I'm very happy to welcome Kaye back with her two newest releases. Kaye, why do you write the kind of books you do?
My heart is, as it has been for more than twenty years, focused on writing light-hearted romances. But not just any romances. I like writing characters who represent a growing segment of the population that seems to be increasingly left out in Christian circles: women in their late-twenties, thirties, and early-forties who have never been married and who want to be loved and accepted for who they are, not pigeon-holed into a category, labeled, or, as happens most often, shoved to the side and ignored/forgotten about by their churches, coworkers, or even friends and family. I'm writing to the women who, like me, expected to be married before they turned twenty-five (-six, -seven, -eight . . .), but who may find themselves now in their mid- to late-thirties or forties and have never even had a date or meaningful relationship.
I'm writing for them (me, actually) so we can hang on to the hope of finding a well-adjusted, loving, marriage-minded Christian man out there somewhere and having a "happily ever after" ending with him (with the optimism that he may be closer than we realize). I'm writing for the woman who, like me, feels most alone when she goes to church and sees all the married/engaged couples and families sitting together; who has to endure the family-focused activities, Bible studies, Sunday school lessons, and sermons (if you've never noticed, start keeping track of how often your pastor talks about families and/or marriage); who begins to feel it isn't just the church that has pushed her aside and forgotten about her, but that maybe God has too.
You should find a church like mine where singles are just as important as everyone else, and their needs are ministered to in dynamic ways. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
It would have to be a tie between the day I received my Master’s degree and the day I got “the call” about my first book contract. Having dropped out of college at age 21 and then going back part-time while working full-time at age 29, I worked extremely hard for six years to finish what I’d started earlier in life. So walking across the stage, getting “hooded” and receiving my degree was one of the most thrilling and satisfying events in my life. And then having my master’s thesis go on to become my first published novel (Stand-In Groom) was almost like an extension of that joy, though an excitement and thrill all of its own.
That is really something to be proud of, for sure. How has being published changed your life?
The volume of e-mail I receive has increased! Mostly business-related e-mails, whether from people wanting to interview me or to see if I’ll donate a signed book for a giveaway they’re doing or from the editors/marketing/publicity/sales staff at the two publishing houses for which I write, with the occasional “fan” letter from readers. I don’t know that I would say being published changed my life, but that God changed my life to accommodate my being published. You see, in July 2008, I learned I was being laid-off from my full-time job as an editor with Ideals Publications/Guideposts. That was just a couple of months after I signed the contracts for books two and three of the Brides of Bonneterre series with Barbour. With every other publishing house in Nashville laying people off, and my seeming inability to get an interview for any kind of job (even administrative/executive assistant jobs, which I’d done for more than thirteen years before becoming an editor), it seemed like God was telling me He was giving me the dream job I’d been saying for years I wanted: to be able to support myself by freelancing (editing/copywriting) and writing novels.
Of course, I’d assumed it would happen only after several years’ careful planning and saving. But I took the leap of faith He asked from me. And in November, I received the three-book contract from Harvest House for The Ransome Trilogy, showing me that even though I had to follow somewhat blindly, as long as I was faithful to listen to Him, He’d be faithful to provide. So, being published has been part of God’s plan to change my life, to give me my heart’s desire.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished reading Georgette Heyer’s novel The Convenient Marriage, a historical romance set in the last quarter of the 18th Century. Since I’m starting to write the second book in my historical trilogy, Ransome’s Crossing, I’m about to start re-reading all of Jane Austen’s novels (especially focusing on Persuasion) as well as chapters here and there from C.S. Forrester’s Hornblower novels, Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels, and Alexander Kent’s Bolitho novels to glean tidbits of research from these three masterful authors’ novels set on sea and filled with wonderful bits of information about the Royal Navy and its officers and ships.
What is your current work in progress?
I’m currently writing the second book in The Ransome Trilogy for Harvest House, Ransome’s Crossing:
To get to her secret fiancé in Jamaica, Charlotte Ransome disguises herself as a midshipman and joins the crew of one of the ships in the convoy led by her brother William. First Lieutenant Ned Cochrane has only known his captain’s younger sister for a brief time, but is sure she’s the wife he’s been praying for—except he’s about to leave for the Caribbean for at least one year.
An attack on the convoy gains Ned the promotion to commander he has long dreaded—especially once he discovers one of his midshipmen is actually Charlotte Ransome in disguise. After seeking Julia’s advice, Ned decides to keep Charlotte’s secret… and hopes to win her love. Charlotte will soon discover that losing her heart to Ned is not the greatest danger she’ll face on this Atlantic crossing.
(Readers, Julia is the heroine in Ransome's Honor.) What would be your dream vacation?
