Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Jenny Miller is Kathie from CA ! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week BJ Taylor is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her book, Charlie Bear, leave a comment on this post!
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
I’m originally a Midwesterner. I moved from Wisconsin to California more than 20 years ago. I like to say you can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the Midwest out of the girl. And that’s especially true if you’d hear me speak! My husband Roger and I have four grown children and two grandchildren. We also work together in a small business. I’m blessed to be able to write in the mornings and work at my job in the afternoons, but there have been months-long stretches where we didn’t have office help and I had to work more than eight hours a day. This recently happened at the exact time when the CHARLIE BEAR book was contracted and due. I got up at 5 a.m. every day and wrote for three hours before going into the office.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I love inspirational stories. And I’ve discovered I love writing about dogs. They are such a valuable part of our lives. I like to include a dog in the books I write, sometimes more than one, and sometimes a kitty or two.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I was married and had children right out of high school, but I always wanted a college degree. Not a big one, just an Associate of Arts degree. So in the 90s I signed up for courses at a local community college. It was during that time that I chose an elective class, Creative Writing. It nurtured that love for language and the writing seed took root.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
Something really cool happened to me. Remember John Gray and his “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” books? I was an admirer of his philosophy, so when he sent out a query to readers for their input to be included in his upcoming book, “Mars and Venus in Love,” I submitted six single-spaced pages of thoughts. (I know now that was WAY too much, single-spaced no less—but I was a rather inexperienced writer). They loved what I wrote, published most of it, and a fledging author with a little confidence was born. BTW, there was no byline, no payment, just the accomplishment, which looked great on my writer’s resume.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups?
I belong to three writers critique groups: two face-to-face and one online. I believe that sharing our writing with others can help to support, motivate, and encourage every member to success. There will be ups and downs, for instance non-acceptances, but the sting is not as painful when shared. And then there will be wonderful successes that are multiplied ten-fold when celebrated together. If not for my writers’ group members and our meetings, I may not have held myself accountable or accomplished all that I have in my writing career. And the funny thing is: every single member of the Sixteen Thumbs, the Marble Shapers, and the Night Writers has all been published.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
When B.J. Taylor first gazed at CHARLIE BEAR’s photograph, she knew right away he was the dog for her, but this rescue dog came with a long list of behavioral issues and was nearly labeled “unadoptable.” B.J. and her husband Roger often doubted their sanity after adopting Charlie Bear, but he eventually sheds his headstrong ways and becomes a loving member of the family, ultimately changing three lives forever.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
A compilation of inspirational stories published in Chicken Soup books and other markets has been pulled together into SUNNY SIDE UP: Inspiring Stories for Tough Times / Women / Dog & Cat Lovers and is available on Amazon. I am also working on novels I like to call dog-lit (Chick Lit for Dog Lovers).
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Direct link to CHARLIE BEAR book on Amazon
I would love to win a copy of Charlie Bear. email@example.com
Charlie Bear and I wish you all could win!
This looks WONDERFUL! 🙂
Thanks for the fabulous comment! Best wishes!
Thanks, BJ, for being on the blog today! Your story about being a writer/dog lover resonants with a lot of people (like me!). Keep writing!
Thanks, Suzanne, for having me on Author Spotlight! I can’t wait to award a copy of CHARLIE BEAR to your winner who comments!
I love animal stories, but especially dog stories.
Glad you love dog stories…me, too!
Charlie Bear,on the cover,is adorable and any and all stories with animals and kids is always a good book.
Bonnie, how nice of you to comment on Charlie Bear’s photo. I love stories with animals as well, and include at least one dog (or cat) in each of my books!
Enjoyed reading todays blog. Always nice to meet a new author. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thank you 🙂
Mary Ellen, thanks for commenting! It’s nice to “virtually” meet you, too!
I just love the cover of this book. I’d love to cuddle him in my arms! I’d love to win a copy of this book.
I enjoyed the interview with BJ. While writing this book it sounds like at times BJ had her hands full. Working 8 hours a day, getting up and writing 3 hours before going to work would have exhausted me!
Thanks for this great interview and giveaway!
love the cover would like to have the book
Thanks for the wonderful comment on the cover! That’s my favorite photo of my little munchkin, CHARLIE BEAR!
