INTERVIEW WITH B. J. DANIELS

Rogue Gunslinger and Rugged Defender (The Clementine Sitsters Book 2 and Book 3)

B. J. Daniels

Sept/Oct 2018

Harlequin Intrigue Pub.

Rogue Gunslinger and Rugged Defender, the second and third books of the Clementine Sisters series by B. J. Daniels blends a great plot, setting, and characters. People cannot imagine how this author can improve, but each book in this series just keeps getting better.

In Rogue Gunslinger, T.J. Clementine is a mystery author that is being stalked. Receiving mail from one particular fan escalates into threats because she is not following their writing advice. Hoping to escape from possible danger she travels to her childhood home to be with her other two sisters in Whitehorse Montana. Coincidentally she again meets in Montana, the man, Silas Walker, who either saved her or pushed her into an on-coming truck while in New York City. Deciding to investigate Silas, she realizes he protected her, and that as a former policeman he can actually help her find the culprit. This loner and mountain man becomes not only her savior, but they form a bond, while trying to keep each other safe.

The next book of the series, Rugged Defender, focuses on the third sister, Chloe.  She lost her job as an investigative reporter.  Now in Montana for the holidays she decides that sitting around is not for her.  Realizing that a high school classmate, Justin Calhoun, left in disgrace with many unanswered questions about his brother’s death, she searches out the truth. Chloe and Justin decide to team up to find out what really happened to his brother, having their lives threatened in the process.

As a recap, the first book in the story, Hard Rustler, begins with a city gal, Annabelle (Annie) Clementine, traveling back to her home town of Whitehorse Montana. After high school, she decided to escape the monotony to become a famous model, leaving her love interest, Dawson, behind. Now, thirteen years later, she is back to sell her late grandmother’s house and to get out of town as soon as possible. Confronted by someone who wants to find something in that house she realizes her life is in danger. Annie and Dawson must sort out the mystery and determine what her grandmother was hiding.

These books are about estranged sisters coming to terms with the past and making amends. It’s a love story and a mystery, with a lot of suspense. Each sister in their own way are strong independent women who know themselves and end up knowing what they want out of life.

Elise Cooper:  You were spot on with the interactions of the three sisters.  Please explain.

 B. J. Daniels: I wanted to be able to write a book that is sister oriented. I do not have any sisters, but I do have a sibling. For me the dynamic of families is interesting.  I did meet a lot of people who had sisters so I was able to observe them and how they got along. I also think that someone’s profession has an influence.  TJ being a writer never wants to be in the spotlight, while her sister Annabell, a former model, enjoys it.  The other sister, Chloe, an investigative reporter, enjoys digging for dirt.

EC:  The boyfriends from previous books just get a cameo appearance?

Daniels: I hope each book stands on its own.  Because of that, if people do not read the books in order they might not know about the hero.  In addition, by the third book there would be too many characters to include so I basically kicked the previous boyfriends off to the side.

EC:  Since TJ is a writer is that you?

Daniels: There is some of us in our characters even if we do not like to believe it. In Rogue Gunslinger, I got into what it is like to be a writer, including all the demands.  I have often told my agent I just want to write books, but was told that is not possible.  TJ and myself are not fond of social media.  I have said, ‘the day I quit it will be because of social media.’ If someone reads a book and likes it that is when readers go looking for the author.

EC:  Which of the three sisters are you most like?

Daniels: Of the three sisters, I am most like TJ. In high school I was a day dreamer as she is.  Sometimes the story feels real to life for me.  For example, I moved things around in a town to represent how I saw it. When I visit there, some things seem out of place. TJ and I had writing choose us with our characters taking on a life of their own.

EC:  The suspense part of the story has TJ stalked?

Daniels:  I have never been stalked.  I remember writing another book where a character was attacked in a grocery store parking lot at night.  I had just read something about the ways a woman could protect themselves and what to look out for.  A friend of mine stated, ‘I never knew you were attacked.’ But I hadn’t been.  What I want to do as a writer is put myself in that place, show the reader how it works, and make it real enough for people to believe it.

EC:  In the last book, Rugged Defender, the relationship is based around that kiss?

Daniels:  I have fallen in love and often felt that it is real after that one kiss.  Anyone who has had one of those kisses knows what I mean.

EC:  TJ says throughout the book she is not like her character Constance?

Daniels:  I think TJ and I have that in common where our characters are braver, more loyal, and become heroines. As writers, there are so many times we are hidden away from people while characters like Constance are out there kicking butt.

EC:  TJ speaks of how she wakes up at night with characters getting into her head?

Daniels:  Yes, that is true. My characters do talk to me.  There are days it seems they have come from outer space and I just type.  I will be working on one book and then a character from another book pops into my head and starts talking to me.  Then I always write it down.  I hear scenes and just start typing.  Sometimes I feel I have painted myself into a corner and just wait for the answer to come to me.  The characters come to life.

EC:  How would you describe TJ’s boyfriend, Silas?

Daniels:  He is a big tough guy.  TJ realizes he actually led the life she writes about but never lived. I think he is in awe, intrigued, and captivated by her. I compared him to a mountain lion because of his intensity.  When TJ comes in contact with him, it is dangerous like coming across a mountain lion.  He can be protective but also thoughtful, gentle, and charming.

EC:  How would you describe Chloe’s boyfriend, Justin?

Daniels:  He is trying to make amends.  Strong and independent.

EC:  Montana is very prevalent in all your books?   

  Daniels:  I live in the prairie and just as with the town of Whitehorse you can see the Little Rockies in the distance.  I weave in the real life of the small town.  We don’t even have stop lights and the nearest Target is three hours away.  People love to dance and often go to bars to do it.  It is also true that guys wear jeans almost any place including weddings, funerals, and churches. I once wrote ‘a guy wearing a suit is either an undertaker or a lawyer.’ I describe in the books as I see Montana with “the wild prairie, the endless sky, the wide-open places… The peace and quiet. Not one siren to be heard. No traffic. No honking taxis. No loud music from the apartment next door.”  I meant it when I said ‘I just love this place.’

EC:  Next book?

Daniels: Unfortunately, these characters will not come back.  I understand people fall in love with them and want to see them again but there is no easy way to bring them back.  My next book will be out in November, titled Wrangler’s Rescue.  It starts out with Cyrus falling off a cruise ship and believed dead.  He is from Montana and his gal did not believe that he had died.  She goes in search of him, which lands them in the Caribbean. I hope readers feel it is a fast-paced novel.

THANK YOU!!