Welcome to February’s Authors ’18 Book Interview series! You can check us out on Facebook, GoodReads and www.authors18.com
Author: Amanda Stauffer
Title: Match Made in Manhattan
Genre: Adult Fiction / Women’s Fiction
After two intense, dead-end relationships, serial monogamist Alison finds herself confused, lonely, and drastically out of touch with the world of modern dating. Refusing to wallow, she signs up for a popular dating app and resolves to remain open-minded and optimistic as she explores the New York City singles’ scene. With the click of a button, her adventures begin: On one date, she’s dumped before the first kiss; on another, she dons full HAZMAT gear; she meets a tattooed folk singer turned investment banker, an undercover agent who tracks illegal exotic animals, and dozens of other colorful, captivating personalities.
Where did you get the idea?
My book began as a list of men’s names scrawled on the back of a cocktail napkin. I was at drinks with friends, relating the details of my latest Match.com dates. I’d been dumped before the first kiss, donned full HAZMAT gear on a third date, and, been set up with another date’s mom. And somehow I’d wound up with a dating history that—mapped out on that fateful napkin—formed a quirky yet gripping romantic narrative.
So, names got changed, several men became “composite” characters, and my story became “Alison’s”.
Tell us about your favorite character.
Younger Luke. I’m enchanted by the notion that different people can draw out different sides of us, and also that two people sitting on opposite sides of the table can experience the same conversation or date totally differently. I think he’s the embodiment of these two ideas . . . and also, what a charmer (However, my favorite character on the audiobook is Brooks because OMG.)
If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?
Definitely Dan. At his core, Dan’s a kind-hearted and candid guy who’s a little lost and searching when he meets Alison. Their relationship is the most open, honest, and unadulterated. Plus, they both know how to have a good time. I feel like Dan and I would be buds IRL.
How long did you take to write this book?
Three months of writing; one month of querying; two years to publication.
– What did you remove from this book during the editing process? Many many men. The manuscript I submitted to Skyhorse was 450 pages long. Very little description or transitions were cut (in fact, my editor actually had me add in more description and internal monologue); mostly we extracted entire chapters, which in this case meant complete male characters.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definite plotter. I had this book outlined 5 years before I finally got around to writing it.
What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?
The zone. Once I hit my writerly stride and get into the zone—empathizing with my characters, hearing their voices in my head as I re-read fresh dialogue, being a total nerd and chuckling at what I think are the funny parts as I type them out—I forget to eat or check my phone or go to the bathroom. And being in that zone, transported into the very moment you’re creating as you create it, is SO SATISFYING.
Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?
I skip the offending section and move into the next scene that feels easy, where the words or themes flow more readily… I tend not to circle back to the problem area until I’ve had a couple days’ distance from it, a run or two to clear my head, and an oversized mug of coffee beside me.
Which book influenced you the most?
Amy Cohen’s “The Late Bloomer’s Revolution.” The subjects of our books are quite different, but I found her voice to be so charming, smart, self-deprecating, and relatable, and the message to be so empowering, I read it and thought, “I want to create a narrative voice and protagonist that perfect.” Obviously I didn’t, but at least I tried. . . As a fun aside, long after I read her book—and cited it in my query letter as a comp—Amy and I met in a non-book-related NYC Facebook group, and she actually blurbed my book. I can officially die happy 🙂
What was the most surprising event or experience during your publishing process?
My sister, a voiceover actress, is the narrator on the audiobook version of MATCH MADE IN MANHATTAN (!!!) It’s a much longer story, filled with a tremendous amount of serendipity and perfect timing—and having nothing to do with me or any authorly input—but her agent submitted her to audition, and she landed the role. If you listen to the first 10 seconds you’ll hear her say, “Match Made in Manhattan, written by Amanda Stauffer. Performed by Elenna Stauffer.” And getting to hear those 10 seconds was even more exciting than getting to hold my first paperback copy.
“Match Made in Manhattan works on so many levels. There are the great, juicy dating parts (I wish I could sit in on all the book clubs as they enjoy trading their dating stories.) But there’s also a depth to this book that is such a welcome surprise. Amanda’s writing pulls you in and takes you on the most satisfying journey.” — Amy Cohen, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Late Bloomer’s Revolution
About the Author
Amanda Stauffer is a graduate of Yale and Columbia Universities who works as an architectural conservator, restoring historic landmarks across the country. When she grew frustrated with New York City’s dating scene, Amanda headed to match.com. Her experiences provided her with a lifetime of warm and fuzzy memories, a few friends, and an abundance of material for a career in comedy or a book.
Amanda is a fan of Italian neorealist cinema, mojitos, and—well, you can just read her protagonist’s Match profile on page 20 of this book, because Alison lifted heavily from Amanda’s own profile. An erstwhile expat who has lived in Bangalore, Sicily, and Paris, Amanda currently lives in Manhattan, where she is busy writing her second book.