the page. She was raised by a single mother who has a reputation around town and trouble telling the truth.

McCall also has an entire family who refuses to acknowledge her existence. She has lost the man she loves (or at least thinks she has) and yet she is strong and determined, chin up, ready to take on the world. I love her. She is now sheriff and a reoccurring character in my Whitehorse, Montana series. I also love that she was on the cover rather than the hero. J

MK: Do you have a favorite character in the Chisholm Cattle Company series? Who and why?

BJ: Now I’m going to get in trouble. My favorite is my villain. As I was writing this book, I thought about what it must be like to want something so badly that it takes over your life. It becomes an obsession, one that you will do anything for.

I get pretty single-minded some times with my writing. It becomes all consuming. When you spend a lot of hours alone plotting, that other world outside your door becomes less real, so I can relate with my villain.

I love villains who are human, who could have chosen another life, one that would have made them happier – but didn’t. There are also some people that you can’t love enough. They are like a bottomless well. So what happens when they realize you can never love them enough?

MK: I sometimes like the villains too! What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

BJ: The challenge is going to the computer every day, sitting your behind down and writing. There are some days when I’d rather clean the toilets. And there is always a point in every story where I get stuck.

I’m an organic writer (seat of the pants writer). I never know what is going to happen or what the story is about until I just sit down and start that first page. So when I get stuck, I don’t want to face the computer.

But I have learned to take a day off. Just one and do something fun. I do my best thinking on the road. So I will get in my car and head for the nearest fabric store (an hour away). On the way, I usually figure out my plot and have to pull over and write it down.

Writing is hard work, the hardest job I’ve ever had and I’ve had some dandies. So making yourself write when the muse has deserted you is what keeps you published. But there are days… J

MK: What has been your greatest pleasure since that first book was published?  

BJ: Getting to keep doing this. I love what I do. The stories are just waiting to be told. I love the characters and getting to tell their stories. They always surprise me.

I write what is called romantic suspense but actually I write mysteries and the way I do it is I make everyone a suspect. I never know who is guilty until the very end of the book so then it is a surprise for me as well as the reader. Most every character has something to hide so it is easy to make everyone a little guilty.

MK: On your website, there’s a photograph of you with a rifle at the ready (common here in Montana). What other non-writing pastimes do you enjoy?  

BJ: We have a lake close by and I love spending summer mornings on the water in the boat fishing or just daydreaming. It just gets the creative juices going. I also love to travel, play tennis, quilt and bake. I have a great quilt group with lots of creative fun women. The baking I could probably do a lot less of, actually. 

MK: I hear you on the baking! How has living in Montana influenced your writing? Are all of your books set there?  

BJ: I have a friend who once said that the romances in my books are really with Montana. We moved here when I was five and I fell in love with the state. Most of my books are set here because Montana is like another character. It is a wild and often dangerous place because of the weather and terrain. You can get lost in Montana and never see another soul for days. There are so few places like that in the lower 48. So it is as much a part of my books as the plot.

MK: You have quite a year ahead of you, with multiple releases in 2012. Can you give the readers a glimpse of what they can expect to read this year?  

BJ: For the first time, I have written a single title book, UNFORGIVEN, which will be out in December. I started the year with an anthology, ICE LAKE, with my fellow Intrigue writers and friends Julie Miller and Delores Fossen. In March, CORRALLED, the fourth book in the Whitehorse: Chisholm Cattle Company series, came out. That series ends in June with WRANGLED.

In October, the long-awaited sequel to CRIME SCENE AT CARDWELL RANCH will hit the shelves. JUSTICE AT CARDWELL RANCH is for all those readers who want to know what happened to Dana Cardwell’s siblings. Of course there will be lots of trouble. There always is at Cardwell Ranch. J

After UNFORGIVEN comes out in December, I have another single title tentatively scheduled for February that I am working on now, then the next Whitehorse, Montana 6-book series will begin with Sundown Stallion Station and the McGraws.

Also on the horizon, are more CARDWELL RANCH books – at least four after the sequel.

So yes, I’m busy but loving getting to tell all these stories.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog and many thanks to all my wonderful readers. They make all this possible.


Life out on the Chisholm Ranch was Never Dull 
That's Dakota Lansing's impression, anyway. But she was always on the other side of the fence, keeping her distance from Zach Chisholm, the cowboy with a bad reputation. Now her family secrets are threatening to be unearthed and she's afraid where they'll lead, especially if it means setting foot on the Chisholm ranch....
With both their lives in jeopardy, Dakota is forced to admit Zach is her only hope of staying alive. Targeted by unknown assailants, Zach discovers his mysterious connection to Dakota is much bigger than either suspected. The feisty beauty is more than his match and is becoming harder to resist. With time running out, should he let her rope him in and go along for the ride?

B.J.'s Chisholm Cattle Company series (there are 6 from which to choose)! 
Two lucky readers will receive the Kindle book of your choice from this series! Just enter below or comment with your email and book of choice! The series includes - Branded, Lassoed, Rustled, Stampeded, Corralled, and Wrangled.
Winner will be drawn on June 5th.
Read about the books here!
This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations Kimberly and Blake! 


  1. What an awesome interview! I have only had a chance to read "Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch" but I enjoyed it very much. Glad to hear there are some more books in line for those characters:) I love how you keep your readers on their toes throughout the entire novel! Looking forward to reading more of your books:)

  2. It was a fun interview to do and I enjoyed learning more about B.J. and her books.

    B.J. - thank you for joining us today and I'm looking forward to learning more about all of your great projects coming out this year!