The Restless Wrangler Author Interview & Giveaway!

About the Book

Book: The Restless Wrangler

Author: Karen Baney

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Christian Western

Release Date: March 8, 2023

A Prodigal Son, Surprise Baby Christian Historical Cowboy Romance. Compelling love story full of heartache and redemption set in Ash Fork, Arizona Territory in 1893-1894.

Preston Colter felt like he was the forgotten son. Years of drinking and drifting finally catch up to him. When a near-death experience recharts the course of his life, he finds himself face-to-face with an old flame. Will he prove he is a new and different man, or will he fall back into his old destructive ways

Years ago, Hetty Clark made one bad choice to follow her attraction to a man she loved which led to the birth of her son out of wedlock. After she inherits her father’s ranch, an older man offers her security for her son’s future if she marries him. When the man from her past shows up on her doorstep, she is faced with a difficult decision. Will she choose a loveless proposal to secure her son’s future? Or will she risk her heart on a man she doesn’t believe has really changed?Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Karen Baney is passionate about writing stories full of flawed characters. She enjoys weaving together stories of second chances, redemption, and overcoming personal trials. As a transplant to Arizona in the late 1990s, she loves researching the state’s history and finding ways to seamlessly incorporate real history and real settings into her novels. In addition to writing and speaking, Karen works as a Software Development Manager for a Christian ministry.

Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. Karen and her husband, Jim, make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs, Bella and Daisy. Both Jim and Karen are active at Rock Point Church in Queen Creek, Arizona.

More from Karen

What was the inspiration behind Preston Colter’s character?

I love a good prodigal story—partly because I was one. I also figured in a family with five boys and one daughter, at least one of them had to have a rebellious streak. Very early in developing the series, I felt like this role would be perfect for a fifth son.

Why did you write the series in the first person?

A few years ago, I read a historical series by Tess Thompson where she wrote the hero and heroine in the first person. I had enjoyed how the point of view felt deeper when written in the first person, so with the Colter Sons Series, I decided to give it a try. Since then, I’ve loved hearing from many readers how much they’ve enjoyed it.

If you’re a little nervous about reading something in the first person, please take advantage of the sample download feature available on most ereaders, including Kindle. The point of view characters are clearly marked at the beginning of the chapter and whenever the point of view changes.

Hetty Clark is a rancher?! What inspired you to choose that profession for her, especially since the book is set in 1893?

One of my favorite research sites for Arizona territorial history is the Sharlot Hall Museum’s online archives and “Days Past” articles. I read several articles about the early days of Prescott, Arizona’s Independence Day Celebrations. These were HUGE events for the town and surrounding communities, which eventually expanded into Cowboy Tournaments (aka Rodeo).

After reading an article about the women winners in the Cowboy Tournament in 1888, I dug deeper into what competitions the women participated in. I was surprised to learn that many of the women worked on ranches right alongside their husbands or brothers.

I enjoy writing strong female characters in unconventional roles, so making Hetty Clark a bronc rider and a ranch manager fit perfectly with the type of woman I pictured for Preston.

Author Interview

  • What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

The town of Ash Fork, Arizona, where The Restless Wrangler is set, burned to the ground three times in the late 1890s to early 1900s. I was floored when I read that in my research. Because I can geek out on history, I searched to find other towns in Arizona that burned down more than once. Surprisingly there are several, though I don’t remember them all. Arizonans are hardy people!

  • Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I love hearing from readers! Most often when I hear from readers, they share how one of my novels impacted them or encouraged them. Or they share how much they loved the story and romance. I always appreciate it when readers take time to send me email or comment on social media. After all, without readers, why write? (Ok, it is therapeutic to write too, but really readers make it all worth sharing.)

  • How do you overcome writer’s block? Do you have any advice for others in finding their process to overcome it?

My number one approach to writer’s block is to work on a different book. I usually have multiple novels in progress at one time.

In fact, I wrote most of The Resilient Bride (Colter Sons Book 6) before I wrote The Restless Wrangler (Colter Sons Book 5).

Don’t be discouraged by writer’s block. Try a different activity, like outline or character development. Write a short story. Do something to take your mind off the problem. The answers come quicker when you do.

  • Do you read the genre you write? Why or why not?

I love reading Christian romance, whether it’s historical, contemporary, urban, cowboy, small-town. It’s all I read and it’s what I love to write. Part of writing the same genres that I enjoy is that I get to share my love for the genre with readers.

  • How did you come up with the title for your book?

I’m very particular about the titles for my books. When I write a series (which most of my books are in series), I complete a high-level outline for the entire series including the main themes of the books. For the Colter Sons series, I wrote the first chapter of books 1-5 in one afternoon to get a better sense of the differences between the brothers. (Book 6 wasn’t originally part of the plan.)

I wanted the title of each book in the series to fit with the others and to tell you something unique about the main character. I decided to use adjectives that start with “R” followed by a noun. Then I brainstormed like crazy until I found the right combination. When I decided to add book 6—that took me days of pondering to come up with the title that fit with the pattern and the series. It was worth it in the end.

  • What’s your favorite writing snack, drink, and/or music?

I used to want complete quiet when I wrote. Then one day, I was having a hard time connecting with one of the Colter Sons. In my other job as a programmer, I would always listen to music as I wrote code, so I thought listening to a song might help me get into the character’s mood. It was so effective, I often listen to loud, high-energy music (mostly Christian) while I write. If I have a particular emotional or painful scene to write, I’ll listen to a few soul-stirring ballads.

My favorite band? Skillet and anyone that kinda sounds like them.

  • What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

My husband is super supportive of my writing career. Any time I get discouraged he reminds me: Just keep writing. Focus on writing.

And he’s right. I’ll ignore social media, skip writing a blog, avoid looking at sales numbers, all to focus on writing. In no time at all, I’m reminded of why I write—it’s in my blood and part of who I am. I was born to write regardless of the outcome.

  • How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

I learned so much with my first book and even my first series. Over the years, I’ve learned what types of writing activities are a waste of time for me and what is really important. I used to write super detailed outlines and the story always changed dramatically as I got to know the characters. Now I spend more time developing the characters (personality, backstory, motivation, etc.) and less on the outline. I have bullet points for key milestones in the story, while leaving a lot of room for the characters to dictate the story.

  • Is your writing space pristine or organized chaos?

Mostly organized. Others might say it looks a little cluttered, but everything has a purpose. I have my writing aids close by along with my e-ink notebook (seriously, how did I ever live without it!). I tend to keep all my research, character sketches, etc., in my computer so I can write from anywhere.

Blog Stops

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 2 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 3

By The Book, November 4 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, November 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 6 (Author Interview)

lakesidelivingsite, November 7

Sylvan Musings, November 8 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 9

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 10 (Author Interview)

Bizwings Book Blog, November 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 11

Artistic Nobody, November 12 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, November 12

Simple Harvest Reads, November 13 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Guild Master, November 14 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 15


To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 gift card with signed paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. Thanks so much for the fun interview and for sharing The Restless Wrangler with your followers.

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