E.E. Burke's Best of the West featuring B.J. Daniels

Today, I'm delighted to be welcoming best-selling author B.J. Daniels.  I love Western settings, romance and suspense...and B.J. has all three in her books. Trifecta!  I asked her, why does she write Western romantic suspense?

"I just write about the state where I've spent my life. I love Montana and love sharing it with my readers. I live in a small town where there are more pickups than cars, where I see cowboys and cattle most every day, and where the landscape inspires me. They say write what you know. I try."

Her latest book is ATONEMENT, part of the Beartooth, Montana series. The next book in that series is MERCY, out in September.

A year ago Sheriff Dillon Lawson lost his twin brother, Ethan. Imagine his surprise when Tessa Winters shows up claiming to be pregnant—with Ethan's baby.

Is Tessa is a con artist or a victim? And if Ethan isn’t dead, then where is he? And why is he hiding? 

Meet B.J.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author B.J. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and three Springer Spaniels: Spot, Jem and Ace. 

When she isn’t writing, she quilts, snowboards, camps, boats and plays tennis. 

Where to find her:
Snail Mail: B.J. Daniels, P.O. Box 1173, Malta, MT 59538 

Website: www.bjdaniels.com 
Twitter: @bjdanielsauthor.

E.E. Is writing or storytelling easier for you?
B.J. I actually write better than I speak. Blame it on my parents who spoke a Texas version of the English language and taught it to me. But when I write, it is all about storytelling. I get lost in the story and try to tell it in a way that readers won’t be able to put the book down. In other words, I try to leave out the boring stuff. 

E.E. What is your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
B.J. I love suspense. Give me a murder mystery or some other puzzle, keep me guessing right up until the end, and I am one happy reader. As a writer too often I see the puppeteer behind the screen. I recognize his tricks and it spoils the story because I know exactly how it will end.

If I love the characters, I will keep reading. If not, I will put the book down. Keeping readers guessing is hard work. I’m faced with this every book. I try to mix it up, thinking of my readers out there trying to second guess me. They are a tough crowd.

E.E. What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
B.J. You mean besides cry? Writing is exhausting. Plus I’ve fallen madly in love with my characters. I’ve been living with this book for months. I’ve edited it usually about nine times. When I read it through the last time before sending if off to my editor, I am very emotional. I hope that my readers feel the same way at the end.

E.E. What do you do to unwind and relax?
B.J. Are you kidding? Most days there are characters in my head. They won’t leave me alone. But once a year, I try to leave them behind and head for Florida where I lie in the sun and lose myself in other writers’ books. That is my idea of relaxing.

I’m getting better at this. Usually if I don’t write for about three days, I start writing in my sleep. Now I can go for a couple of weeks but I have to actively refuse to listen to the characters.

My favorite thing to do for a break though is to get out in the boat. I love watching the water rush past. I have done some of my best plotting on the water.

E.E. If you could travel to the past where would you go and why?
B.J. This is an easy one. Helena, Montana back in the 1800s, during its heyday. Gold had been discovered. The town was jumping. There were shoot-outs in the streets, hidden tunnels under the city, thieves and outlaws. I would have to dress like a man though since it would have been a dangerous place for a woman who wanted to hang on to her virtue. I would walk around and take it all in. Ah, the stories. J Just to see for myself some of Montana’s rich history would be wonderful.

E.E. What is your favorite tradition from your childhood that you passed on?
B.J. Camping. I was in my first camp when I was a few weeks old. My daughter was no different. I loved to take her to Hebgen Lake. She spent many hours playing in the water, climbing over piles of driftwood, digging in the sand and staring into the campfire under a vast starlit sky. She is now passing that tradition on to her daughter.

E.E. Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them or let them influence your writing?
B.J. I read all my reviews and I consider what the reviewer has to say. My feeling is that the reviewer took the time to tell readers what she thought about the book, I should consider her opinion. Some reviews are very helpful. I remember one a long time ago. The reviewer said, “This writer has a secret baby in every book!” (I hadn’t written many books at that point.) I thought, that can’t be true. But sure enough, some of the babies had grown up, but there was one in the books she had read. I had to laugh.

So, yes, I learn from reviews. I try to take them in the spirit the reviews are offered. If they are just mean-spirited I figure that person had a bad day. We aren’t all going to like the same book.

