Do Some Books Really Write Themselves?
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.
The 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.
So 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.
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!! )