Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Author Interview with Kaye Calkins

I was honored to have the opportunity to interview Kaye Calkins, author of Deverell’s Dilemma, an historical romance published by Avalon. I first met Kaye at ORA-Con in the summer of 2011 when Lia Brown, who was a speaker at the conference, eagerly introduced Kaye as one of Avalon’s newest authors. Kaye is also a resident of a neighboring town, so we are able to meet up once in a while at other Ozarks Romance Authors’ events. Welcome, Kaye!

Kaye, what prompted you to become a writer?

First let me say thank you for asking me to interview with the Avalon’s Authors’ blog. I was captured by the story of a tragic figure. Hunted by the police and a mob he escaped underground to live alone. Yes, it was The Phantom of the Opera. I’m not sure whether it was Gerard Butler or the enchanting music but I had to give that man a happy ending. It took me six months at my computer to create him a new life. Once I finished his story of 52,000 words, I proceeded to write about his son and the daughter of Raoul and Christine. That one was 42,000 words.

When did you start your first novel and how long did it take you to become published?
My first novel was written in 2005. That one and my second are still sitting in files on my shelf. I knew nothing about writing a book. I am still learning thanks to Ozarks Romance Author’s. I’ve read since a child, and made-up stories in my head but I never considered putting anything on paper. My third book was my first to be published. It came out this year with Avalon.

What part of writing do you find most satisfying?
I love it when my characters surprise me and say or do something I hadn’t planned.

What part do you find most difficult?
Portraying the emotions that make a character come to life.

What comes first for you? Characters? Story? Setting? Or something else entirely?
In my first and second book it was the characters. In Deverell’s Dilemma it was the time and the setting. I love reading historical novels, especially Georgette Heyer, so it was an easy choice for me. I love the customs, witty language and manners of the Regency period.

Tell us about Deverell’s Dilemma.
Deverell’s Dilemma is the story of a young man who, having had his love scorned once, finds it hard to trust women again. Then a beautiful young woman from his past comes back into his life. Here’s an excerpt:

He watched the bay careen down the lane, the rider out of control. He gave Lady a light touch, urging her to close the gap between them and the bay. When they were side by side Deverell reached out and grabbed the lad.
“Release the reins, I have you.” Deverell’s arm went around the boy’s slender waist.
“No,” the youth yelled as he was lifted from his horse. “Let go of me.”
Deverell reined in the mare with one hand and held on to the squirming figure perched in front of him.
“Sit still,” he ordered. “You’ll have us both on the ground.” Ungrateful imp.
“Let me down, you fool.”
Deverell relinquished his hold. The boy slid off in a heap on the dirt, moist from last night’s rain.
Deverell’s lips curved in a smile as he watched the boy shove his pant legs into his boots and pull his cap down around his ears.
“Of all the dim-witted, ramshackle things to do. Now, I’ll have to walk home.”
The rider looked up at Deverell, eyes flashing with anger.
“You’re welcome. I make a habit of chasing down runaways whose riders can’t restrain them.” The sarcastic rejoinder slid from Deverell’s tongue with ease.
“I was in perfect control. A hare startled the horse and he bolted, but I wasn’t in danger of falling off.” A frown creased his brow.
Deverell chortled at his bravado. “Come. I’ll give you a ride.” He held out his hand.
“Not on your life.” The slim lad thrust his hands behind his back.
“Don’t be obstinate. We may find your mount along the way.” The child was stubborn to a fault. Deverell saw a flash of recognition in the challenging look from the sea-green eyes. He’d never seen the lad before, must be someone’s groom or stable hand. “What is your name?”
“Al. . .Alex.”
“Let me give you a hand up, Alex.”
Deverell grasped the small hand and hoisted him onto the back of his horse. It was a soft hand for a groom. The faint scent of lavender floated on the air. A bend in the road revealed a large meadow with grasses bent heavy with moisture.
“There’s your horse feeding beside the lane. Now you won’t have to explain to your master why he came back without his rider.”
Alex gave a muffled snort and slipped off the side of the mare. He whistled to the bay. The stallion pricked his ears and turned toward the sound. “Come, Prince.”
The boy mounted the horse in one graceful move and set off through the meadow. Deverell watched them gallop across the field and leap a small stream. The lad’s cap flew from his head and floated down as the stallion’s hooves hit the ground.
Deverell broke into laughter. “I’ve been properly fooled.” He gazed at the auburn hair that covered the shoulders and flowed out behind the rider as she sped away.

What do you personally like most about this novel?
I like the characters and their interactions. Deverell’s and Alexandra’s families have been friends for years. Dev has two close friends Lucian, Alexi’s brother, and Stanhope. The three of them solve a murder and save Dev’s brother, Nat, from the hangman. I love the relationship between Nat and a street urchin named Henry. In fact I’ve written their story, Henrietta’s Hoax, and hope to have it published.

What other authors do you especially admire?
Some of my favorites are Anne Perry, Tasha Alexander, Victoria Holt, Deanna Rayburn and C.S. Harris.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read, go to my weekly critique group, spend time with my husband Merle, or take short trips with friends.

Do you have a schedule for writing or do you squeeze it in when you can?
In the morning is good for me, but I also write in the evening. I’m not strict about a certain time, but I like to write everyday. I’m retired so my time is flexible.

What is the nicest thing that ever happened to you as an author?
I was at my critique group when I received ‘the call’ from Lia Brown. When I told them Avalon wanted to publish Deverell’s Dilemma they were so excited for me. I was numb with shock, but when I came out of it we celebrated with hugs and shouts of joy. It was great.

We all have dry times or times when it’s difficult to feel inspired. What refreshes you creatively?
Sometimes after a good night’s sleep I’ll wake up with the answer to a problem I’ve been trying to work out. But brainstorming with my critique group always gives me new ideas.

You can find Kaye’s book at and also visit her one her blog:

Thank you, Kaye, for visiting with me today and we wish you all the best as you continue your writing career!


Shirley said...

Big Congrats on your first sale, Kaye. I'm sure it's the first of many.

Sandy Cody said...

Deverell's Dilemma sounds interesting, Kaye. Good luck with it. I so identify with your experience of sitting down to write a book and realizing I had no idea what I was doing. However, I have to say that learning the ropes has been a great experience ... most of the time. Other times ... well, let's just say it's an "agony and ectasy experience.

Kaye said...

Thanks for stopping by Shirley and
I do relate to the 'agony & ecstasy'
of writing, but I still keep writing.
I think it's become compulsive. I don't know how to stop. LOL

Leigh Verrill-Rhys said...

I know what you mean, Kaye. Compulsion goes a long way getting over the motivation/inspiration/confidence hurdles. Best wishes for Deverell's Dilemma and your career.
PS: Deverell is a variation of Verrill - bet you didn't know that!

Carolyn Brown said...

Kaye, Congratulations on your first sale! Been there; done that on not knowing what I was doing! The book is still sitting in my computer and grows worse every time I look at it...LOL!

Kaye said...

I still have a couple on my computer
that i go back and look at now and then too. I've even edited and rewrote. I keep hoping.

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