BJ Daniels asks Do Some Books Really Write Themselves?

Do Some Books Really Write Themselves?

BJ Daniels picBy B.J. Daniels

You’ve probably heard an author say, “This book just wrote itself.” Any author who hasn’t said that really wants to meet a book that “just wrote itself.”


I’ve had a couple of books that really did seem as if they wrote themselves. Actually, I have a friend who swears that we are only typists and that our books are being fed to us from some “other” place. Kind of gives you goosebumps huh.


In truth, books don’t write themselves. But for writers who write by the seat of their pants (that would be me)…sometimes it seems that way.


That was the case with FORSAKEN. Years ago when I was a reporter, I interviewed an old sheepherder and his “tender,” the young man who took care of camp while the sheepherder took care of the sheep. The two had just come out of the mountains after 150 miles and three months in the wilderness with two thousand sheep.


ForsakenThe old sheepherder probably said three words. The tender though couldn’t stop talking he was so clearly glad to be out of the mountains. I’m sure that stuck in my mind because when I started FORSAKEN, I had a feel for the young tender who came racing out of the mountains, covered with blood and terrified.


Books that write themselves start with strong characters and there was none stronger than my heroine Maddie Conner. The moment I put my fingers on the computer keys and she appeared on screen, she took over the story since..well, it was her story.


I was a little worried about Deputy Sheriff Bentley Jamison, the greenhorn easterner, who knew nothing about sheep, Montana or the wilds though when he appeared. I had no idea how the two of them would get along, let alone fall in love.


But writing by the seat of your pants takes faith. Jamison might not have known much about Montana, sheep or the rugged remote country of the sheep camps, but he did know about murder.


The two took off on horseback, one of the only ways to reach the high country of the Beartooth mountains (the other is on foot). Maddie was praying that her sheepherder, a man who was like a grandfather to her, was safe along with her two thousand head of sheep. Jamison was headed to the mountains sure he was going to find a murder scene.


One of the things I loved about writing this book is that Maddie and Jamison are in their mid-forties. They’ve lived some life, they’ve had major changes in their lives and experienced loss. They are also capable and strong.


BJ DanielsSo it did feel as if the book was writing itself. Of course the easy part of writing books is sharing Montana with my readers. This is the “Wild West” that I know. I loved taking my readers up into the Beartooths to this wild, rugged, harsh and yet beautiful and yet unforgiving country.


BJ Daniels BKMRKOf the almost 70 books I have written, I think this might be my favorite. FORSAKEN has been compared to the TV and book series Longmire in RTbookreviews magazine. I am honored by that comparison.


FORSAKEN is part of the Beartooth, Montana series for HQN. It is the third book in the series. The first two are UNFORGIVEN and REDEMPTION.


I will be giving away a copy of FORSAKEN along with my latest bookmark.

(Mary Connealy here–I have to insert myself into BJ’s post just for a second to say I have one of these books marks. I got it at the RWA Conference and it is the CUTEST THING EVER!!! Absolutely adorable cut out picture of a cowboy. This shape, not rectangular. YOU WANT ONE OF THESE!!  )



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47 thoughts on “BJ Daniels asks Do Some Books Really Write Themselves?”

  1. I am new to your books, but your description of how Foresaken cam to you made me rush to purchase the first of the series. I can’t wait to read it and the 2 that follow.

  2. I think it is really interesting to find out how the books come to be written. Hearing the fact the it wrote itself really makes me want to read it. I hear some authors say they struggle with one book or another, so I know the ideas aren’t always flowing with everyone. I would love to read this book and the bookmark is the coolest.

  3. The sheepherder story sounds unique and intriguing! If the characters tend to tell you what to do or write then I say the book “writes itself”. 🙂 I can’t imagine hearing those voices in my head – I have enough trouble as it is. LOL

  4. Tanya here, and I Soooo agree with Mary. I have TWO different BJ Daniels cowboy bookmarks displayed in my writing room for inspiration. Hubba hubba. That said, I did meet you in Anaheim, BJ and I love your books. I just ordered Christmas at Cardwell Ranch. I’ll be loading up this series, too.
    I’m intrigued with reading about a couple in their forties….I think the first romance novel I ever read, several eons ago, the heroine was 17. Best wishes with your books , keep ’em coming, and thanks from a true fan for spending time in Wildflower Junction today with us.

  5. WOW! I love hearing how characters and storylines take hold of an author and won’t let go!

    I absolutely LOVE your books and have read 5 complete series and various stand alones! Each book is filled with wonderful characters, excitement, intrigue, and romance. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Beartooth, Montana series! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of FORSAKEN and a fabulous cowboy bookmark!

  6. Thank you for the great post! I think FORSAKEN sounds so intriguing book and I can’t wait to see what happens between Maddie and Jamison. And what beautiful country..wish I was there now! Thank you for the opportunity to be a winner.

  7. I love that bookmark and I want one. Well, wait, I have one, I mean I want one for my own books. B.J. we need to talk.
    We can figure something out, like teenage girls who phone each other about what to wear before school. If we’re going to be at the same place at the same time. (RWA??…when else would it ever happen) you can have the cool dye cut cowboy bookmarks, because you thought of it first. But the rest of the time. I get them, too!

  8. Your post was fascinating. Forsaken being compared to Longmire is wonderful and deserving. The Beartooth Montana Series sounds like a treasure. best wishes.

