Author Interview: Amy Barry – Amy’s newest newest novel, Kit McBride Gets a Wife is out now! If you’re in the mood for a western contemporary romance with a memorable cast of characters, this is for you! This post may contain links to purchase books & you can read our affiliate disclosure here.
Amy Barry writes sweeping historical stories about love. She’s fascinated with the landscapes of the American West and their complex long history, and she’s even more fascinated with people in all their weird tangled glory. Amy also writes under the names Amy T Matthews and Tess LeSue, and is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Flinders University in Australia.
The four McBride brothers have their worlds turned upside down when their precocious younger sister secretly places an advertisement for a mail-order bride.
Kit McBride knows that Buck’s Creek, Montana, is no place to find a wife. Between him and his three brothers—plus little Junebug—they manage all right on their own, thank you very much. But unbeknownst to Kit, his sister is sick to death of cleaning, cooking, and mending for her big brothers, so she places an ad in The Matrimonial News to get them hitched.
After Maddy Mooney emigrated from Ireland, she found employment with an eccentric but poor widow. When her mistress decides to answer an ad for a mail-order bride, Maddy is dragged along for the ride to Montana. But en route to the West, Maddy is suddenly abandoned and left to assume the widow’s name, position, and matrimonial prospects….
With no other recourse in the wilderness, Maddy must convince Kit she’s the wife he never knew he needed.
Author Interview: Amy Barry
Amy, I’m so excited to talk to you today about Kit McBride Gets a Wife, out August 23rd, 2022. Thank you for joining me for this Q & A.
Are you kidding, you couldn’t keep me away! I love your blog! In fact, it’s winter down under in Oz and I just went down the rabbit hole of your “Best Cold Weather Cocktails”. Hot apple cider with rum for the win.
Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind Kit McBride Gets a Wife?
This book comes out of all my favorite things: old technicolor musicals, Anne of Green Gables, the glorious joy of being out in nature, and of course good old fashioned romance. The book is about the McBrides – four hulking brothers and their irrepressible and verbose little sister. The McBrides live high in the Elkhorn Mountains of Montana, in the remote town of Buck’s Creek (population: McBrides). Junebug McBride is sick of being the only girl and of being saddled with all the ‘women’s work’, so she gets it into her head to order up a mail order bride. It’s a fun romp of a rom com, one that also hopefully makes you feel like you’ve been living in another world for a while.
I would love to hear more about Kit, Junebug McBride & Maddy Mooney.
Kit McBride is the second oldest McBride, he’s a blacksmith with a penchant for reading, and he keeps a secret stash of books (some of them might be romances…) in a chest in his forge. He’s the strong, silent type, the calmest and dreamiest of all the McBrides. He thinks his little sister Junebug is as lazy as a housecat and full of damn fool schemes – but even he has no idea what she’s up to until a bride arrives on his doorstep. His bride. Kit doesn’t want her, but since when has Kit’s stubbornness ever stopped Junebug? She’s not even put off by the fact this bride isn’t quite the one she ordered… Maddy Mooney is a maid, abandoned by her mistress in the middle of nowhere, without a cent to her name. Her flighty mistress was the bride Junebug ordered – but she’s run off to greener pastures. Unwittingly, Maddy gets tangled up in Junebug’s schemes, but she’s feistier than Junebug was expecting, and nothing quite goes to plan – not for any of them.
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Do you have any favorite scenes in Kit McBride Gets a Wife?
Anything with Junebug in it! That kid just runs away with every scene she’s in – I love her to bits. I love her obsession with the dictionary and new words, and the way every speech she makes ends up tangled up and nonsensical; I love how fiery she is, and how she runs rings around her brothers. But I also love the scenes between Kit and Maddy – how he falls for her before he even knows who she is, and how he fights it, just because he doesn’t want to give Junebug the satisfaction. The chemistry between all the characters makes you want to move in with them and have Buck’s Creek be your second home. At least it does that to me.
Author Interview: Amy Barry – Let’s Chat About Writing
I would love to know if you’re a plotter or a pantser. What seems to work best when you’re working on a new manuscript?
Ha. I wish I knew! I seem to be a bit of both. I do a lot of character work before I start, and I always know the conflict. I work hard on developing the inner conflict of each character, but then I let them just go. I sit down and see what they do, and usually the dialogue is what kicks things along for me. I never know what they’ll say or do. But having said that, I have an instinctive feel for the structural rhythm of a book – I figure when the pace feels slow or boring to me, it will feel that way for the reader, so I try and keep the pace up. Sometimes I get stuck, and usually then I have to go back to character and conflict. Every character is their own worst enemy – you just need to let them mess things up and then try and fix them.
Do you have any favorite snacks, music or rituals for your writing? For instance, are you blasting music or need complete silence?
