Interview with MK McClintock

Today I am excited to have author MK McClintock visiting my blog! Please join us as we chat about her Gallagher Series, British Agent Series and the world of writing:)

Welcome MK! Let's get started...

KL: Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not, what drew you to the world of storytelling?
MK: Actually I didn’t always want to be a writer, but I always enjoyed writing. Growing up, I spent more time reading and learning my way around a kitchen than writing. I started out writing short stories and I was the one in class who wrote extra papers just so I could do the research. My writing actually began with poetry – over the years I’ve written hundreds of poems. Right after high school, I began to toy with the idea of writing my own books, but it wasn’t until years later when I took it seriously and realized how much I enjoyed it. What drew me in was imagination – I’ve always had an active one and I need the creative outlets. 

KL:  Let's talk about your work starting with Gallagher's Pride, the first novel in your Gallagher Series. Tell us a little bit about how you came about the idea for this novel.
MK: First– I wanted a western. Second – I wanted it set in Montana. Third – I wanted Scotland to somehow make an appearance. I also knew that I wanted a story that I could continue on. I didn’t want the story to be wrapped up prettily (even though a lot of readers like some kind of finality), but it was either write a 1,000 page book or create the series as I have – I like this way better. The exact idea? I honestly couldn’t pinpoint the how – I put the elements together, had some character interviews, wrote the back cover and the story unfolded.

KL: Gallagher's Hope is the next installment in your Gallagher Series. Can you tell us a little bit about what's in store for us with this new book?
MK: Gallagher’s Hope features Gabriel, the second brother and a woman from New Orleans, Isabelle Rousseau. They have their own love story, but it’s not an instant and easy romance. There’s more adventure and a continuing of the main conflict from the first book – will it conclude? Well, you’ll have to wait and see. One thing about this series is that even though the focus is on the two main characters featured in that book, the secondary characters still have semi-prominent roles and you continue to have that in the second book. I really can’t tell you more than that without giving anything away. 

KL: You also have another novel that takes place in 19th century England, Alaina Claiborne (British Agent Series). Can you tell us a little bit about this novel and what readers can expect to see from you in this series?
MK: Of course! Alaina Claiborne is as you said, set in 19th century England, though I’ll tell you right now that it’s not meant to be a history lesson. It’s a romance/adventure/murder mystery. You start out meeting Alaina in the beginning – a young girl from a loving family who faces terrible tragedy. She’s then a young woman who meets our first British Agent, Tristan, and together they seek to uncover the people responsible for tragedies in both of their lives. They do a bit of traveling in this one – from England to Ireland to the States and back again. 
I have to more British Agent novels planned, though technically you could read each one as a single title. The other two agents, who are close friends of Tristan’s, are in the first book. I enjoyed both so much that I wanted to give them their own stories.

KL: What is your process for creating characters? Do you carefully plan each character's traits before the writing process begins? Or do you find that their personalities sort of develop on their own as you write the story?
MK: Both actually. I always start with the name. Even if the name might change as I progress (as has happened before), I begin with the name – first and surname. Then we have the character analysis where I break down their appearance and surface traits, where they are from, etc. I then conduct character interviews with each one to learn their personalities. Once their basic foundation is set, I let the characters come alive on their own. Sometimes their personalities develop beyond what I originally planned, so it’s a fun process. 

KL: Out of all the characters you've created in your novels, do you have any particular favorites? If so, what is it about that/those character(s) that make them so special to you?
MK: I’ve gone back and forth lately between favorites. When I first wrote Gallagher’s Pride it was Brenna, then Ethan, then Gabriel took the favorite spot as I began to write more of his character. Then they all lost out to Eliza. If I had to pick just one it would be Gabriel – he’s a charming and likeable cowboy and he makes me smile. We haven’t seen all of his flaws yet though. Eliza is special to me because I wrote a bit of myself into her character – I won’t say which parts though!  

KL: In your novels, we are transported from our modern day society to a world of simpler times. What inspires you the most to write about that era?
MK: Most likely because I dream of a simpler time and I could easily imagine living during that time in history – perhaps even further back. I suppose I chose the 19th century specifically because it fit with what I wanted for the stories, but also because it’s a time in history I would have enjoyed being a part of – especially in the west. So many changes were taking place and yet they weren’t yet weighed down by everything that comes with existing in our modern world. I know it was a difficult time in which to live and not as glamorous as books sometimes make it out to be, but I believe I would have enjoyed it. When writing my books, I get to live that dream.

KL: What kind of preparations and research did you do to ensure that your book stayed true to the time period?
MK: It took a bit of research just so that I could be sure I wasn’t making obvious historical faux pas. I did take some liberties, seeing as how it’s fiction, but nothing that would be too noticeable (unless you’re perhaps a history major for that period). At times my language may have seemed antiquated to some readers, but since I often use antiquated speech myself, I went with what felt comfortable. When writing these books, I chose to add history to the story, not add a story into history. 

