Let me say upfront that this was B.J.’s idea — not mine.
My name is Barbara Johnson Heinlein. I am the author. B.J. Daniels is my pseudonym.
To give you an idea of our relationship you would have to have seen Chucky movies. B.J. Daniels is my creation, the monster that has taken over my life. The one thing she and I can agree on is that we are nothing alike.
B.J. chuckling as she asks: “So you’re the author? Is your name on the books?”
Me: “No, but that’s because when I started writing, I was required to come up with a pseudonym. The B.J. was my maiden name: Barbara Johnson and the Daniels was for my daughter, Danielle.”
B.J.: “Hmmm. It certainly looks to me like I’m the one who writes the books.”
Me: “Are you still on that? You are like my ventriloquist dummy. Basically, you get all the laughs. Or in our case, I write all the books and you get all the credit.”
B.J.: “It’s because I’m more fun. I like to get out once in a while and kick up my heels. You spend your days in sweats in front of a computer. I go to conferences and book signings. I’m the sociable one.”
Me: “Fine, you go and leave me at home. One of us needs to write. One of us has deadlines.”
B.J.: “I’ve been wanting to talk to you about that. I think you can write more books if you put your mind to it. I have some ideas.”
Me: “More books?”
B.J.: “Don’t you want to hear my ideas?”
Me: “Everyone has ideas. It is taking those ideas and turning them into a book that is hard work.”
B.J.: “You should also consider a giveaway. You need to give away a cowboy. Whoever buysthe most copies of your latest release, gets her very own cowboy. I think it might help my book sales.”
Me laughing: “Your book sales could put us in prison.”
B.J.: “Trust me, sales will soar.”Me: “I don’t doubt it. But I can’t give away a cowboy.”
B.J.: “What about a horse?”
Me: “B.J., I know you have too much time on your hands with nothing to do, but I don’t have time for this. I have a book to write.”
B.J.: “That reminds me, when do I get to go to another conference? Tell me I’m going to RT this year.”
Me: “We’re going. We’re taking the train from Montana to Chicago to New Orleans. I plan to write all three days.”
B.J.: “Think about the cowboy giveaway. We could take him on the train with us. You’re always saying you wish you could do something special for your readers besides merely thanking them. This is your chance.”
B.J.: “You better get back to your book. You have a deadline looming.”
Me: “Wait, where are you going?”
B.J.: “I’m going to look for a cowboy. It’s Montana. How hard can it be to find one who likes the idea of going to some nice reader?”
Clarification: No cowboys were hurt during this interview. Nor will any be given away. At least that was the case at the time of this interview.
Me: “B.J., put that cowboy back right now!”