Find a Christian store

Interview with Kaye Dacus

Kaye Dacus holds a master of arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and has worked in the newspaper and book publishing industry for the last two decades. She currently works as a freelance editor and copywriter for several publishing houses. Kaye is an LSU football fan, but also enjoys watching and discussing British costume-drama movies with friends.

Today, she shares with us her latest release, Turnabout's Fair Play, the first book in a new humorous romantic suspense series. Here's the cover blurb:
Acclaimed author Kaye Dacus will provide you with hours of humor, romance, and inspirational reading with book 3 of The Matchmakers series. When Maureen O’Connor begins scheming to match her grandson Jamie with Flannery McNeill, the last thing she has in mind is a romance of her own. But when Jamie turns the tables and conspires with Flannery to bring Maureen and Flannery’s grandfather Kirby together, everyone’s best laid plans seem to go awry. Is Maureen willing to start a new relationship at this stage of her life? Will Jamie ever drop his veneer of self-sufficiency and succumb to true love?

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
I was going to say that there were so many major milestones it was hard to figure out which one was the biggest . . . until I thought back and realized there was one event that changed the course of my life—and that was attending my first Christian writers’ conference (Blue Ridge) in 2001. I’d tried majoring in Creative Writing when I first went to college, but only learned from the two writing courses I took that I never wanted to show anyone my writing ever again, because the professors didn’t actually teach the craft of writing and the students felt it incumbent upon themselves to cut everyone else down during critiques to make themselves look better to the professor (and it seemed to work—they all got much better grades than I did on the workshop portions of the class).

It wasn’t until I attended Blue Ridge in 2001—after I’d gone back to school to finish a degree in English—that I felt God nudging me, telling me that I wasn’t supposed to be keeping my writing to myself, that I was supposed to be sharing the stories He gave me. Shortly after that, I joined ACRW (as member #120 a few years before we became ACFW). And the rest, as they say, is history. (Rocky, bumpy history, but history nonetheless.)

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Since getting laid off from my full-time job a few months after signing my first three-book contract (for the Brides of Bonneterre series) and two months before signing my second three-book contract (for the Ransome Trilogy), I figured that meant I’d be able to concentrate all my time on writing and just pick up a few editing projects here and there to make ends meet. I, of course, didn’t know the reality of what being a “full-time writer” means—and it means that one must have source of full-time-level income. For three years, I tried to make a go of it with writing and editing, but the editing projects have slowly tapered off until it’s more of a part-time thing. So this fall, I went back to work . . . as a church secretary. Something to help pay the bills but also something outside of the realm of writing/publishing. Because I realized that with all of my time focused on writing and/or editing, on meeting with writing groups or working with/meeting with editors, my world had suddenly become very small and out of balance.

But since it’s been three years since I had to go to an office daily (even if it is just five hours a day right now), I’m still trying to figure out a writing schedule that works for me. But I’ve got to figure it out soon—my next book is due May 1!

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
My faith is something that is very personal and private for me. I’m not one who’s comfortable with witnessing or evangelism—that’s just not how I was created. It’s through my characters and their faith journeys that I share that part of myself with others. It’s never anything big and grand—I leave that to other writers for whom evangelism is a calling—but it’s the little things, the small revelations, the lessons learned through a life lived with a focus on Christ that weave their way into my stories.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
I could say it was signing with my agent or getting “the call” for the first time or holding my first (second . . . third . . . fourth . . .) book in my hands or being nominated for a Christy Award. But those are just physical trappings.

The greatest moment of my writing/publishing career happened three months after my first book, Stand-In Groom, was published (which is set in a fictional city in Louisiana) and I received an e-mail from a reader that included this:

“I am from Louisiana . . . I tried so hard to figure out what city [Bonneterre] was based on. I now live in South Dakota, and you took me home. God also used your book to help me realize that I had not totally healed from hurricane Katrina and started that process for me. Thank you so much for being used by God to write this book.”

After years of being secretive with my writing and doubting my ability, God used that reader to confirm and affirm my calling.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I was asked in an interview once what my superpower would be. My answer was: The ability to fall madly in love on a regular basis with characters from TV shows or movies and develop them into my own characters and write romance novels about them.

My story ideas start with characters—and then it’s usually the hero. You see, I have a tendency to develop a “crush” on a particular actor in a particular role (or possibly a series of roles that are similar) which makes a character start to form in my head. Then once I have that character, I come up with the perfect mate for him (or her, if she comes first, which is highly unusual for me). Once I have the characters figured out, I can come up with several main plot points of the story and the ending—enough to write a synopsis to send to my editors. The rest, I figure out as I write.

Tell us three things about you that would surprise your readers.
1. For two years, I sang in a southern Gospel quartet that did several concerts around the Nashville area. I sang the high-tenor part, of course.

2. Though I am a Southern girl born and bred (born in Louisiana, attended LSU, lived in Tennessee since 1996), I’ve also lived in Alaska (ages 1–4), New Mexico (ages 4–18), and Washington DC (ages 21–24).

3. I’ve been to four Star Trek conventions and actually got to go back stage and meet Alexander Siddig (Dr. Bashir from Deep Space Nine) at the last one I attended in 1996.

Any parting words?
I love connecting with other writers! You can find me online at,, and

Thanks for sharing with us, Kaye!

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.