November Seal of Excellence Winner B.J. Daniels Talks About Her Romance-Filled Small Town

Author B.J. Daniels won RT’s November Seal of Excellence for her latest series romance, High-Caliber Christmas. This novel won the attention of the RT editors with its fast-paced suspense and sweet romance. Now the author shares how the fictional small town of Whitehorse, Montana has become the home to so much romance and what fans can expect to occur there next!

There is nothing more exciting than writing a book, falling in love with it and having someone else love it too.

With High-Caliber Christmas, I liked the characters from the first time I met them on the page. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer so I am always surprised when I first meet my characters. I’m also surprised when I find out who the killer is. Heck, I’m surprised by most everything that happens in my books, I guess that’s why I love writing so much.

High-Caliber Christmas was one of those books that I swear wrote itself. The idea took root when I contacted my first real boyfriend from high school. I’d always wondered what happened to him and with the Internet, it is pretty easy to track people down. I dropped him a line, he wrote back, told me about his family, I told him about mine and that was the end of it.

But being a suspense writer I thought: what if you contacted an old boyfriend and his wife was crazy jealous? Or just plain crazy? And what if she came after you?

That idea morphed, as ideas do, into High-Caliber Christmas. When I say the book wrote itself, I guess what I’m saying is that the story was just there at my fingertips. I’d been writing about the Winchester Ranch family of Whitehorse, Montana so I knew the town and some of the Winchesters already. 

I couldn’t imagine anything more frightening than to be targeted by a complete stranger for no good reason. Worse, if that person targets someone you love.

The whole idea for writing about the ranch families who live around the small western Montana town of Whitehorse started when my husband and I moved to a remote, once very lawless part of Montana. The colorful history of the area and something about the rolling prairie ignited my imagination. I just had to put a series here. Whitehorse, Montana was born.

I fashioned the small western town after the small western town where we now live. I loved everything about this ranching community from its Wild West days to the way people here live now. Not much has changed except for the Old West outlaws. There are more pickups than cars, more churches than bars. In this part of the state there is only about .03 people per square mile. It’s wild country and the people who live here have to be tough – just like my characters.

The series started as only six books. But there were so many stories to tell, it has grown to more than twenty-four at present.

Each Whitehorse mini-series is the story of one Montana ranch family and their troubles. Who knew there would be so many murders and secrets in such a small town?

High-Caliber Christmas is one of my favorites in the Whitehorse: Winchester Ranch series so I am thrilled that it was awarded the RT Seal of Excellence Award for best book of the month.

There is one more Winchester family book, Winchester Christmas Wedding, which comes out in December. It has been a fun family to write about because they are so wonderfully dysfunctional – like a lot of families.

The next six-book series, Whitehorse: Chisholm Cattle Company, begins in May.

I love sharing Montana with readers, because while the characters and the stories might be fiction, I’m writing about a place that continues to steal my heart.

- BJ Daniels

You can pick up your own copy of this month's High-Caliber Christmas and then return to Whitehorse on December 7th when Winchester Christmas Wedding is released!