E.E. What dreams have you realized as a result of your writing?
B.J. Wow. I never dreamed half of the amazing things that have happened. All I wanted was to tell stories. That’s still what I want. Every fun thing that has happened along the way came as a complete surprise. My first sale: ODD MAN OUT. My first fan letter. (I framed it.) My first nomination for an award. (Seriously?) My first review for my first book: 4 ½ stars! (I thought that was out of 10 but my editor was so happy…). My first award I actually received. The first time I made the USA Today List. Then the NYT Bestseller List. The friends I’ve made, both writers and readers, the editors, artists and marketing people who take such good care of me…. The list goes on and on.

I have pinch myself. But ultimately, I go back to my computer and I write another story. All that is fun, but for me, it is still about writing a story that my readers get lost in. That I get lost in. I love doing this.

E.E. Who influenced you most in the genre?
B.J. I didn’t grow up reading Louis La’mour novels. I read Trixie Beldon and Frank Yerby. But my dad loved western movies and history. We visited places like the Alamo in Texas, Judge Roy Bean’s, Virginia City, Montana and rode on stagecoaches and horses and old trains. My hero when I was young was Davy Crocket, king of the wild frontier. J

My life began in Texas before we moved to Montana when I was five. We lived in a cabin, always lived in some place fairly wild, so I guess I was destined to write what I do. Everywhere we went I was busy making up stories in my head.

Three new books in B.J.'s Cardwell Ranch series, coming soon from Harlequin Intrigue:

Out June 1

When Hayes Cardwell arrived in Big Sky, Montana, for his brother’s wedding, the Texas P.I. didn’t expect to play hero. But ever since he saved McKenzie Sheldon from a brutal abductor, he can’t get her out of his mind and heart.

McKenzie was drawn to Hayes from the moment she awoke and saw the tall, dark cowboy who’d saved her like some Western fantasy. But can he protect her from a danger that’s much closer than they think?

Out July 1
Texas single father Jackson Cardwell knows a beautiful lady in distress when he meets her.

Someone’s hell-bent on making wedding planner Allie Taylor think she’s losing her mind. 

Allie’s past has stalked her to Cardwell Ranch, and not even Jackson may be able to save her from a killer with a chilling agenda.

Today, B.J. is giving away a copy of her current release ATONEMENT to one of the readers who comments and enters the drawing. 

Do you read Western romantic suspense? What do you enjoy most about about it? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I actually can't recall any Western romantic suspense that I may have read, but I have no doubt I must have at some point over the years.

    1. It's funny, Mary. I've never thought of it as western. :) It's just where I live so I write what I know. :)

  2. So glad you joined us this morning, BJ! I hope we find a whole new set of readers who will enjoy Western romantic suspense as much as we do! For me, it's the perfect mixture.

  3. Hi BJ !!!
    Great to see you back here on GLIAS. Take care.

  4. BJ, these sound like awesome books, and if there aren't Western Romantic Suspense novels, why the heck not? My kind of reads. Thanks for joining us today.

    1. LOL Donnell, that's what I told Mary above. I just write about Montana. I hadn't thought of them as westerns. :)

  5. I'm with you, BJ! Romantic suspense/intrigue is my cup of tea. It adds spice to the stories and I can get really, really lost in them. Ask my hubby who tries to get my attention while I'm reading one. :-) I've also always loved contemporary and historical western romances, so if you combine that with suspense, double Wow! Thanks for your writing and this post. jdh2690@gmail.com

    1. Janice, thank you! I love the mix as well. They are fun to write too. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. My daughter introduced me to your books and I am so glad she did! My favorite type of book has got to be western romantic suspense. Thanks for all your hard work in writing your amazing books.

    1. Jo-Anne, I love it! Bless your daughter! Thank you for your kind words. I'm delighted you and your daughter are enjoying my books!

  7. I love the western romantic suspense. I have read a couple of books in this series and they were awesome. Your new book sound really good. I will be entering under the name of Virginia

    1. Hi Virginia, great to see you again! Delighted that you are enjoying my books. I am having a great time writing the Beartooth, Montana series. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. I just discovered B. J. I'm reading "Unforgiven" and enjoying it very much. I like the suspense element, whether contemporary or historical.

    1. Linda, glad to be discovered! :) Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Informative interview

    1. Hi, glad you liked it. It was fun being here!

  10. E.E., thank you so much for hosting me!!