Wednesday, August 29, 2012


devotional author Janet Chester Bly and western author Stephen Bly
Janet Chester Bly & Stephen Bly
Reading A Writer's Mind
by Janet Chester Bly

Author Stephen Bly, my late husband, wrote commentary to his fans about the books he wrote, even sometimes while he was writing them, as in these sidebar comments he made for Creede of Old Montana. To begin with, this novel was originally titled by him, The Lady Who Lingered Too Long. However, the publisher wanted a more western ring for their Bly customers, rather than an allusion to a romantic story. But this book's still a historical western romance by any other name.

On caring about his characters ...
When the weather changed fast at one point. "I reckon Sonny is wishin' she still had that yellow parasol she toted in the opening scene," says author Stephen, "For the life of me, I can't remember where she laid that down."
And when we finally get to the scene where protagonist Avery John Creede meets the lady who has been lingering, author Steve wonders aloud if he could use some counsel from a character in another novel, smooth talking contemporary cowboy Brady Stoner, but there's no time machine available: "Somehow, I reckon Avery will bumble through on his own."

western novel Creede of Old Montana hardback large print
Creede of Old Montana
On back story the reader never knows ...
Steve made the comment about Avery John Creede as he plopped on a park bench in Fort Benton, Montana ... "This is as scrubbed up as he has been since that time he got in a fistfight with the governor and his wife. Ah, but that's another story."

On how his Old West cowboy character might react in a modern day setting ...
"I'm not sure Avery John Creede would be happy with a quiet life He thrives on reacting under pressure. He would be quite bored with life in the 21st century. . .unless he climbed some mountains, or skydived off a tall building, or volunteered to drive a Brinks truck through Baghdad."

On historical setting teenagers ...
"Tabitha Leitner is 'almost' sixteen. What wonderful energy and enthusiasm. Isn't it nice to know that no matter what century you're in, some things never change?" and later when Tabitha meets Avery's nephew, "I have no idea where this relationship is leading. Which, come to think of it, is the lament of every parent of a teenage girl."

On the inner fears of his protagonist ...
Teen Tabitha gets to the core when she blurts out, "But you are childless and alone." Avery John Creede sucks in a deep breath, then paces in front of his designated park bench and tries to relate all the reasons why he's still single in his forties. "Whoa," says author Stephen, "That hit Avery harder than a gun barrel to the back of the head. It's the very thing he tries so hard never to think about."

On character development in the plotting process ...
"There is something about Carla Loganiare that Avery sees, but others miss. I haven't figured it out yet. But as soon as he tells me, I'll let you know."

On the importance of inner monologue in his novels ...
"Some authors don't like to use interior monologue (the part in italics) at all. I've found it helpful in getting to know what a character thinks. . .especially what they are thinking about the Lord. For some, like Avery John Creede, faith is a private, quiet relationship. He doesn't always talk about it, but it's close to him, shaping everything he does."

For writers: is their a crafting device you use that perhaps some advise against? Do your characters ever worry, alarm or surprise you?

For readers: what do you find most interesting to learn about how your favorite author does the writing process?

Creede of Old Montana available in hardback/large print or ebook format, such as Kindle, Nook, iPad ...
To learn more about Stephen Bly or Janet Chester Bly and their books ...
website: (bookstore under construction until first September)

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