I would love to be able to spend a month in England. Between visiting all the sites of literary significance I’ve always read about, I’d love to spend time in Portsmouth (where Ransome’s Honor is set) as well as London, Oxford, and Yorkshire, enjoying the different cultures that can be found across England. Then, I’d love to visit the McLellan ancestral home in Kirkudbright, Galloway, Scotland (my mother’s side of the family) and explore the beautiful cities and landscapes (and castles!) of Scotland to see the land my ancestors came from.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
For the Brides of Bonneterre series, I used a fictional setting I’d been working with for many years before I even had an inkling of the characters or stories contained in those three novels. I started developing Bonneterre, Louisiana, when I was in college at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and I stuck with it once I figured out that with a fictional city, I could incorporate features of all the different places I’ve ever lived or visited—and in such a way that if I misplaced something, or left out a detail of a setting, no one but I would ever know.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I would love to sit down with British screenwriter Andrew Davies, who adapted several of Jane Austen’s novels (most notably the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice) for the screen. I have so many questions I’d love to ask him about certain decisions he made when adding to or subtracting from the original source materials. Also, he has a wonderful way with getting to the heart and soul of the characters through dialogue, that I’d love to hear him expound upon how he writes it.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Is a Facebook addiction considered a hobby? :-) As anyone who reads the Friday posts on my blog could tell you—I love movies and television. It’s not a far cry from reading and writing, because it’s just another way of getting lost in a good story. But I’m such a visually oriented person that no matter how many times I’ve watched a movie, I’m always catching new details with each subsequent viewing. Also, it’s the way I come up with new characters—I have a special affinity for secondary/background characters, because it’s usually the character’s story that goes untold in a movie or TV series that intrigues me the most.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I am my most difficult writing obstacle. Now that I don’t have to work outside the home every day (though I do still have to commit almost as many hours each week to freelance work to make ends meet), there shouldn’t be anything standing in my way of being able to write “all day” right?
Wrong. I’m a professional procrastinator and completely lazy to the core of my being. So I have to struggle against my natural inclination to sloth (there’s a reason why it’s one of the “Seven Deadly Sins”) and call upon something else that’s deep-seated in the core of my being: a sense of professionalism with a strong work ethic. I have to make myself realize that meeting my self-set goals for daily word counts or getting a draft finished so that I have plenty of time for revisions/edits before it’s due is not only important for me in my professional life, it’s important to my own sense of self-worth. Because if I blow off my own goals and deadlines, I’m telling myself I’m not important.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
I always give beginning authors the same advice I was given when I first started on the path toward publication: above all else, GET YOUR FIRST DRAFT FINISHED. With each manuscript we write, we’re learning important lessons about the craft of writing. With each manuscript we finish, we’re learning more about ourselves and what we can accomplish. And never, ever, ever forget that the most important thing is your story. Don’t let the pursuit of the “craft of writing” become more important than your storytelling ability. Write from the heart; don’t worry about craft when you’re composing. That’s what the revision process is for. Be true to your story and don’t write it thinking about possible publication. Write it for you, first and foremost.
Tell us about the featured books.
Menu for Romance is the second book in the Brides of Bonneterre contemporary romance series with Barbour Publishing.
After eight years of unrequited love, Meredith Guidry decides it’s time to move on, to try to find someone who’ll love her in return. So she makes a prayerful New Year’s resolution to meet someone new and end her single status by year’s end. And when the handsome contractor she hires to finish remodeling her house asks her out, it looks like her prayer may have been answered. But dating the handsome contractor doesn’t seem to do anything to lessen Meredith’s feelings toward a certain chef she works with every day.
Executive Chef Major O’Hara has foresworn relationships, knowing he could never saddle the woman he loves with a family situation like his. When he’s offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to open his own restaurant—he must weigh his family responsibilities and feelings for Meredith with the desire to move forward in his career. Should he leave his comfortable job—and Meredith—for this once in a lifetime chance? And can he create a menu for romance to win Meredith back before he loses her forever? Will God serve up a solution before it’s too late?
The first chapter can be read here: http://kayedacus.com/2008/02/20/introducing-menu-for-romance/
Ransome’s Honor is Book 1 of The Ransome Trilogy, a romantic historical adventure series set in 1814.
When young Julia Witherington doesn’t receive the proposal for marriage she expects from William Ransome, she determines to never forgive him. They go their separate ways—she returns to her family’s Caribbean plantation, and he returns to the Royal Navy.
Now, twelve years later, Julia is about to receive a substantial inheritance, including her beloved plantation. When unscrupulous relatives try to gain the inheritance by forcing her into a marriage, she turns to the only eligible man to whom her father, Admiral Sir Edward Witherington, will not object—his most trusted captain and the man who broke Julia’s heart, William Ransome. Julia offers William her thirty-thousand-pound dowry to feign marriage for one year, but then something she never imagined happens: She starts to fall in love with him again.
Can two people overcome their hurt, reconcile their conflicting desires, and find a way to be happy together? Duty and honor, faith and love are intertwined in this intriguing tale from the Regency era.
The first chapter can be read here: http://kayedacus.com/2009/04/07/introducing-ransomes-honor/
And Harvest House created a trailer for it: http://www.youtube.com/v/mEkwnzBtM7g
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find me at my website (http://kayedacus.com/), on my Author Page at Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kaye-Dacus/30626117435?ref=ts), and on Shoutlife (http://www.shoutlife.com/kayedacus)
Thank you, Kaye, for spending this time with us.
Readers, here are links where you can order each of the books:
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of one of the books. The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link: