Regan Walker here... My guest today is MK McClintock, author of Western and Victorian historical romances.
MK is here to answer all my questions and to tell us about her new release, Clayton’s Honor, her eighth book and the third in her British Agent series about swashbuckling heroes, courageous heroines, buried secrets and second chances. Alaina Claiborne, book one in the series, won the 2015 Readers’ Favorite International Silver Medal Book Award. Blackwood Crossing, the second in her British Agent series was a 2015 RONE Award nominee along with her short story collection, A Home for Christmas. Her popular Gallagher Series Trilogy has won the Crowned Heart for Excellence from InD’tale Magazine. MK lives and writes in Montana.
First the interview...
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
The Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. Andrews plays Percy who’s perceived as moronic and flamboyant, which of course is not the real “Percy.” There’s a scene in the movie where Andrews is dramatically transformed from a fancy lord to a rugged (and handsome) man of the world who saves a child. No matter how many times I see the movie, I wait with anticipation for that one moment of transformation. I love when characters are more than we originally believed.
Be honest, when reading...do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
All the time! Characters are often more important to me than the story. When there’s a strong heroine who’s a great match for the hero, then it’s easy to fall into that fantasy. When the story has some action and adventure, it’s even easier to slip into that role because I find myself thinking, “Okay, what would I do in this situation?” I’ll go so far as to picture myself riding the horse, wielding the dagger, or sitting down to dinner with the handsome hero. When all of this happens, the author has done a great job with the characters.
If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?
1880s Scotland or Montana. I love the Victorian era because there were enough modern advancements to suit me, but not so many that it was overwhelming. Times weren’t easy (far from it), but they were simpler in a way we can’t always understand. Every little thing meant more because it took so much more effort to achieve a goal.
Scotland because I love the Highlands. Okay, that’s an understatement. The first time I stepped foot on Scotland’s soil, I felt like I’d come home. Montana because I would have liked to see this magnificent land before . . . well, before what it is today. It’s still magnificent, but I believe it’s lost something that we’ll never get back. This is why I also love to write in the 1800s.
Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
I did in the beginning, and I’ll admit that I took each one to heart, but after book three I stopped worrying about it so much. It’s impossible to please everyone, and so long as I feel I wrote the write story in the best way I could, then I’m happy. These days, I don’t go online looking for reviews. Readers are often kind enough to send me an email when they’ve reviewed one of my books, so I’ll read those.
What three things are, at this moment, in your heroine’s purse, satchel, reticule, weapons belt or amulet bag?
Silver dagger, pendant, and a few coins.
What is your hero’s “kryptonite” – in other words, what will bring him instantly to his knees?
The love of his woman. Of course a blow to the legs would likely fell him, but mostly love. This is true of most of my heroines. They’re all strong, capable men who could live their lives quite happily without marriage, but when they meet that one right woman, they’re lives are never the same—even when they try to fight it.
What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?
A Small Death in the Great Glen by A.D. Scott (currently reading)
Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne
A Mountain Man’s Redemption by Christi Corbett
To Tame the Wind by Regan Walker
Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff
So now, MK has a question for all of you:
What is your favorite time period and setting for a book?
One lucky commenter will win: a copy of Clayton’s Honor (winner can choose e-book or paperback; print is limited to US shipping).
On the wind swept shores of Ireland, a British Agent must leave behind duty to country for the sake of his honor
Anne Doyle lost her father to a foolish war and her mother to madness. Left with debt and an ancient family home, she struggles to keep the rest of her family together even as an enemy attempts to take them away. After witnessing a brutal murder, Anne must enlist aid from the only family she has left if she is to save those she loves.
Devon Clayton had no intentions of leaving behind his life of adventure and danger, but when he is charged with protecting a witness and her family, he must choose between duty to the country he serves and a woman who tests his honor and willingness to change.
Together they will discover that nothing is what it seems and that without honor, love and life are for nothing.
"A mystery entwined with an ongoing hopeful romance between Devon and Anne, Clayton's Honor is utterly enticing and captivating!" —InD'tale Magazine
Excerpt from Chapter One…
County Wexford, Ireland—February 4, 1892
Could they hear her? If she moved deeper into the shadows, could she sneak away? If she loosened the grip on her lungs and took the deep breath she desperately needed, would they find her? The heady stench of copper filled the air of the great hall, the dank stone walls doing little to block the scent of death. The carpets beneath her slippered feet masked her first step. Back one, and then two. She ducked behind a heavy tapestry, one of the few left in the old castle.
Masked under a cloak of clouds and desperation, she escaped out the servants’ entrance, confident that the cook and single housemaid would not see her. Wet slush and rain combined to make her retreat difficult. She could not risk discovery by hailing someone and beseeching them for a ride. Her own two feet must carry her the miles to Brannon Cottage.
The noise of the carriage wheels competed with that of the storm, but she did not mistake the sound of the small rocks as they ground and rolled over one another. She hurried behind a nearby copse of blackthorn and waited. Lights from the carriage lanterns broke through the darkness as the conveyance approached. The man in the driver’s seat sang “She Is Far from the Land” faintly heard through the wind. After he passed, Anne set one foot in front of the other and paused. Her fear overpowered her desire for warmth. She could do this. It was only four miles.
One worn slipper almost fell from her foot when she stepped in a small slush of wet snow. Colder now, she pressed forward. One mile. Two miles. Three. She must reach him before they realized she was gone. Anne flailed and her body lurched to the ground. Her arm scraped over a sharp stone that sliced through her cloak. The faint clatter of bottles in her satchel managed to reach her ears over the harsh howl of the winds.
Anne rose to all fours and then stopped and knelt on the sodden road, choking back a trail of tears as they coursed down her already wet skin. She tucked soaked locks of her long hair beneath her wet bonnet. Drawing on pure need, Anne pushed up from the ground and continued down the dirt road. She did not know the Brannons well. They visited Ireland once or twice a year, and yet the only person on this earth she could hope to trust was currently on holiday and using the Brannons’ cottage. Ten years had passed since she’d last seen him.
The tidy two-story stone structure appeared as though from the fog. Soft, white flakes fell in time with her heavy breaths but lasted only the time it took for her to reach the front door.