KL:  As an author with multiple novels published, what would be a good piece of advice that you could share with other authors who are trying to make their way into the writing world?
MK: It’s not easy! Now that’s not encouraging is it? First I’d tell them to write and keep on writing. A writer must write books in order to sell, they must write books in order to improve. Just don’t stop writing – even if it’s a few moments a day or if you have to keep a journal handle to jot down notes – keep writing. 
The other bit of advice I would give is to start marketing your book before you publish. Begin months before if possible. Create a book trailer, get the cover ready to give reader’s a teaser and setup a virtual book tour.
The most important bit of advice I could give? Don’t let the marketing, the reviews, or the politics of writing interfere with your creative voice. 

KL: And now it's time for a "Just for Fun" question:) Being a person who has traveled and lived all over the country, you must have been and seen a lot of wonderful places. If you had to pick anywhere in the world to live - and live there for the rest of your life, never leaving that area - where would it be and why?
MK: Well, I’d want to live exactly where I’m at now – Montana. I love it here and it wasn’t until after I’d seen so much of the country that I realized no other place would be right for me-this is home. My second choice would be Scotland – I love the Highlands, the people, the landscape, the beauty, the energy – all of it. It’s a magnificent place and I could see myself there; exploring the land and islands, castles and ruins, graveyards and gardens. There is so much to see and do there, not to mention the Highlands would be as equally inspiring for an author as the mountains of Montana. In some ways Scotland still has a simplicity and wildness about her which greatly appeals to me.

Please enjoy this excerpt from "Gallagher's Pride":

Brenna couldn’t decide which would be a better death for Ethan Gallagher. A knife wound through his black heart or a bullet through his calculating and twisted mind. Oh, she really didn’t want him dead, but at the moment if he came close she didn’t think her heart would break. Then again, if she stopped lying to herself, Brenna would realize that she didn’t want him injured at all. She just wanted him writhing in agony and preferably by her hand. Why the despicable man thought she would enjoy two hours of breakneck speed on the back of her horse, she couldn’t fathom. Not only had he barked at her when she was one minute later than the ten he had allotted, he practically threw her onto the saddle, tied her satchel to the back of her mare, got on the back of his own horse and left the town and the pack horse behind. 
     Once outside of Bright River, Ethan spurred his stallion forward and the race began. It hadn’t stopped until they reached a small creek bed almost two hours later.
     The animals had shown amazing endurance but desperately needed a rest. Brenna only wished that she could have shown the same. She dismounted and grabbed hold of the saddle for support. She wasn’t about to let Ethan see the condition she was in. The hateful man probably wouldn’t even notice. Brenna avoided looking at him as she unhooked her bag and walked slowly to the creek. 
     Ethan wanted to swear, a lot, and at no one but himself. He unsaddled the horses, grateful that they had been bred and trained for stamina, but wishing that he hadn’t put them through that. Ethan brushed them both down with a rag he wetted with cool water from the creek and set them to grazing for the evening. 
       It was entirely his fault that he was in his present condition. He was angry with himself for being unable to control his feelings towards Brenna and was taking it out on her and the horses. Ethan honestly couldn’t decide which of the two he was sorrier for. 
       They should have turned back for the ranch. He doubted that they would find anything at Desperate Creek. Hell, there was a good reason the settlement had been named that. What little he had seen, painted a dirty picture consisting of some ramshackle farm houses, a few planted fields, and some out-buildings. Ethan remembered Elizabeth Hunter well and she was as fine a lady as his own mother. He couldn’t imagine her throwing her life away to such dire circumstances even to get away from Nathan Hunter. Then again, he knew Nathan Hunter. 
        His thoughts turned back to Brenna. She had endured better than he thought she would have. He really should have known. She had survived the death of two parents, a ship crossing, train rides, and stage coach rides. She came to a place where she didn’t know a soul save for a grandfather who scorned her, humiliated her, and thrust her away. She had stayed with perfect strangers, though she seemed to trust his family as they trusted her, even after so short a time. She then took to the trail with him in search of a grandmother she didn’t know existed until a few days ago and through it all she was managing to ignore him. 
      Ethan smiled. Oh he had seen the fire in her eyes on numerous occasions and wondered what would happen if that spark ignited. He thought he’d like to see her lose her control. He kept to the fire until he realized that she’d been down by the water too long. Ethan listened but didn’t hear a thing coming from the creek. A tremor of fear coursed through him. He had mocked her when she saw the little black bear, but he should have stopped in his laughing long enough to warn her that dangers really did exist out here, including bears. 
Ethan raced down to the water and stopped cold. Lying down on a bed of autumn grass with her torso leaning against a large flat rock, Brenna slept.

MK is giving away one paperback copy of her "Gallagher's Pride" novel to one lucky person who comments on this post! This giveaway is limited to US only.

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MK would also like to let you know that she will be doing a FREE promotion for "Gallagher's Pride" on May 4th and 5th! Check it out:)


Kimberly Lewis said…
MK thank you so much for joining me today! It was a real pleasure having you visit!
MK said…
And thank you for having me today Kimberly! It was a fun interview to do and to read again.
llewis71 said…
Thank you Kimberly and Ms. McClintock for a very interesting and informational interview. I can agree with Ms. McClintock about the west. I know times were hard in that era but I too would like to go back in time. I love stories about the west and of course the cowboys. It's nice to have authors who feel the same way and give us great stories to read. I can't wait to see what the two of you are writing next. Again thank you both. You are both doing a great job.