“Beneath a Camperdown Elm” is the latest release of award-winning Janet Chester Bly. Janet has been bringing us great western stories for many years, and she loves sharing her own story as she speaks to groups around the region.
I’m honored to have Janet be my guest here today, and you are blessed to have the chance to win a copy of “Beneath a Camperdown Elm.” Leave a comment and the winner will be contacted on or around the 24th of February.
Here is my interview with Janet:
1. How does writing stories tie in with legacy for you?
Books can travel to places I may never go—an unexpected bonus of writing and publishing. What a privilege to hear of books authored by me or my late husband found in far stretches of the earth. Even in prison cells via donations to libraries.
Stories created can also last indefinitely, to the next generation and beyond.
A grandparent often spoils the children, then goes home. But if you’re a serious grandparent with an eye to the kind of inheritance you’ll pass on, you assess resources. Even with limited material possessions, a writer leaves a legacy, a generous will on their grandchild’s and great-grandchild’s heart. For the Christian writer, that includes a spiritual legacy. Even in fiction stories, characters can provide a testimony of faith and God’s work in our world in unsettled circumstances.
2. What is your favorite part of the novel writing process and why?
Surprises! Those ‘aha’ moments when the unexpected happens to resolve a conflict or figure out a problem. It’s that sense of discovery when a plot point takes a turn I never planned at the beginning of the process. That’s when I receive affirmation that I really did have a viable story idea and that maybe I really am a fiction writer after all.
3. Have you always loved stories from the past?
As a young girl with four siblings in a two-bedroom house, each of us treasured our visits alone to our grandparents’ house each summer. The bedroom shelves lined with authors such as Pearl S. Buck and Taylor Caldwell. I’d read some every night in bed by flashlight. Some of the poignant scenes from those stories still stay with me. A pleasant memory of past special moments of activities with Grandpa and Grandma melded with entering foreign worlds of adventure through books.
4. What would you say to the younger generation today about history and literature?
History is often regarded as ‘His-story’, referring to mankind as a whole and also to God. History has a story connected to it. It’s one big story about people, their passions and fight for survival. History is the study of past events that impact our present existence. Literature illuminates those stories and allows the reader to make more sense of the current world. The ongoing similarities of drama, power struggles, loves and hates, and intrigue from one generation to the next. The Christian Bible, most of all, provides this broad expanse of history in stories, as well as the foundation for how we should live.
Literature opens and expands minds and hearts to a wide world beyond our own narrow, self-centered sight.
It helps us to think in critique and analysis, to read between the lines to hidden meanings. We get to look inside other people, through invading the inner privacy of characters, to know the mind, reasoning, and motivations of another.
Reading history and literature also sparks creativity for the writer to imagine his or her own stories to add to the stacks available through the ages.
5. What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Mysteries of all sorts—such as English author Anne Perry with her historical detective Thomas Pitt and William Monk series; or Mary Higgins Clark, because she was one of my mother’s favorites; or Elizabeth Peters and P.D. James, to name a few. Numerous others from the past and present cram my shelves. I also enjoy nonfiction that touches on research for a potential novel or expands on topics that enlighten, educate, or entertain. Right now on my TBR pile are books on music, prayer, nutritional cooking, a review of French language and culture, and an overview of western civilization.
6. What are your future plans for publishing?
I’m taking a break for a year or two from writing my own novels and taking on the tedious, but privileged task of re-releasing as many as possible of my late husband Stephen’s out-of-prints in paperback and eBook. He authored more than 100 fiction and nonfiction. Right now I’m completing Final Justice at Adobe Wells, Book 5 of the seven-book Stuart Brannon western adventure series. Published first by Crossway Books, they made a decision to discontinue fiction. Then Greenbrier Books picked it up, but sadly the owner, author and agent Ron Benrey, passed away. Now it’s my turn to keep them up and available.
Thanks so much for sharing with us! Below are links to Janet’s social media sites. Comment for a chance to win a book.
Be sure to explore Jane’t website, as she has some free downloads there. https://www.blybooks.com/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/
Facebook Personal: https://www.facebook.com/