Her parents also loved to eat and brought Tex Mex and Texas barbecue to Montana back in a time when you couldn't buy Dr. Pepper or tortillas in the state. That love of food definitely has ended up in her books. Her characters, especially her heroines, all have healthy appetites — and of course the hero loves it!
"My father built us a cabin in the Gallatin Canyon," she recalls. "My brother and I had the great outdoors to play in. As a child, I made up stories in my head and Montana was such a perfect place to daydream."
Most of her books are set in Montana. "It's a place I know and love. I grew up listening to stories around the campfire. It always made me want to write."
B.J. lives with her husband, Parker, and their two springer spaniels, Zoey and Scout, and a temperamental tomcat named Jeff, in a house that looks out at the mountains. The landscape always inspires me.
When not at her desk writing, B.J. and her husband take their fishing boat to the lake and camp. "That is my favourite thing to do. My husband is a great cook. He is sexiest over the Coleman stove, she jokes." In the winter, B.J. snowboards. "It's true you don't have to be a kid to snowboard. It is an amazing, freeing sport. It is great fun."
Her first love, though, is writing and always has been. Writing is in her blood. "My grandmother wrote poetry and my father tried his hand at it, as well. He was also a builder. He started out building boats, then houses. He loved to create. I think that's what I inherited from him."
She set her first Silhouette Intrigue novel, Odd Man Out, on Hebgen Lake, where she grew up, near West Yellowstone. The book was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for best first book and best Silhouette Intrigue.
Before that, she was an editor and features writer at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She also had 34 short stories published in Woman s World magazine under the name Barbara Johnson Smith. B.J. is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Bozeman Writers Group. She loves to hear from her readers at P.O. Box 183, Bozeman, Montana 59771.