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Monday, June 28, 2010

Well, since Love Remains has released a month early, I guess it’s time to formally introduce to you my new series, The Matchmakers, from Barbour Publishing.

Six independent, professional young adults don’t stand a chance when it comes to romance . . . not when their grandmothers decide it’s high time for them to get married. Together, these meddling grannies will help their progeny overcome difficulties ranging from troubled pasts, hidden identities, and initial incompatibilities as they become . . .
The Matchmakers.

When the time drew close for me to turn in the manuscript for A Case for Love, my editor requested a proposal for another three-book contemporary series. Not wanting to immediately jump right back into another three books set in Bonneterre, I pulled up two story ideas that I’ve had floating around in my head (and written up on my computer) for a few years and tried to figure out a way to pull them together and come up with a third book to complete the series. And it came to me . . .

What if the guys and gals in the books have grandmothers who are trying to get them matched up with each other?

Yay—not only did I have a thread that tied all the stories together, but I also had a series name!

Working with a rough draft that I’d already written many years ago (the manuscript I completed before I started Stand-In Groom back in 2003) and a story idea I’d had a few years after that, I brainstormed a third book idea and then had the daunting task of coming up with these good-intentioned, meddling grannies. And you know exactly where that led me.


My favorite part of the writing process.

As a lover of old movies, I’ve always had tons of older actors/actresses listed in my casting book. I’ve occasionally used one as they appeared in their younger years, but typically I do use them as the parents/grandparents/older characters in my stories (and, yes, in case you’re wondering, even Forbes/Meredith/Anne’s grandparents were cast this way . . . as Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck). Because the grandmothers were going to be the important characters, I cast them first. I had to know something about my heroes/heroines (especially their looks/ethnic backgrounds). I also needed to know some of their background/backstory. This is the first time, though, that I’ve ever had viewpoint characters for whom I haven’t done a complete backstory workup. Of course, they don’t have that many scenes, either. (And from the center pictures in each grouping, you’ll see how I came up with the template for the grandfather characters.)

So, without further ado, may I introduce to you The Matchmakers:

Katrina (Kiki) and Victor (Pops) Breitinger (Love Remains)

Both Victor and Trina are Nashville natives, with Victor’s roots in Middle Tennessee going back to just before the Civil War (leading to Zarah’s interest in the Civil War battles fought in the area). I can’t remember if I ever said in the book what Victor had done for his career, but Trina is a retired pediatric nurse.

Melinda (Mamm) and Greeley (Greedad) Patterson (Love Remains)

Once again, I’m sorely lacking on background information on Bobby Patterson’s grandparents. What I do know is that Trina and Melinda have been best friends since high school and roomed together in the dorms when they were in college at James Robertson University (a fictional liberal arts school in Nashville). On Sunday afternoons, while Greedad snoozes in his recliner in the living room, Mamm sits in the den knitting and listening to audio books.

Celeste (Sassy) and Frank (Papa) Evans (The Art of Romance)

Five years ago, when Papa passed away, Caylor Evans moved in with Sassy, since Sassy had lost her driver’s license due to her poor eyesight. I’m still in the beginning stages of this book, so I’m not sure of much of Sassy’s backstory, but I’m looking forward to getting to know her MUCH better.

Helen (Perty) and Gerald (Gramps) Bradley (The Art of Romance)

In Dylan Bradley’s first scene in The Art of Romance it came to me that his grandparents, with whom he’s living for the time being, needed to have had careers juxtaposed to his career/life as an artist. So these two I know pretty well already: Gerald is a retired civil court judge, and Helen, also retired, after twenty years as an English professor was the first female and longest tenured president of James Robertson University. Helen, Celeste, and Maureen (see below) shared a suite along with one other coed (three rooms connected to a bathroom) with Trina and Melinda, which is how they became such close friends (the other roommate having moved away shortly after graduation and lost touch). Celeste and Helen earned the nicknames Sassy and Perty in college, and because that’s what their friends called them, that’s what their grandchildren began calling them.

