Kaye Dacus: Painters and Matchmakers
In Book Two of Dacus’ Matchmakers Series
Uhrichsville, OH – From up-and-coming author, Kaye Dacus, the second installment of her Matchmakers series, The Art of Romance, is scheduled for release in May 2011. This latest humorous romance follows two grandmothers as they conspire to unite the hearts of their artistic grandchildren.
Dylan Bradley, who once illustrated steamy romances under the name Patrick Callaghan, has moved into his grandparent’s guest house in Nashville. Caylor Evans, having once written titillating novels under the penname Melanie Mason, lives with her grandmother. When their lives collide, due to the machinations of meddling matriarchs, the pasts of Dylan and Caylor threaten to derail their futures. Will they accept each other for who they now are—and once were? Or will they never discover the true art of romance?
Q: In the story, both Caylor and Dylan have preconceived notions of who the other person might have been and must learn to forget the past in order to accept who they are. Have you ever experienced this, or something similar in your own personal life?
I think this is something that most of us experience at one time or another in our lives—that we feel there’s something in our past that another person won’t understand or accept, so we keep it to ourselves.
When I moved to Nashville in 1996, I decided that in addition to living a new place, I was going to live a new life. You see, prior to this, I’d gone through several things that changed not only my own—and my family’s—perception of who I was, but actually changed who I was, emotionally and spiritually. So when I moved to a city where I knew no one, it gave me a chance to start over. To recreate myself. To leave the past in the past.
Yet, like Caylor and Dylan, once I start getting to know someone on a deep level, there comes a time in the relationship at which it becomes vitally important for me to share that part of my life—otherwise, not only will they never truly know me, I’ll have been less than completely honest with them; and that’s not how God wants me living my life.
Q: The Art of Romance is set in your home city of Nashville, Tennessee, while your last romance collection, The Brides of Bonneterre, was set in the fictional location of Bonneterre, Louisiana. Do you, as a writer, prefer to create fictional settings or describe real locations?
So funny you should ask! The fictional location of Bonneterre, Louisiana, was one that I created over the course of about ten years—so when I wrote Stand-In Groom, Menu for Romance, and A Case for Love, I felt as if I’d lived in Bonneterre for that long. But, still, there were times when I would have to stop writing to do some “world building”—at one point, when writing Case, I had to stop and draw a rough map of the city, just to keep track of where I’d placed everything from the three books. After that experience, I figured it would be a lot easier using the city where I’ve actually lived for fifteen years.
Was I ever wrong! Even though I’ve lived in Nashville longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life, I discovered something very important about using a real setting versus a fictional setting—in a real city, things are constantly changing! I like using the names of real restaurants and coffee shops and other sites around town—but as I quickly discovered, this involved a lot of research because businesses close or change hands/names all the time. Certain areas of town are constantly changing—especially in Nashville, with our downtown revitalization and the growth of several trendy areas,
including two which are important neighborhoods for my characters: Hillsboro Village and 12 South.
Of course, the best part of having the Matchmakers series set right here in my own backyard is that it gave me the excuse and motivation to get out and explore my own city in ways that I hadn’t done in the first fifteen years I lived her, and it’s given me a much greater appreciation for the wonderful city of Nashville!
Q: Throughout the novel both Caylor and Dylan struggle with things that were done in their pasts. What advice do you have for someone who is dealing with a similar situation?
It’s so easy to be trite and say, “The past is the past; let it go.” But the past stays with us, no matter how hard we try to forget. The first thing we must do, obviously, is turn it over to God, no matter if it’s something we did or something someone else did to us. The second is to find the positives about the situation. It may not seem like there are any, but God can help us see how past events have brought certain blessings into our lives—by the people it brought us in contact with, by the places it took us, by the things we learned going through it. And finally, whether or not you’ve been able to do those things, find someone you trust to talk to about it. Keeping stuff bottled up inside doesn’t do anyone any good—believe me, I know I suffer from cyclical depression; and when I don’t talk about things, I start down that very slippery, very scary slope into depression. Talking about issues, especially troubling issues from the past, will help to resolve and redeem them.
Q: In the story, Dylan was hurt both emotionally and professionally by an older woman that he was involved with, leaving him leery of getting involved with another older woman, like Caylor. Have you ever experienced a “once bitten, twice shy” situation in your life?
One of the inspirations for this story was a situation I had with someone who was supposed to be a “best” friend to me. After two or three years, I discovered that he had kept a significant fact about himself secret from me—something revealed to me only once a crisis arose and he couldn’t keep it from me any longer. It was not something that would have changed our relationship or the way I viewed/cared about him if I had known from the beginning. But the fact that he basically lied to me from the beginning of our relationship ended up severing it completely, because I never felt like I could trust him again.
It took me six or seven years after that to get to the point where I felt like I would ever be able to trust anyone again—at least trust someone enough to allow them close enough to become a best friend. But once I took my own advice and turned the situation over to God, looked for the positives of the situation, and then talked to someone about it, not only was the situation resolved (when I finally talked to him again), but it was redeemed through my forming new, deep friendships with others.
Q: Your entire Matchmakers series revolves around zany grandmothers who are set on playing matchmaker to their single grandchildren. How did you develop the idea for this series?
I’d actually come up with the story ideas for Love Remains and The Art of Romance separately, years apart. So I was finishing up the Brides of Bonneterre series and it came time to come up with a new series, I went to my Ideas file and found those two. In reviewing the ideas and realizing that grandparents played an important role in Zarah’s (Love Remains), Caylor’s, and Dylan’s lives, I thought it would be fun to bring the grandparents into an even greater role in the series by having them “meddle” with their grandchildren’s love lives. I’m very close with my grandmother (whose maiden name happens to be Caylor), and even though she’s never played matchmaker for me, or any of her twenty-one grandchildren, I’ve known many other senior adults who wouldn’t be above doing so. Plus, we just don’t get to see enough active, fun eighty-something-year-olds in romance novels!