I do a bit of all of it. I find the first third of a book really slow going. It takes me a long time and a lot of angst to set the book up – once it’s set up it just takes off and I can write really fast. But that first third is hell. So I usually sit at the kitchen table in the middle of the family chaos for that stage, because the chaos calms my anxiety. I can trick myself into thinking I’m not really writing. I also moan a lot and am a real pain in the ass. I will play music, listen to binaural beats, have the TV on in the background, distract myself with emails and web searches, and do anything to feel like I’m not trapped writing. But then once that third is over, I can write anywhere, and block out any sound, and lose myself at will. I feel like I’m kind of two different people: the writer from hell for the first third, and then a blissed out writer for the rest.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Nothing you won’t have heard a million times. Read everything, all the time. Don’t limit yourself – read every genre under the sun. Consume stories in all forms: books, audiobooks, TV, film, graphic novels. And write. A lot. Force yourself to sit down and do it. You can only learn by doing, by trial and error. There is one thing I really believe in, though: Don’t make excuses. There are always reasons not to write. Long work hours. Children. Caring responsibilities. Illness. Grief. Every writer has reasons not to write – life never stops. Don’t expect a magical clearing of time and energy to open and then you can write. You just do it. Or you won’t. I don’t allow myself to make excuses. Even if you only manage half an hour here and there – you can find the time. Writers write. No excuses. (That sounds mean – imagine me saying it kindly and supportively ☺)
Author Interview: Amy Barry – Romance Recs, TV adaptations
What started your foray into reading and loving the romance genre?
I have loved romance since before I could read. The first book I ever wrote when I was five was an illustrated retelling of Cinderella. But in terms of fiction, my gateway drug was the old Silhouette books in the 80s and 90s, and then my best friend in Year 9 used to bring her mother’s romances to school for us to read and I was hooked. We read all the old 70s and 80s books, as well as buying everything new that came out. Historical romance was my favorite: Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, LaVyrle Spencer, Beverly Jenkins… And I love all the time periods: medieval and westerns probably even more than Regencies. I like open space and action better than ballrooms.
Kit McBride Gets a Wife, is one of my top Summer 2022 reads! What are some romances on your TBR and/or must read romances?
OMG seriously! That is so cool, because you have the best taste. Or at least the same taste as me, haha. I have been behind on my reading, because I’ve been writing madly for a couple of years and I teach at university, so I have a heavy reading load of student work and PhD theses. But I am catching up. I just fell madly in love with Beth O’Leary’s The Flat Share and will read anything she writes! On my TBR pile I have Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis (which one of my students is raving about), Mia Sosa’s The Wedding Crasher, Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko (not exactly a romance but…), and coming out this summer is Vanessa Riley’s Sister Mother Warrior, which I’m keen to read.
I always love talking about TV and movies. If you were to cast an adaptation for Kit McBride Gets a Wife, do you have anyone in mind for your characters?
Great question. And this could be a dinner party game I could make last for years. Kit has to be someone big and brooding but with the soul of a romantic…maybe Jamie Dornan? But taller and darker. And you know who’d actually make a great Maddy, even though she doesn’t necessarily look like her: Nicola Coughlin (Penelope in Bridgerton). She’s got Maddy’s spirit. Junebug is tough. You’d need someone who is funny and feisty and quick as a whip. Can I ask for a teenage Florence Pugh? I loved her in Little Women.
Who is the perfect reader for Kit McBride Gets a Wife?
I think this book would appeal to many people – in some ways it’s a crossover. It’s got the romance for the romance diehards among us, but there’s also a wonderful sense of place and historical moment, and a rambunctious cast of characters for those who love historical westerns (like I do – Larry McMurtry is one of my all time favorite writers). This book is quite sweet so could also appeal to a YA audience – but be warned, the second book, Marrying Off Morgan McBride is a lot steamier! This one is sweet because Kit is such a gentleman – Morgan, on the other hand, is no gentleman.
This is not your first foray into writing. You’ve written as Amy T Matthews and Tess LeSue. Can you tell new readers what to expect when they read your backlist books?
The Tess LeSue books are steamier than Kit McBride Gets a Wife. And they’re romantic adventure stories. Think Romancing the Stone kind of rom coms but set in the 1840s and 1850s. My favorite is Bound for Sin: start there! It’s a big, emotional romance featuring a mail order groom and a journey on the California Trail from Missouri to the goldfields. There are twists and turns galore! They’re great fun books. Amy T. Matthews, on the other hand, writes contemporary book club fiction. My new book under that name is Someone Else’s Bucket List and will be out June 2023 – that one will make you laugh and make you go into the full ugly cry. It has all the feels.
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me, Amy! How can readers best connect with you?
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