Tuesday, March 24, 2009
STEPHEN BLY has authored (and co-authored with wife Janet) 100 books, fiction and nonfiction, for kids, teens and adults, including Fortunes of the Black Hills Series. The Long Trail Home received a Christy Award (for Westerns) and three other novels were finalists. He pastors Winchester Community Church and lives at 4,200 ft. elev., in north-central Idaho, on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. The Blys have three married sons and three grandchildren.
Welcome to PASTimes. Tell us a little about what you write.
Many of my historical novels would be classified as traditional westerns (The Land Tamers, The Stuart Brannon Series, The Code of the West Series, Fortunes of the Back Hills Series, etc.). However, some would be pegged as romance westerns--with a female protagonist and the relational aspect the central part of the plot, in the midst of the adventures and occasional shootouts (The Belles of Lordsburg Series, The Heroines of the Golden West Series, The Old California Series, etc.).
Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job?
My wife Janet and I are full-time writers and have been since 1988, but I do supplement our income through my ministry as a part-time pastor and through my part-time hobby of collecting, trading and selling antique Winchesters - for more information check out this website.
What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?
Life happens, especially as a pastor. The unexpected needs of others—in our church, community, family—come fast and furious at times. And until I retired last year, I was on the city council and then served two four year terms as Mayor of our city. That increased the daily crunches on my time.
Also, the mundane duties—paying bills, fixing the plumbing, shoveling snow (both at home and the church). However, I’ve come to see those as necessary and crucial ‘breaks,’ not interruptions. I’ve always been able to complete a project.
What historical time periods interest you the most and how have you immersed yourself in a particular time period?
I major on 1865-1910. . .thru research, travel and a very fertile imagination. I can close my eyes and live in the west during any decade or period in those years. That’s where I’ve focused my attention in all my reading and my travels through the West.
For instance, right now I’m in Fort Benton, Montana, in the Grand Hotel, with the sun beating through the curtains, laying on a thin, cheap mattress on top of a wooden plank. Fine dust hangs in the hot, summer air and I hear horses tromping the dry, dusty street outside. A dog barks three blocks away. And there’s a plague of crickets in my ear that follows me through every time period.
Introduce us briefly to the main characters in your most recent book.
Come back tomorrow for the answer and part two of the interview with author Stephen Bly. Leave a comment for a chance to win either The Land Tamers or One Step Over The Border. Two winners this week!