February’s Author 18 Feature: Amanda Stauffer, Match Made In Manhattan

Amanda Stauffer’s gorgeous voice had me by about line three of the interview I received from our Author 18 collective. She is fresh and funny and I can’t wait to read Match Made In Manhattan.

Amanda’s book is Women’s Fiction, and is published by Skyhorse Publishing. It hit the shelves late January which means I am a bit tardy with this interview, but it also means you can go get it right now! (Over HERE on Barnes and Noble  for y’all in the United States, and for all my South African friends, over here, on LOOT )

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Match Made in Manhattan

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.

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Where did you get the idea, Amanda?

“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.”

Are your characters based on real people, or do they come from your imagination?

“Alison’s family and friends are effectively my favorite real-life people transferred to
the page. The men are a bit more complicated: though inspired by my own dates and
interactions, first their backgrounds and identifying details were changed, then many
were fused into composite characters, and the end result is that they’re all fictional at
this point.”

How long did you take to write this book?

“Three months of writing; one month of querying; two years to publication.”

What kind of research did you do for this book?

“Fun research only 😊 I explored the most popular dating websites and downloaded the hottest current dating apps so that I could write knowledgeably about the different functionalities of the various brands. I sought out trendy bars, restaurants, and cultural landmarks around New York City to keep the settings up to date.”

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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; 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.”

What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?

“Marketing and PR. Is that a cop out? But it’s true – that is by far the part of publishing that is most antithetical to my nature.”

Can you share your writing routine?

“I have no routine. I generally only write when I have 2+ hours of uninterrupted quiet time, but 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.”

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.”

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

“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)”

Tell us about yourself.

“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.”

How did you get into writing?

“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.”

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

“Run, read, glassblow, bake cakes and all manner of desserts that require a blowtorch.”

Apart from novel writing, do you do any other kind(s) of writing?

“Historic structures reports and conservation treatment reports – do those count?

What’s your favourite writing advice?

“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.”

Share something about you most people probably don’t know.

“My protagonist, Alison, is more or less me, so once you read the book, there will be very little about me that you don’t know.”

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.”
 
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.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Website:  https://amandastauffer.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @aspark7

Instagram: @aspark711
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/34138510-match-made-in-manhattan

 

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