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Five Golden Rings–Meet the “Ringers”

Monday, May 28, 2012

I don’t know if it’s good or bad that this story idea won’t leave me alone. But since I’m having so much fun with this first new story idea in ages, I thought I’d share what I came up with last night (character casting) and this morning (the “meet” stories). It’s not often that an author shares a story idea from germ of inception through the brainstorming process, so I thought I would keep y’all in the loop as this idea develops.

First, meet our heroine, Kyleigh “Kyle” Bordelon. Kyle’s “large Southern family” mentioned in the idea post are the Bordelons of Bonneterre—the family that owns the largest chain of independently owned grocery stores in Central Louisiana. Kyle was a child prodigy, graduating from high school at age fourteen, finishing her Ph.D. in Microbiology at age twenty-two (she took her time with college and grad school), and going on to get an MBA in Management two years later. Since then, she’s worked in the quality-control/food-safety departments at Bordelon’s, rising through the ranks to become Food Safety Compliance Manager for the company. She spends most of her vacation time traveling to conferences to speak on panels as an expert on food-borne illnesses. Is it any wonder she’s reached the age of forty with the never-been-kissed status? 😉

Ring #1—Todd Farris (template: Misha Collins): Todd, a middle-school science teacher (with two of Kyle’s nephews in one of his classes), brings his sixth graders on a fieldtrip to see the labs and learn about food safety and food-borne illnesses at Bordelon’s corporate offices. Of course, Todd has been emailing with a Dr. Kyle Bordelon, so he’s expecting a man. He was already in awe of Kyle Bordelon’s credentials—a PhD in Microbiology at age twenty-two, an MBA in Management at twenty-four—and once he meets her, he’s pretty sure he’s in love. No matter how many times his heart has been stomped on in the past, he pins it to his sleeve again and, after building up his courage with a few more friendly emails, he asks her out.

Ring #2—Wolfgang “Wolf” Kohler (template: Thomas Kretschmann): Growing up in an industrial East German town, Wolf never thought he’d be allowed to do more with his life than work on the assembly line at the auto-parts plant he was sent to work in at sixteen. Then, in his mid-twenties, the wall fell. He left Germany and came to America to go to college, and he has lived here ever since. He just took the position as chair of the philosophy department at the University of Louisiana–Bonneterre, so is new to town. Weather aside, Bonneterre reminds him of the city where he grew up, and he thinks he’s finally found a place to settle down and stay for the rest of his life. Which also comes with a new sense of urgency to get married. When he sees Kyle as he bikes around his new neighborhood, he is attracted to her. He makes it his goal to meet her and get to know her. Because she looks like the kind of woman he’d like to marry.

Ring #3—Callum McKinnon (template: Kevin McKidd): When Kyle has to take over inspection and lab duties for one of her employees who’s out on maternity leave, she meets (re-meets) Callum at the store where he works as the manager of the meats/butcher department. Divorced for two years from his high school sweetheart (well, the girl he got pregnant after senior prom, anyway), he’s ready to get on with his life and have the fun he hasn’t had for the past twenty years since his “big mistake.” (He and his ex-wife filed for divorce the day they dropped their son off at his college dorm.) Callum has known Kyle since junior high, when he got to be friends with Kyle’s younger brother. But he always assumed she was eight to ten years older, as she was so far ahead of them in school. After several dates, on which he has more fun than she does, she learns that customers are getting sick from the meat they’re buying from Callum’s store, and she must investigate.

Ring #4—Matt Cole (template: Joe Flanigan): Kyle and Matt meet at “the wedding”—the one at which she no longer has to participate in the ring pull because she’s aged out of the tradition. Which allows her to relax and have a really good time and not feel self-conscious. Which catches the attention of the other “older” member of the wedding party, the groom’s brother, Matt Cole. After a twenty-year career in the Air Force as a pilot, Matt has recently retired and started on his second career—as a flight instructor at Beausoleil Parish Community College in Bonneterre, Louisiana. He took the job to be closer to his baby brother, the only family he has left, after their parents’ passing within a few months of each other two years ago. As the two oldest members of the wedding party, Kyle and Matt are paired up for all of the pre-wedding, wedding, and post-wedding events. Kyle is the first “woman over a certain age” he’s met in a very, very long time who doesn’t seem desperate to knock him over the head and drag him to a wedding chapel in Vegas within twenty-four hours. And she’s one of the only women he’s ever met who gets his sense of humor. And his trademark sci-fi TV-show references.

Ring #5—Daniel Godchaux (template: Sasha Roiz): When Kyle accepts an invitation to dinner at the home of her friends Meredith and Major O’Hara, she has no idea that it’s actually an invitation to a blind date. Meredith has invited the head of her Facilities Maintenance department—mechanical engineer Daniel Godchaux—over for dinner as well. After the initial embarrassment and promises she’ll get even with Meredith later, Kyle finds herself enjoying Daniel’s company; and his reserve and the way he deflects questions about his past and his family make her all the more interested in him.

