Christian Western novelist Stephen Bly passed away June 9 in Lewiston, Idaho, after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 66.
A prolific author, Steve authored and co-authored with wife Janet numerous articles, short stories and cowboy poetry, plus more than 100 books for adults, teens and kids. He won the 2002 Christy Award for Western Novel for The Long Trail Home (B&H, 2001). Three more books were Christy finalists: Picture Rock (Crossway, 2001); The Outlaw’s Twin Sister (Crossway, 2002); and Last of the Texas Camp (B&H, 2002).
He also received strong reviews for Paperback Writer (B&H, 2003), which Publisher’s Weekly called “an amusing parody of the proverbial dime-store paperback novels.” The Grande Ole Opry’s Little Jimmy Dickens once wrote Steve a personal note: “Your book One Step Over The Border is as good or better than Louis L’Amour’s.”
Recent novels included Creede of Old Montana (Center Point, 2009), Cowboy for a Rainy Afternoon (Center Point, 2010) and, published last spring, Throw the Devil Off the Train (Center Point). Days before his death, he was dictating scenes for a new novel, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot. Janet and their sons hope to finish it for him for a 2012 release.
In addition to his career as a novelist, Steve pastored more than 20 years at the Winchester Community Church in Winchester, Idaho. He also served as the town’s mayor from 1999 to 2007.
He was also a collector of antique Winchesters, and built the false-front western village Broken Arrow Crossing. The site, built near his and Janet’s home, was named after his first Stuart Brannon novel, Hard Winter At Broken Crossing (Crossway, 1991).
Steve and Janet traveled all over the U.S. and parts of Canada to speak at couples and family conferences, men’s retreats, seminars, workshops for home-schoolers and writers conferences, as well as for a Young Writers Institute. They mentored many students for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.
Find more about Stephen Bly, and many of his books, at BlyBooks.com.