“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
I’m so happy to welcome Amanda Stauffer and her debut book MATCH MADE IN MANHATTAN to Daring Debuts today!
About the book: 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.
Match Made in Manhattan is a fast-paced, contemporary story about the struggles of dating in the digital age. Replete with online profiles, witty dialogue, e-mails, and texts, and a super-supportive group of female friends, this all-too-real and relatable debut novel will have readers laughing, crying, and rooting for Alison.
Sharon: Amanda, can you tell us what the book is about?
Amanda: Of course! Written in a serial/episodic format, the book follows the upbeat, open-minded protagonist, Alison, through her attempts to branch out and meet new people, with each chapter featuring a new man she meets online. In a rom-com style, with strong sub-themes of friendship and independence, MATCH MADE IN MANHATTAN offers probing reflections on relationships and the individual choices we make.In a rom-com style, with strong sub-themes of friendship and independence, MATCH MADE IN MANHATTAN offers probing reflections on relationships and the individual choices we make. - Amanda Stauffer Click To Tweet
The 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”.
Sharon: I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that. But at least you got a book out of it. And a great title. How did that happen?
Amanda: My agent overrode my original (more serious-sounding) title and came up with MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN. Publisher totally dug it, so it stuck.
Sharon: Without spoilers, can you share something we won’t find out from the book jacket?
Amanda: The book is rather self-referential with a handful of “Easter Eggs,” in-jokes, and threads woven throughout. So on each subsequent read, you’ll emerge with a greater, deeper understanding of the protagonist and of my intended themes.
Sharon: Who’s your favorite character?
Amanda: 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.)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. - Amanda Stauffer Click To Tweet
Sharon: How long did you take to write this book?
Amanda: Three months of writing; one month of querying; two years to publication.
Sharon: Seriously? I am in awe. Did you have to remove anything during the editing process?
Amanda: 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.
Sharon: As an author with a lot of men in her book, losing men makes me sad. LOL. What is your favorite part of your writing process?
Amanda: 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.Being in that ZONE, transported into the very moment you’re creating as you create it, is SO SATISFYING. - Amanda Stauffer Click To Tweet
Sharon: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Amanda: Start building a platform now. It will make selling your novel a million times easier (Note: I still haven’t done this. But time-machine Amanda will be a much more successful author than current Amanda)
Sharon: Do you have a day job?
Amanda: I’m an architectural conservator, which means I spend my days wielding scalpels and syringes attempting to save historic buildings one brick or paint chip at a time.
Sharon: What an interesting career! How did you get into writing?
Amanda: I outlined “my dating novel” five years before I got to sit down and write it. When I moved to Paris and didn’t have a visa to work in the EU, I freelanced as a copy editor and proofreader for a major YA publishing house in the US, so that I could work remotely and still earn a living. Being around the business of books – and having an unpredictable schedule with busy streaks followed by multiple weeks of down time – inspired me to finally sit down and write it.
Sharon: I’d love to move to Paris! Which book influenced you the most?
Amanda: 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 🙂
Sharon: How wonderful! What’s your favourite writing advice?
Amanda: I guess the ever-timely “never give up” ? Nearly every author I know (myself included) had a long and bumpy road to pub date. I guess if we all gave up when it started to feel onerous, there would be many fewer books in the libraries.“Never give up” Nearly every author I know (myself included) had a long and bumpy road to pub date. I guess if we all gave up when it started to feel onerous, there would be many fewer books in the libraries. - Amanda Stauffer Click To Tweet
Sharon: What was the most surprising event or experience during your publishing process?
Amanda: 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.
Sharon: What a wonderful thing to have your sister read your book! Thanks so much for spending the day with us, Amanda. And I hope you have a dazzling debut!
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.
You can find MATCH MADE IN MANHATTAN at Barnes and Noble and other book retailers.
Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes novels of suspense, adventure, and love. The author of the Romantic Suspense Deadly Force Series, her debut book Every Deep Desire releases on March 6, 2018 and is still available for pre-order.