  9. Forsaken would be cherished since the locale and the beauty are very special. Learning about your writing and the series was very interesting. I would save this beautiful and artistic bookmark for my special books I love.

  10. Hi BJ!! Welcome back to the Junction. It’s always such a treat when you come. Interesting subject! I really do think some books write themselves. My very first western romance that published did just that. It was like all I had to do was transcribe what the characters whispered in my ear. Also…I LOVE the Longmire TV show!! The characters are so flawed. And Branch, Oh My Dear Lord! He is a gorgeous man. Gets on the wrong path sometime but he’s redeemable. And Walt Longmire has so many demons. Yet he is so honorable and tough and I’d love to have him come over to my house and hang out. Just a very well-written show.

    Wishing you much success! I’d love to have one of your bookmarks. Amazing. I may have to steal Mary’s. LOL

  11. Forsaken would be captivating reading. What a wonderful post that I found to be extraordinary and the bookmark and book very unique.

  12. thanks for this engrossing post. Forsaken would be cherished and is intriguing. Your comparison to Longmire is apt and impressive.What a great series. Much happiness and success.

  13. I am so behind in my reading and haven’t read this genre in a while – I need to remedy that and this sounds like a great one to start with!

  14. Oooh I want one of those bookmarks! 😉 Just started getting into your books… loved what I have read so far!

  15. LOL Susan. Yep, hearing those characters talk inside your head is a bit … unsettling. But as a writer, it’s when they don’t talk that I get scared. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Tanya, it is great to hear from a true fan! Glad we got to meet in Anaheim. I was worrying about a book during that conference. It WASN’T writing itself, let me tell you. 🙂

    I love that books now let characters be all ages. I know from experience that love in the forties is ALL RIGHT!! 🙂

    Thanks for having me here

  17. Hi Britney!! Thank you so much for your kind words. You be sure and let me know how after you read the Beartooth series!!

    I think everyone who commented here today should be a bookmark, don’t you?

  18. Melanie, I couldn’t do justice to the beautiful country where this book takes place. It really is incredible. Scary too tho because it is so wild and so FAR from civilization!!
    Thanks for stopping by,

  19. Sherry, thanks so much.

    Mary, you definitely have to have one of these bookmarks for yourself. I think I can make that happen!!

    Thanks Anne and Ellie! Hope you enjoy the book.

    Linda, it is great to be here. I live in Montana and I forget about the time difference. Plus I’ve been down with the flu so I’m moving REALLY slow today!

  20. Diane, so glad you enjoyed the post!!

    Cate, I was over the moon being compared to Longmire!! What fun!

    Pearl, I’m delighted you are enjoying my books. I love writing about Beartooth and the people. Of course, I’m madly in love with Sheriff Frank Curry.

    Crystal and Amy, the bookmarks were the brainchild of an editor at Harlequin Intrigue and let me tell you, they were a huge hit at RWA in Atlanta this year. They were a surprise since I didn’t know Harlequin was sending so many to the Goody Room!!

  21. Catslady, I know what you mean. I have a stack of books beside my bed that re going to fall one day and kill me. 🙂

    Heidi, as I mentioned above I think you all need a bookmark. We’ll have to see what we can do about that!

    Colleen, I’m delighted that you’re enjoying my books. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to hear that something I make up resonates with a reader! 🙂 Don’t tell anyone, but I really have no idea what I’m doing. 🙂

  22. Ladies, thank you so much for having me here today. It is an honor.

    Now what do you say we give everyone a bookmark? Let me know how many you need there at Petticoats and Pistols.

    Everyone else who commented today, if you just email me at and mention you commented on my blog at Petticoats and Pistols I will be happy to send you a bookmark as long as they last!!

  23. One stack of books beside my bed is all B.J. Daniels. I love the mysteries and the Montana settings.

  24. Hi Hilltop Farm Wife!! I honored to be stacked beside your bed!!
    Thanks so much for stopping by. I feel so fortune that I get to share Montana with my readers.

  25. This sounds very good but I will have to get the first two books. I have read the Caldwell Ranch series and have pre-ordered Christmas at Caldwell Ranch. I really loke these books.

  26. FORSAKEN was awesome! AND… for those who have never read the other books in this series, it can be enjoyed by itself.

  27. I fell in love with Montana when I took a vacation and spent some time there a few years ago. I look forward to going back someday but until then I’ll just have to read books set in the state. 🙂 Would love to win a copy of FORSAKEN and the cute bookmark that Mary C. says is a must have!

    Thank you,
    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  28. Cindy, I’m so glad you got to come to Montana. It is on the bucket list of a lot of people. I love living here.

    Hope you get a chance to read FORSAKEN. It is like a cheap trip to Montana since the state is always a character in my books. 🙂

    email me your snail mail address to and I’ll see about getting you a bookmark

  29. Love the bookmark. Love your books even more, B. J. I have read most of your Harlequin Intrigues. I’m afraid I’m a little bit behind. My TBR Mountain is way too high. I just found 4 more while digging through the pile a week or so ago.
    As I mentioned on another blog, I read your books before and after a trip to Montana this past summer. It was obvious you had personal knowledge of the settings and a love of the area. Montana is a special place with many interesting places to experience.
    I like your using an older couple for your hero and heroine. Maturity, experience, a different perspective, and different expectations all open the door for some good story lines. I hope to see a few more in the future.
    Keep writing those enjoyable suspenses. You are one of 3 Intrigue authors I never miss. I look forward to many more stories from you.

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