Kaye Dacus us back with her second Matchmakers contemporary romance, The Art of Romance. Enjoy a look behind her latest characters.
Over to you, Kaye:~
Brief physical description
Caylor Evans is a woman who definitely stands out in a crowd—at six feet tall with short, wild, red hair, she’s not afraid of drawing attention (though she does get tired of being asked if she ever played basketball or volleyball). At thirty-five years old, she’s learned to accept her well-above-average height and hourglass figure.
At six foot three, Dylan Bradley is one of the few men Caylor’s ever met whom she doesn’t tower over. With curly dark hair, a few days’ growth of stubble, a couple of tasteful tattoos on his arms, and dark, expressive eyes, it doesn’t matter that he’s seven years younger—she can’t deny the attraction!
Strengths and weaknesses
Caylor’s the strong one, the one everybody else depends on. Caylor’s weakness comes from her strength—five years ago, she willingly gave up her life to move in with her grandmother after her grandfather passed away, because Sassy can’t drive due to poor eyesight. This strength of character has led to her weakness—of letting life pass her by, of becoming a workaholic (between her job as an English professor at a small liberal-arts college and a published author), and of scuttling every opportunity she might have at a romantic relationship because of her commitment to caring for her grandmother—who has a more active social life than she does!
Dylan’s strength lies in overcoming his weakness—in discovering that he’s spent his whole life letting others (his parents and his previous romantic partner) run roughshod over him, convince him he’s not good enough, that his dreams, his desires, his passions aren’t right, aren’t living up to their expectations. Of course, by discovering this, he is in danger of swinging the opposite direction—of assuming that everyone is going to treat him this way. . .including a certain sassy, redheaded English professor.
Quirk (if any)
Dylan and Caylor are both creative types. Dylan is always thinking in terms of art—of painting, of drawing. And he’s pretty sure that if he would just go ahead and give in to the temptation to draw Caylor, he’ll get her out of his head. Caylor’s the quintessential romance author—every situation makes her think of a new story idea. She even sneaks pictures of the cute electrician who comes out to the house so that she can add him to her file of physical “templates” for future characters. (Oops—maybe that part of her is a little too autobiographical!)
For both of them, getting lost in creativity is one of their favorite ways to de-stress, to relax, to get away from the conflicts and turmoil in their lives.
The inspiration for The Art of Romance came from my developing a “crush” (as I am wont to do!) on the chef I thought should have won the second season of Top Chef, Sam Talbot. He was so quiet, so unwilling to express his emotion—except through his art (food, in real life)—that my brain spent the entire season he was on developing him into a character. An artist. Someone who may not say much out loud, but has a definite, somewhat snarky, continuous monologue going on inside his head. That, and he’s cute, too!
I’d had an image in my mind of Caylor when I first came up with the story idea, based on a model with long red hair and a reserved demeanor I’d seen on a couple of plus-size clothing websites. But that image led to a character who was too quiet, too demure—and I needed someone different from my taciturn artist hero. Then my editor told me they wanted to use stock photos for the book cover, if possible, so I went “shopping” on my favorite stock-image website (JupiterImages.com) . . . and when I found this picture, I knew I had my Caylor.
Background to the storyEnglish professor Caylor Evans moved in with her grandmother five years ago when Sassy’s eyesight became too poor to get her driver’s license renewed. Though she is now writing sweet/inspirational romance novels, Caylor still draws inspiration for her heroes from the portfolio of covers and sample images drawn/painted by Patrick Callaghan for the steamy romances she used to write (as “Melanie Mason”), and dreams of meeting a man like that cover model.
After losing his teaching position and being shunned by the fine-arts community in Philadelphia, artist Dylan Bradley has returned home to Nashville to regroup and determine the next step for his life. His grandparents offer him their guesthouse for as long as he wants it—along with plenty of opportunities to meet young women. Though it was years ago, Dylan is uncomfortable with the fact that his face—only slightly disguised—is on the covers of half a dozen steamy romance novels by Melanie Mason, the artwork he did to put himself through college under the pseudonym Patrick Callaghan. Especially after he meets Caylor Evans, a woman who has her life together in a way he only dreams of. Will Caylor and Dylan learn that the true art of romance is grounded in honesty and truth?
Thanks Kaye ~ you always provide lots of fun detail!
Relz Reviewz Extras
Character spotlight on Zarah & Bobby from Love Remains
Review of Stand-In Groom
Character spotlight on Kaye's William Ransome & Julia Witherington from Ransome's Honor
Visit Kaye's website