Maureen (Cookie) O’Connor and Kirby (Big Daddy) McNeill (Turnabout’s Fair Play)

In the third book in the series, not only are the young people going to find romance, but the grandparents are, too. Kirby McNeill, who, in addition to maintaining a small farm south of Nashville, has finally convinced the church where he’s been pastor for thirty years he really is retiring this year. Maureen O’Connor has been on her own for almost forty years, as well, but she’s gotten used to it. After seeing how close Kirby is with his beautiful, single granddaughter, she enlists his help with her grandson, Jamie. Unbeknownst to her, her friends have another idea—when Kirby McNeill starts attending their church and they see the sparks flying between the two. Flannery and Jamie get in on the action, too, turning their grandparents’ attempts to set them up into situations to bring Kirby and Maureen together.

So, there they are. The Matchmakers.

Love Remains is currently making its way to bookstore shelves and can be ordered online (and on a couple of them, The Art of Romance is already available for preorder) from:

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  1. Monday, June 28, 2010 7:34 am

    FRANK’S DEAD?! This is a crushing blow. 😉 I really enjoyed seeing the younger/older pictures of all of the grandparent characters…since you know I’m a big classic movie fan too that was loads of fun!


    • Monday, June 28, 2010 2:01 pm

      Yeah, I knew you were going to have a problem with that. But, it was the only picture I could find of young Celeste Holm with anyone of whom I could also find older pictures.


  2. Monday, June 28, 2010 11:11 am

    I love that you use old movies when “casting” characters. I do the same thing! There’s nothing like the classics. 🙂


    • Monday, June 28, 2010 2:02 pm

      They just don’t make them like they used to, do they?


      • Monday, June 28, 2010 2:22 pm

        They sure don’t, Kaye… both movies and the actors/actresses! Katharine Hepburn will forever be my favorite actress. There’s just no one like her. I actually patterned one of the love interests in my WIP after Cary Grant. My heroine is attracted to him because she loves old movies so much, so it’s been a lot of fun to write so far!


        • Monday, June 28, 2010 3:13 pm

          Oooo, Ashley, we just watched “The Philadelphia Story” with my 15-year-old last weekend. She fell in love with it! I think that was one of the things that attracted me to “Remington Steele” (besides Pierce Brosnan…), his connections with old movies.


        • Monday, June 28, 2010 3:16 pm

          Ooh! The Philadelphia Story is one of my all-time favorites (possibly THE old-time favorite). Have you seen Bringing up Baby? I love that one. I also really love Notorious. Those three are probably on the top of the list for me, with Roman Holiday and To Catch a Thief as very close runners up.


  3. Monday, June 28, 2010 11:29 am

    This is fun Kaye. I don’t know anyone who casts their characters more thoroughly and thoughtfully than you. Always inspiring and fun to read about. And the whole granny-matchmaking idea sounds like a hoot… plenty of ground for conflict and misunderstanding and frustration too–the good stuff of fiction. 🙂


    • Monday, June 28, 2010 2:03 pm

      I’ve really enjoyed pulling the grandmothers in as viewpoint characters in this series—even though their scenes are brief. They’re so much fun to write!


  4. Monday, June 28, 2010 1:39 pm

    You’ve cast five of my favorite leading men. And Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne, together again! “McClintock” is one of my husband’s all-time favorite movies – in fact, we watched it again just last week. I can’t wait to start reading this series!


    • Monday, June 28, 2010 2:04 pm

      Well, the idea to use them came to me when I was writing Menu for Romance, in which Major’s mother has a poster from The Quiet Man in her room.


      • Monday, June 28, 2010 2:19 pm

        She was quite the John Wayne fan, wasn’t she? “The Quiet Man” is another all-time favorite!


  5. Monday, June 28, 2010 2:09 pm

    It’s always interesting to see the thinking behind your books. Congrats on the new series (again.)


  6. Monday, June 28, 2010 4:56 pm

    I see some of my favorite actors and actresses in there, so these are going to be fun to read! I added the first book in the series to my Amazon cart. 🙂


  7. Monday, June 28, 2010 5:05 pm

    Any book featuring an old married couple whose templates are Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne already has me hooked:) Can’t wait for these, Kaye!


  8. Tuesday, June 29, 2010 3:01 pm

    A month early? Wow. I’m still catching up on nearly a week’s worth of blog posts, so I missed that. Gotta hunt for it. I think it’s on my blog schedule for the end of August/early Sept, but don’t think I want to wait that long.

    BTW, LOVED Ransome’s Crossing. I’m amazed at the detail you provide for the happenings on a ship in that era. Outstanding!



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