Charlie Bear is a love bug now, but he wasn’t at first! He had some issues that needed to be overcome, but with time, patience, and love he’s turned his life around (and mine as well!).
It was a true challenge to get CHARLIE BEAR written on such a short deadline from the publisher and having to work fulltime as well, but somehow, with God’s help, it got done! It did prove to me that I have more strength and determination than I thought I did!
Blessings to you, too!
would LOOOOOVe a chance to win this book!
Would LOOOOOVVVEE you to win! All of you!
I have always wanted another dog but hubby says no right now. Hopefully some day soon. I’d love to read the book. I enjoyed reading your interview. Thanks and God bless christianbookreviewer at gmail dot com
I hear ya about sometimes it isn’t the right time, but one day it will be! And when that day comes, look at rescue sites and shelters. They have the BEST muttigrees!
The books sounds like a wonderful summer read! Thanks for introducing me to a new-to-me author.
Hi Linda — consider us now officially introduced! Nice to meet you, too!
A wonderful summer read? Perfect!
This book looks wonderful! Being a true dog lover and puppy owner I always buy books about dogs. I used to live in northern Calif. before moving to Colorado. I would love a chance to win this and if I do, I’d be happy to review it on my blog.
Would love to have you review CHARLIE BEAR on your blog. Stay tuned to Suzanne’s site to see if you win! Best wishes.
My daughter and I love animals, especially dogs, and love to read books about them. My daughter is in high school and is an avid reader and a very creative writer. She loves to write stories with animals as the main characters. Maybe your book will inspire her to continue her efforts. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks!!
I love to read books about dogs, too. How nice that your daughter is also a reader, and as a high school student, is keeping the book-reading segment of her age group alive. Wonderful! Encourage her to keep on writing!
Charlie Bear looks so cute…it’s hard to believe he had behavior issues!!! I would love to read his story! Thanks for sharing!
Yup, that ridiculously cute little rascal did come with behavior issues. Just goes to show you…you can’t judge a book by its cover! lol
The cover of that book makes me want to read it! I’ll be looking for it.
Thanks for the wonderful comment on the cover of the CHARLIE BEAR book. We used that photograph because it was the one posted online that first made me fall in love with him. “Love at first sight,” so they say! And it was true!
Rescued dogs are the greatest. I’m so thankful you had the love and patience to stick with Charlie Bear and give him a loving family. I’m sure the love he gives back to you makes it worth all the struggle.
Connie, that’s for sure! All the love he gives us is DEFINITELY worth all the struggle we went through to get past his issues. He’s a 180 degree turned-around dog now. A real loving and giving muttagree that we adore!
Dog are very important part of our lives. They bring so much love and healing to us. Our dog Rex was a wonderful dog. My Husnamd lost both legs and when he was out side in his wheelchair Rex never left his side. He be came the protector and noone came in the yard that he didnt come between them and my hiusband and if my husband showed any anixous moment then Rex would bark continully until we came out and check on him. I would love to read your book on Charlie Bear. It looks really interesting. Please enter me in the contest.
Connie — oh, my. You had a dog named Rex? So did we! And our Rex was as big of a protector as your Rex. Think it was the name? Wishing you health and happiness, Connie.
Great interview.I love the name of this book…I know it will be great..just look at the cover.Beautiful.Thanks
CHARLIE BEAR is still as adorable as the first day I saw his photograph on the online rescue site (and that’s the photo we used for the cover). Thanks for the comment!
Aw! This book looks like a sweet story! Would love the chance to read it!
Thanks for the very nice comment. Reviewers have said they have laughed and cried, so you’ll definitely get some of that “sweet” you’re looking for.
Such a cute cover. Looks like a great read. Thanks for the chance.
Thanks for the compliment on the book cover!
B.J. & Charlie Bear
Charlie Bear sounds like a good read. I find it beyond impressive that everyone in your writers’ groups has been published! Wow! Can I join? I’m glad you make the sacrifices to write. I think you have a great and personable style. I’m also a Midwesterner (Ohio – The Heart of it All). kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.
Thank you for the awesome compliments! We’ve had a great bunch of gals who have worked really, really hard to be published. Perseverance and determination are key. Happy to know a fellow Midwesterner!
All the best,