Friday, 7 August 2009

Character spotlight ~ Kaye Dacus' Meredith Guidry & Major O'Hara

First an apology for the delay in this spotlight. My precious 93 year old Grandma had a fall resulting in a broken hip and arm. She has undergone surgery this evening and pulled through extremely well for a woman of her years! She has a wonderful faith in the Lord and although dementia has stolen her memory of most things her love of Scripture remains and she can quote verses with the best of them :)

Your prayers for her recovery would be appreciated.

Kaye graciously gave me all the time I needed to prepare this spotlight so I am pleased to bring it to you now ~ enjoy!

The spotlight shines on Meredith Guidry & Major O'Hara

Last week I brought you a spotlight on Kaye Dacus' Regency romance, Ransome's Honor and today a sneak peek behind the characters in the second book in her contemporary romance series, Menu for Romance!

Over to you, Kaye:~

Brief p
hysical description

Meredith Guidry

Executive Director of Events and Facilities at her parents' corporation, is thirty-four years old. She has strawberry blond hair and nutmeg-colored eyes, and is about average height and average build--with some nice curves. She wears mainly tailored business suits to work and classic/tasteful formal dresses when working black-tie events (several times per year)--but she'd much rather be in a paint-splattered pair of jeans and a T-Shirt and work boots and working on rehabilitating the craftsman bungalow she just purchased.

Think Julie Bowen.

Major O'Hara

Major is a thirty-eight-year-old Executive Chef who also works for Meredith's parents' corporation. He's 6'1" and built a lot like John Wayne in his earlier film years--solid but not necessarily “fat” (but who trusts a skinny chef anyway?). He has golden-brown hair and violet-blue eyes, and when he smiles--oh, those dimples! When he's asked to host a cooking segment on a local TV show, he realizes that pretty much everything in his closet is blue--which is a good thing, because it only serves to emphasize those blue eyes.

Think Tyler Florence.

Strengths and weaknesses:

Meredith's strength and weakness stems from the same personality trait: she wants to please people, especially her parents. It's given her a strong work ethic and makes her a boss people love to work for. But it's also made her the kind of person who won't say anything when she feels like someone's taking advantage of her (especially her parents, in the capacity of her job), which does create conflicts for her.

Major has a secret he's kept from most people he knows: his mother is a schizophrenic who lives in a nearby assisted-living facility. He's learned over the years of having women break up with him as soon as they learn about his mother that it can be the death-knell of a relationship, so even after he realizes he's fallen for Meredith, he keeps the secret--ostensibly to protect Meredith, but in reality because he's embarrassed by his mother. Major's strength, though, comes from his genuine care and concern for everyone around him--instilled in him by his mother.

Quirk (if any)

Major and Meredith both love John Wayne movies: Major his war movies, and Meredith his westerns. In fact, when Meredith finds a stray puppy and takes it in, she decides to name him Duke, John Wayne's nickname. And Major's full name comes from a character in a John Wayne movie, Flying Leathernecks.

Your inspiration for the character

When I wrote the first draft of Stand-In Groom (Book 1 of the Brides of Bonneterre series), I needed to surround the heroine with family--as an orphan, sticking close to her extended family would be important to her--and I wanted her to be best friends with a cousin about her age. Enter Meredith Guidry, who was not only her cousin and best friend, but her protégé--Meredith worked as Anne's assistant event planner when Anne worked for Meredith's parents' company, Boudreaux-Guidry Enterprises, before Anne started her own business.

Then I wrote a scene when Anne goes over to have dinner with George, cooked by a caterer she wants George to test out for the engagement party. It needed to be someone Anne had a past with . . . but a past that in no way interfered with her life now. So when Major O'Hara first appeared on the page, he was a married man.

But then, as I delved deeper into the story during the two-year-long revision process, I began to realize that not only was Meredith growing in importance, but that Major was as well. And as Major grew in importance, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to develop a character who would be a good romantic interest for Meredith.

So the wife got nixed, and Major's role got beefed up--and he became not just any caterer, but a chef who worked with/for Meredith.

Background to the story

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?

Thank you again, Kaye for stopping by at Relz Reviewz. It has been a pleasure and hope to see you here again soon!

I hope to have a special spotlight on MaryLu Tyndall's Hope Westcott and Nathaniel Mason from the just released The Blue Enchantress, over the weekend depending on my time at the hospital ~ stay tuned!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Character spotlight on Kaye's William Ransome & Julia Witherington

Visit Kaye's website

Buy Kaye's books at Amazon or Koorong

Special Extras from Kaye

More on the inspiration behind Menu for Romance can be found here:

And more on my character-casting process for this series can be found here:

Images of characters and settings can be found on my Menu for Romance set on Flickr:


Ausjenny said...

I really feel for your grandmother I do understand what you all are going through. Praying she will be ok.
Love the spotlight. After reading some of Kayes interviews I appreciate her books even more as I am a single now in my 40's. thanks for the spotlight.

Nicole said...

May the Lord shine His face upon your tough little grandma and make her comfortable and at peace during this healing time. In the Name of Jesus.

jaana said...

I will continue to pray for your grandma's recovery!

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