Click on the image to visit the Meet & Greet with MK at VBT Cafe.
M.K. McClintock is here until Friday to chat about her new release Gallagher's Pride, a western romance set in the beautiful mountains of Montana. There's a giveaway; details below.
McClintock was born on the west coast, but after less than eight years she left with her family to the Rocky Mountains. After more adventures around the country, business college and culinary school, McClintock found a place to call home in Montana.
"I've always loved books and spent more hours reading through school than any other activity. I wrote stories when I was younger and even tried my hand at a novel. It wasn't very good and I shelved the idea for years."
She pulled the ideas off the shelf and began working on her first novel, Gallagher's Pride, the first in an historical series about a ranching family in Montana.
Over the years McClintock traveled the country and visited magnificent Scotland. She dreams of a time when life was simpler, the land rougher and the journey more rewarding. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, McClintock still calls Montana home. McClintock is also the author of Alaina Claiborne, the first of her British Agent novels. She is currently at work on her next book.
Louise: MK, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
MK: Thank you for having me Louise! Why did I take that big step? Well, it was two parts for me. First, I just wanted to take the step for myself. I had the book, it was ready and I wanted it out there. I’m not always known for my patience and so waiting for a ‘big break’ from a publishing company just isn’t in my character. I had met with agents and editors and I just didn’t feel comfortable putting everything into their hands, at least for now. I also think my family was tired of me talking about it and so they not-so-subtly encouraged me to publish sooner rather than later.
Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release Gallagher's Pride without giving too much of a spoiler away.
MK: One would think with this being my book, coming up with a non-spoiler bit about it would be easy, but it’s really not so I usually revert to what’s on the back cover. Set in late 19th century Scotland and Montana Territory, basically Brenna Cameron has a family secret or mystery to unravel and travels to Montana because that’s where the clues led her. Ethan Gallagher and his family are cattle ranchers in a small town called Briarwood and this is where they have their meet-cute. The romance is there, but so is the adventure and humor and honestly anything else would give away moments in the book that are better left for the reader to discover.
Brenna Cameron travels from Scotland after losing someone she loves in search of family she didn't know existed. Alone now in the world, Brenna makes an arduous journey, following the trail of discovery to Briarwood, Montana. Here she meets Ethan Gallagher, and the rest of the Gallagher clan. Only with their help is she able to discover lost family, heal old wounds and embark on a treacherous confrontation with a man who destroyed her family. As head of the Gallagher clan, Ethan has more than enough to occupy his thoughts and time-he didn't need the complication of Brenna Cameron and he certainly didn't need the trouble that came with her. Ethan takes on the unwanted duty of self-appointed protector to the headstrong Scot, only to discover there is such a thing as second chances and more to life than revenge.
Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
MK: A little of both. In Gallagher’s Pride, Brenna and Ethan (our main characters) just happened. I didn’t plan them out and in fact changed their names about a third of the way through writing, but the others were planned as far as initial names and ideas (I love coming up with character names). Most of the time I conduct character interviews and summaries to give me a little insight into their individual personalities. The characters tend to develop on their own as the story progresses. I’ve found it much more enjoyable and natural to do that rather than trying to control everything they do.
Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
MK: I do a bit of research, but very little actual history is in the story. I’m writing fiction and so I take advantage of that and grant myself some leeway, but I do try to make sure my timelines and events are historically accurate. Once in a while I veer from specific timelines, some of which I listed on a post at one of my other blog tour stops. For instance, September 2, 1883 marked the last stagecoach run in Montana, but I took some liberties with that in having the stagecoach run through October of 1883. Since the railroad would not have realistically come through the area where Briarwood was set, I needed a form of public transportation and extending the stage run for this purpose was doable.
Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?
MK: I don’t have a set process. I do what comes to me and sometimes my characters require a bit more planning, other times I just have to let them surprise me. As mentioned, I do character interviews and character summaries. I also always write the back cover blurb of the book before I begin writing. It may seem out of order, but for me, that summary really drives the writing. It’s broad enough so I know where I want the story to go and detailed enough so I know what I can and can’t do with the story. Once I have an idea of the characters and that back cover blurb written, I just let the story come. It’s an odd process, but it works for me.
Louise: I think all of us find the right process that works. I jot down my idea and characters, then the story just flows from there. Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?
