Interview with Amanda Stauffer, Author of Match Made in Manhattan

Thursday, January 04, 2018
Today we're chatting with Amanda Stauffer, author of the forthcoming novel, Match Made in Manhattan (Skyhorse, January 23, 2018). This interview is a blast! Read on to find out why she ultimately wrote her book as a novel instead of a memoir, the benefits of writing outside (in Paris and New York), whether she's a plotter or a pantser, what you shouldn't do when marketing your book, and what she's up to now with her second book.

About Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer (Skyhorse, 2018)

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 federal agent, 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.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (January 23, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1510728090
ISBN-13: 978-1510728097
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Humor, Contemporary

Match Made in Manhattan is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Skyhorse, and Target.

.................interview with Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

WOW: Thank you so much for being here Amanda! Congratulations on Match Made in Manhattan - how exciting!

You lived in Paris and New York—two wonderful cities to draw inspiration from. You mentioned your most productive writing sessions happened in public places. Where do you like to write in public, and what is your routine once you sit down? Are there certain types of writing—like writing certain scenes or dialogue—that work better outdoors?

Amanda: I prefer to write in public primarily because I’m much more productive when I can’t access Internet or log onto Wifi. All of Match Made in Manhattan was written while I was living in Paris, and I can still remember where certain scenes were written (The Tom chapter: a creperie below my apartment. The correspondence with Older Luke from Istanbul: a bench in the Tuileries Garden.) A lot of my current WIP has been written on the roof of my building in Manhattan or in the Swedish café around the corner from me. To be honest, I’m not really picky about which scenes get written in which environments—I’ll take any free chair in a café, park, library, etc. and pick up wherever I left off. I generally only write when I have 2+ hours of uninterrupted quiet time, though between work/life/family, that’s been pretty unpredictable the last few years. So as long as my laptop is within reach, I write whenever I can, wherever I am.

WOW: Sounds absolutely dreamy (and delicious)!

You mentioned you'd been on a myriad of first dates through, which served as inspiration for your novel. Are any of the characters and situations based on life experiences? Please share one (or more)!

Amanda: Alison’s experiences are inspired by my own. 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; I’d fallen—hard—for a tattooed indie-singer-turned-investment banker, and swapped far-fetched (but true) work stories with a federal agent. Four out of five of these things now happen to Alison in the book.

I tend to write what I know. That said, as a work of fiction and in order to protect people’s privacy, all the male suitors have been fictionalized. However, unlike the men, Alison’s funny, generous, and wonderfully supportive friends and family bear uncanny resemblances to their nonfictional counterparts.

WOW: And the men sigh with relief I'm sure!

Why did you decide to write the book as fiction, as opposed to memoir?

Amanda: It was actually decided for me. I queried agents on an earlier iteration of the manuscript . . . which was memoir. Six months later, my agent had received one very thoughtful revise-and-resubmit and half a dozen rejections. The resounding consensus was that I needed a bigger platform in order to sell it as memoir. So, I spent time reading a lot of possible comp titles in commercial women’s fiction, and I rewrote sections of the manuscript to include some of the traditional underpinnings of the genre: workplace scenes, interior monologue, a quasi-“black moment.” And necessarily, a lot of the men became composite characters, and all identifying details were changed.

The protagonist, however, didn’t change a whole lot, so when people ask me about Alison’s character, her decisions, her job—I often find myself inadvertently (and embarrassingly) flipping between the first and third person. I need to work on this.

WOW:  I'm sure it gets confusing given the roots of Match Made in Manhattan. I hear you're working on a second book. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Amanda: I am! I’m about halfway through a character-driven women’s fiction novel focusing on the ebbs and flows of a female friendship forged freshman year of college between two very different women: an outgoing, driven, hyper-rational New Yorker, and her ethereal, artistic, moody classmate, who hails from a broken-down log cabin in Kentucky. With chronological chapters that skip forward months and years in time, the book features a strong, chatty, and intelligent narrative voice, not dissimilar from that of Match Made in Manhattan, though it delves into more complex themes of the give-and-take of female friendship, and how alternately easy and hard it can be to forgive and forget.

WOW: You clearly are very driven, but let me ask, are you a plotter or pantser? We'd love to hear about your writing method.

Amanda: Definite plotter. I had this book outlined 5 years before I finally got around to writing it, and the “outline” was 80 pages long.

WOW: Your book is getting close to its publication date—congratulations! What are some of the ways you are marketing it, and do you have any tips for fellow authors?

Amanda: Oh goodness. This could be my next book – though I’m leery of giving any advice until we see if my efforts actually reap rewards. While I was incredibly self-conscious and shy about asking authors for advice on my agent/publisher/contract questions, by the time the marketing and PR phases rolled around, I lost all inhibition and asked every author I knew for a phone call or coffee date so I could pick their brains. While it was unanimous that there is no “secret sauce,” I did get a lot of advice on what people tried that didn’t work. For example, many authors I know found that paid ads on Facebook and certain daily deal services didn’t yield sales, ditto for self-funded book tours. Hence I never pursued those avenues. As for what I did do, I pitched constantly. I created an excel document of over 150 print and digital media sites, book bloggers, and bookstagrammers who I hoped might review my novel, then I stalked them and wrote personal(ish) e-mails pitching the book and offering a galley copy. This took a tremendous amount of time that I had been unprepared to spend. On the bright side, a good number of people wrote back requesting galleys, but my book isn’t out yet, so TBD how many will run reviews, or if those reviews will be favorable.

WOW: Amanda, it certainly has been a pleasure! We hope to hear more from you! (maybe an upcoming book blog tour? wink wink )

Find Amanda and Match Made in Manhattan online:




Sioux Roslawski said...

Crystal--Thanks for the interview.

Amanda--Congratulations on the soon-to-be birth of your book. Match Made in Manhattan sounds like an entertaining read. Good luck, and thanks for sharing what you learned from other authors in regards to what worked and what didn't.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great interview, ladies!

Amanda ~ Your book sounds like a blast! I'm looking forward to reading it. It's so interesting that you changed it from memoir to fiction, and that has me wondering if I should do the same with my memoir-in-progress. Thanks for sharing some tips on promotion, and good luck on your launch. :)

Mary Horner said...

I'm also working on a memoir-of-sorts and have considered turning it into fiction. Your information has given me much food for thought!

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