"Beautiful" - The Healer of Briarwood by MK McClintock - Interview
"MK McClintock has woven every emotion possible into a series of books called the Montana Gallaghers. I read many books and this is honestly the best series I have ever read."
—Reader on the Montana Gallagher series
The Healer of Briarwood
A man with a healer’s touch. A woman with a healer’s heart.
Doctor Finnegan Brody tends his patients, keeps to himself, and vividly remembers the heartaches and trials from the Civil War and why he devoted his life to healing. He watches the townspeople live their lives, loving and laboring alongside one another, and wonders if one day he will give a woman as much time and dedication as he gives the people of Briarwood.
Katharine Kiely has a deep-rooted stubbornness to never give up, even if it means leaving behind her comfortable life by the sea to protect her father’s health and help expand his empire. When she finally arrives in Briarwood to convince the Gallaghers a spur line should cross their land, nothing goes as she expected.
Finn, with his knowledge of healing the people, and Katharine, who learns how to heal with her heart, join together as the townsfolk of Briarwood face challenges and choices that could alter their way of life forever.
Welcome to Briarwood and Hawk’s Peak, where friendship, love, and hope conquer overwhelming odds.
In the author's words . . .
Q&A with MK McClintock
What inspired the setting for the Gallagher ranch?
Hawk's Peak, the Gallagher family ranch and home, captures how I imagine the old ranches of that time would look with the vast expanse of land, big skies, open ranges, wild horses, and cattle drives. I love Montana, and the years I have spent here have been some of the best of my life. I moved here because I had a dream of living in a place that embodied what the real west would have been like before becoming overpopulated and overgrown.
What was the hardest scene to write in The Healer of Briarwood?
There was one difficult scene, and then a general theme throughout that was hard for me to get through. First, was all of chapter one. It was important to find a balance between showing, or hinting at, what happened to the character, without saying it. The scene is ultimately about Doc Brody, but I did not want to minimize the importance of his patient’s suffering.
The theme I mentioned is that of progress, and I had to stop many times to keep my own rhetoric from overpowering the story. The Gallagher family, and the people of Briarwood, have fought of all kinds of progress for many years, but Katharine’s arrival has forced them to accept that progress cannot be held back forever, though they do a rather good job of it. It was difficult for me because I am much like the Gallaghers when it comes to growth and change. I first moved to Montana 20+ years ago, and it was a different place than it is now. You will still find millions of acres of unpopulated and unspoiled beauty, but progress has left its mark, and not always in a good way. Like the Gallaghers, I yearn to preserve the land and quality of life. By the end of the story, they find a balance that protects what they love while making life a little bit easier for the people.
What is the significance of the title, The Healer of Briarwood?
The healer is Doctor Finnegan Brody of Briarwood, so the title is literal. However, the title also speaks to a broader theme of healing and hope throughout the book. There is certainly a lot of physical care, but there is also healing of the soul and spirit, as the reader will discover.
Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share?
If I share, then they won’t be secrets! :) I am one of those authors—and readers—who worries a great deal about sharing spoilers and ruining the experience for others, which is why I always have a difficult time selecting excerpts to share.
What was the inspiration for the story?
Doc Brody himself was the inspiration. I knew I wanted to give him his own story, which of course meant the book would be about healing, and his importance to the people of Briarwood. In the previous Gallagher books, he was always a man of good humor with a practical nature, but the readers never got to know much about him. In The Healer of Briarwood, we learn why he became a doctor, and what drives him to help others.
The trickier part was figuring out how to shake his life up a bit. He probably would have gone about his business as the good-natured “Doc” for the rest of his life had Katharine not come along. She brought with her both memories of the past and questions about the future, neither of which he could ignore. I had all the inspiration necessary while exploring those questions against the backdrop of Montana’s majestic mountains and the Hawk’s Peak ranch.
What is the future for the characters of The Healer of Briarwood?
Wonderful futures await! There will be challenges, of course, for what is life without the demands and uncertainties that build character and push us to achieve. Brody and Katharine both play semi-significant roles in the next Gallagher book, which happens to be about one of Brody’s patients introduced in this book. The Gallagher family, and the people of Briarwood, are honorable and courageous, and fight daily to make sure there is a good future for those who will come next. I will do my part to ensure those futures are bright.
How do you select the names of your characters?
For most of the characters, especially secondary, I spend time looking through baby name lists, pioneer name lists, random generators, etc. When I come across a name that might work, I either write it down to save for another book, or I will play out a scene to see if it suits a specific character in the current manuscript.
Main characters’ names are selected from one of a few different processes. Sometimes I will use the search method mentioned above, but most times I either have a name in mind, pick one from my ancestors, or the name just happens. For instance, Katharine Kiely, the heroine in The Healer of Briarwood, is named after a real person. A contest winner chose her mother’s name for the honor of being named after a character. It was fortuitous because no other name I had chosen before Katharine felt right.
As for the three Gallagher siblings . . . Ethan shares a name with an old friend, Gabriel is a name that has stuck with me for a long time and one I always liked, and Eliza is a name from my family tree. In fact, Eliza Jane McClintock is her full name, and it is her surname I use in my pen name.
Are you working on anything at present? Do you have any new series planned?
Yes, to both. I am currently at work on a novel set in 1899 Colorado. It is a delightful historical western romantic cozy mystery (yeah, it's a mouthful) that has been so much fun in terms of both research and writing, and it has refreshed my childhood memories of the area. It is part of a series (no idea on how many books there will be) created by author Samantha St. Claire.
For the current writing year, I will also be working on a novel in my Crooked Creek series, and another Gallagher book. Beyond that, I more books and two new series planned, but I am keeping those under wraps for now.
Readers can always see what I am working on next and sign up for new release notifications at www.mkmcclintock.com.
"MK, you did it again! Through this series we have loved Doc Brody. We knew how caring and special he was and that he would need an extraordinary woman as his match. You created this woman with spirit, compassion, intelligence, kindness and a heart that was rekindled by an old flame. I loved Katharine and Brody's story! Thank you for including all our beloved characters. You weave drama, adventure, mystery, hope and so much love into every book." —M.L. Sullivan
Meet the Author
Award-winning author MK McClintock writes historical romantic fiction about chivalrous men and strong women who appreciate chivalry. Her stories of adventure, romance, and mystery sweep across the American West to the Victorian British Isles, with places and times between and beyond. With her heart deeply rooted in the past, she enjoys a quiet life in the northern Rocky Mountains.
MK invites you to join her on her writing journey at www.mkmcclintock.com, where you can read the blog, explore reader extras, and sign up to receive new release updates.
The Healer of Briarwood by MK McClintock
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Release Date: December 15, 2020
Series: Montana Gallaghers, Book 7
Content Rating: 2 Hearts
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The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on January 29, 2021. You must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is sponsored by the author and hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
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