MK: I don’t…yet! I’m always doing so many things that I find it difficult to imagine only writing, but since answering that question a few times now, I like the idea of writing full-time. Right now I have a business that takes up a good deal of my time and have had it since I finished college, but I work from home so it does make it easier to fit the writing in. I’m also a photographer and baker, so life is busy, which in the grand scheme is a good thing. I would bore too easily otherwise.
Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.
MK: Well, believe it or not I write without help of caffeine. Too much natural energy I suppose. I do prefer to write at my desktop in my office. It’s my work space, but I also have it set up for writing, with my books and research material all around. Flowers on the desk, a wall with my book covers (present and future), so it’s a good space. Sometimes I’ll sit at my bedroom desk with the laptop so I can look out over the lake. I always have my eco-cup filled with ice water and something to nibble on like carrots or grapes (and of course there’s always a chocolate stash nearby). I like my area to be cooler when I write, so no blanket for me and I sit right on the edge of my chair-don’t like to relax back into it. I do always wear my slippers-can’t seem to write without those on. Yeah, I’m a little quirky.
Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.
MK: When I do have the chance to devote an entire day to writing, which is rare, I just sit down and write (after my quirks are taken care of). I often lose track of time and so sometimes I’ll have to set a timer so I can be sure to get up and stretch. Really though, it’s just about the writing. I ignore everyone and everything else around me when I’m brain-deep into the story. In fact, people pretty much know to just stay clear of my on devoted writing days because apparently (just a rumor) I’m not all that pleasant when I’m interrupted.
Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?
MK: Lots of good stuff! Gallagher’s Hope, the second book of the Gallagher series will be the next book to come out. I put a very early preview of the cover on my blog. I have five books total planned for the Gallagher series. I’m also working on a British Agent trilogy, the first of which is out. Then I have one more trilogy and single title books planned…basically the next five years, but the Gallaghers are definitely getting the focus of my writing time.
Louise: So you're dabbling in suspense as well. What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?
MK: I love historical romance and my top favorite author is Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I wish I could say historical western romance, but there just aren’t that many authors in this genre I’ve had the chance to read. The few western romances Johanna Lindsey has written would probably be my favorite in that genre. Also at the top of my favorites list are Edward Rutherford, Larry McMurtry and Louis L’Amour. Otherwise, I just love books so I read a wide variety in both fiction and non-fiction.
Louise: Kathleen Woodiwiss is my first romance author to read when I was sixteen! Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?
MK: I love writing. In fact, until that first book was published, I didn’t realize just how much I loved it. I’m grateful to all the wonderful readers out there who are reading my books – without them we authors don’t serve much of a purpose.
Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?
MK: I constantly keep my blog updated with not only the latest about my own books, but also a variety of guests and posts on writing, so always a lot going on there, including giveaways. The website is my official place in cyberspace, so that is also updated with the latest on my books, book summaries, etc.
Amazon: Gallagher's Pride in PrintTwitter
Giveaway! I'll give a copy in eBook format to one lucky commenter! Please leave your email address in your comment so we can easily contact the winner. Drawing will be held Saturday, March 31. Good Luck!
Louise: MK, thank you again for visiting! Readers below is an excerpt of Gallagher's Pride. Enjoy!
He was tired of waiting. Six days now he’d been camped out here and had nearly been caught by one of the Hawk’s Peak hands. He would’ve given up and ridden back to the ranch if he didn’t think his boss would take a whip to him. Why he was elected as watch when his boss found out the pair left the ranch was beyond him. He waited and waited until finally he saw two riders coming through the trees west of his hiding spot. He mounted his horse and rode just a little closer. The rider waited until he was sure it was the Scot who rode in with Gallagher. Once satisfied, he raced his mount up and over the crest and rode hard back to the ranch.
His boss was waiting for him on his front porch smoking a clean cheroot.
“Did you see them?”
“Oh yes, they just rode in, both of them.”
“From which direction?”
“The only place north of here is Bright River.”
“Yes sir, unless you go way north and that would’ve taken them a whole lot longer.”
“Well done Bradford,” the older man said tossing the man a small pouch. The gold jingled bringing a smile to the rider’s lips. Those cold nights hadn’t been a waste after all.
“Why don’t you go and find one of the girls. Have a good night, you’ve earned it.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Oh Bradford, just be ready to ride out again.”
The rider nodded and headed to the bunk house. His thoughts turned to the pretty Scot staying over at the Gallagher’s spread. He licked his lips thinking how much fun she was going to be. He pulled the skinny pale girl with the red stringy hair out of her bunk and dragged her to his own. She was a poor substitute, but she’d have to do until he could get on top of Gallagher’s whore.