So there they are, the Ringers. Which “team” are you? 😉

  1. Monday, May 28, 2012 1:30 pm

    What I think is that Kyleigh is smoking hot.

    But I know she’s not a “ringer”. 🙂


    • Monday, May 28, 2012 1:33 pm

      I had a really hard time deciding whether to make her Italian or Cajun, but since I decided to go back to Bonneterre for the setting, I went with Cajun. If I ever do end up writing this, I’m going to have to see if I can hunt this model down and get her to agree to be on the front cover!


  2. Monday, May 28, 2012 1:34 pm

    All very nice. And so unique. At this point I’m pulling for #4, just because of the sci-fi thing.


    • Monday, May 28, 2012 1:34 pm

      LOL—yeah, I saw your blog post about that today. So proud of you for following the inspiration wherever it leads you! 😀


      • Monday, May 28, 2012 2:29 pm

        I quit last night at 24,500. About to dive back into it. I’m having so much fun and just figured out a way to get a little Firefly nod in with a character name. My CP is eating it up as fast as I can write it and she’s not a big sci-fi fan.


    • Monday, May 28, 2012 1:36 pm

      BTW—are you old enough to remember Godchaux department stores, back before Maison Blanche took them all over? Or was that only a south Louisiana store?


      • Monday, May 28, 2012 2:27 pm

        I probably am if they existed outside of south LA, but I lived in the middle of the middle of nowhere in Concordia Parish. We didn’t move to Cenla until 1997. Here, the big department store was Weiss-Goldring and then I’m blanking on the other one! The original building for the one I can’t remember is where the arts council office is and they restored the turn-of-the-century hardwood floors and they are gorgeous.


  3. Monday, May 28, 2012 2:42 pm

    LOVE that the Brides of Bonneterre will fit back in ;). That’s one thing I love about serieses? series’? series? being set in the same area – other characters popping in and out :).

    And I *love* this idea! Sign me up now to be an influencer :).


    • Monday, May 28, 2012 4:36 pm

      I considered bringing Ward Breaux in as one of the five Ringers, but until I write Jenn Guidry’s story, I can’t put Ward in anyone else’s. Because I’m still not sure whom Jenn ends up with!


      • Monday, May 28, 2012 4:47 pm

        😀 Was thinking the other day I needed to reread these ;). Am gonna have to. So loving this idea – but, though I read lots of historicals, I’m partial to contemps in general, esp if they’ve got big dollops of humor like yours do.

        I think I’m partial to Ring #1 [shades of Fever Pitch] and Ring #4… but any could be lots of fun :D.


  4. Michelle permalink
    Monday, May 28, 2012 4:06 pm

    Gonna have to be Team Wolf, since he’s European, and has a very interesting backstory. 🙂


    • Monday, May 28, 2012 4:38 pm

      Gives me a good excuse to brush up on the German I haven’t used in 20 years!


  5. Vanya permalink
    Monday, May 28, 2012 5:03 pm

    Wolf or Todd…. Leaning towards Todd… They struck me as being the most sympathetic characters. I’m a push over for sympathetic heroes. 😉


  6. Sarah R permalink
    Monday, May 28, 2012 5:47 pm

    Definitely partial to Ring #1 and Ring #4. Your descriptions of them made me smile and I can see the potential for great chemistry. The only trouble is I’m not sure yet who I like best of these two. So hard to decide!


  7. Monday, May 28, 2012 5:53 pm

    Of course, y’all realize that with her choosing only one of these five guys, it leaves the other four open for sequels . . .


  8. Robin in NC permalink
    Monday, May 28, 2012 6:08 pm

    Ring #4!! Sequel the other four! 😉


  9. Wiser now permalink
    Monday, May 28, 2012 6:21 pm

    I like all but #3. You’ll have a winner with this story. God bless.


  10. Barbara Hoeffler permalink
    Monday, May 28, 2012 8:46 pm

    Hard to choose! Except for #3. I’m not impressed by his character. No. 1 seems like a sweetheart, #4 is hot, and I like his description. VERY attractive; #2 I find intriguing because he is brilliant and comes from Europe. You could put a lot of history in, and I like the fact that he has decided to marry her. He’s taking the manly initiative; #5 would be a good one to use if you’re going to add a mystery. He’s the man with the mysterious past.So hard to pick one! Whichever you choose will turn out great. Love your historical (and contemporary) romances. You could always use one now and save the rest for other books 🙂


  11. ausjenny permalink
    Monday, May 28, 2012 10:10 pm

    I have to go ring 4 for the sci fi connection.


  12. Monday, May 28, 2012 11:30 pm

    Umm… isn’t the point that you surprise us?

    My personal favourite for Kyle is Wolf, although I also like the sci-fi idea with David. Your description of Kyle reminds me a bit of Amy Farrar-Fowler of Big Bang.


    • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:42 am

      Of course the point is for the readers to be surprised . . . but I kind of like to know ahead of time what works and what doesn’t—I’d have a reader mutiny on my hands if everyone was all on board for, say, #4 and she ended up with #3, wouldn’t I?


  13. booktalkandmore permalink
    Tuesday, May 29, 2012 7:41 am

    Renard!!! I mean Sasha Roiz! He desperately needs his own story. 🙂



    • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:34 am

      And lots of opportunities for him to be in well-cut suits as well as khakis and sweaters!


  14. jolanthe permalink
    Tuesday, May 29, 2012 8:59 am

    Hmmm…right now either #1 or #5…love this, Kaye!!!


    • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 10:36 am

      Even with as much as I love the historical series I’m writing right now, I haven’t been this excited about a story idea in a very, very long time. It’s so much fun to see others like it, too!


  15. Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:31 pm

    i love this idea


  16. Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:31 pm

    and my pick is DEFINITELY #2


    • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:43 am

      The more I look at that picture, the more he looks like the love-child of David Wenham and Liam Neeson! 😉


  17. Sylvia M. permalink
    Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:26 pm

    Hmm…I’d go with #2 or #5. I like the red hair on number three, but not his character. The German guy is very fascinating and good looking. I like the idea of #1 being a sixth grade teacher, but am not really into his looks. Number four is pretty good looking, but… Number five seems more normal and is fairly good looking, but not over-the-top unbelievable. Personally, I think you should save #5 for Meredith. He already knows her family. Have this lady go for the German. He should speak fluent English, but speaks German when extremely emotional.


    • Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:36 pm

      Do you mean save him for Jenn? Meredith already has Major. 😉


      • Sylvia M. permalink
        Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:29 pm

        Duck….RED face-hidden-in-hands! Yes, I mean Jenn. That was bad!


  18. Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:02 am

    #4. I loved Todd’s description, but I think David would be a better, more mature match. Probably biased in that I have characters who “feel” a bit like this. So, I go with my reasons for my own pairings – both would love her, but David would also challenge her.


  19. Anne Payne permalink
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:00 am

    #4 because he has it all! And a 5 book series will be a delight 🙂 Thanks for sharing your ideas…so cool!!!

    I don’t read much contemporary but after I read Art of Romance I went out and bought the whole Bonneterre series and read it like I eat a bag of m&m’s, I was hooked on your contemporary books!


  20. Christina permalink
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:05 am

    Kaye, I love this idea. It is so wonderful and unique. I also have to add that I love that your female character is not a size 2. She is what most women look like and I love that. She is beautiful and intelligent. I so can’t wait to read it now! 🙂 Looking forward to seeing who she ends up with.


    • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:29 pm

      Agreed, Christina! That’s definitely one of the appeals of Kaye’s books. Age and size. We are not all 20 yrs old and a size 2 (maybe when I was 2 yrs old ;))


    • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:35 pm

      I just judged a bunch of unpublished contemporary romance entries for a contest, and I found myself commenting on how young their characters were—twenty, twenty-three. Mere babies! (Given that I turn forty-one tomorrow, I think I’m allowed to say that now.) Or a twenty-eight-year-old bemoaning how the guy who just dumped her was probably her “last chance” and now she’s desperate.

      Julie Gwinn, my editor at B&H, came and spoke to my local group in April, and one of the things she shared were readership demographics. The majority of romance readers are over the age of thirty-five—and because of that, they’re looking for older characters, those who are closer to them in age and experience.

      And since the average age of marriage in the US has skyrocketed in the past two decades (last I heard, the average first-marriage age is between 28 and 32 for women), it makes sense that romance novels would reflect this. That’s not why I make my characters older—I tend to put a lot of myself in my characters, so it only makes sense that they’re close to my age.


      • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 4:04 pm

        I agree. When I was very young I believed the Disney “sweet 16” for a princess getting married. My parents married around 30, but I thought I’d get married early so I could enjoy my grandchildren in middle age. (ha!) Now that I’m older, I too laugh at the desperate heroines in their 20’s.

        It’s funny to think my own characters are 24 and 27 because they feel so much older.


        • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 4:09 pm

          When I first started writing Stand-In Groom, Anne, at thirty-five, was a few older than me. When the book came out, she was a couple of years younger than me. 🙂


  21. Misty permalink
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:07 pm

    #4 sounds good to me! Although #5 is intriguing. I’m excited about your new idea. And amazed at how writer’s brains work. 🙂


  22. Thursday, May 31, 2012 8:23 am

    You are on a roll! Great characters as always!
    Happy Birthday today, the 31st!!


  23. Saturday, June 2, 2012 7:49 am

    I think that right now, I’m more drawn to numbers 1 and 4 in your list. I can’t put my finger on it, but they just seem to be… more interesting. As an aside note, I think the character profile for number 2 is just as interesting, but his name really works against him. Obviously, living in Europe, I may not be in your typical demographic, but the name Eichmann really gives me a sour aftertaste. Which is a shame, because the character description actually sounds interesting.


    • Saturday, June 2, 2012 7:53 am

      Leany—that’s really good to know. I’d love suggestions on names without bad connotations!


      • Saturday, June 2, 2012 7:55 am

        Sorry about the initial misspelling of your name—autocorrect is one of the many things that annoys me about this iPad!


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