- What was your motivation or inspiration in writing such a wonderful book?
Haha, you are just the nicest. Thank you for referring to it as wonderful! 🙂 Match Made in Manhattan’s “origin story” is that it 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 swapped far-fetched (but true) work stories with a federal agent. 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”.
- What characters if any are based on people that you actually know?
I tend to write what I know. That said, as a work of fiction, 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 bear uncanny resemblances to their nonfictional counterparts.
- What are some goals that you want your readers to take away after reading your book?
This is such a good question. The lion’s share of dating-centric novels focus on a single relationship or love triangle, often equating “success” with receipt of a diamond ring. What I wanted to communicate in my book was that myriad first dates that go nowhere with random men don’t have to be terrible. They can be fun! When you focus on the process, not the results, dating can be super instructive, interesting, and invigorating. Rather than dwell on the frustrations that can come out of trying to find your “Match” or “person”, I wrote a book underscoring the diversity and colorfulness of the men that populate New York City, and all that they can teach you if you’re open to achieving a different kind of success.
There are so many threads and messages buried in those 312 pages, but I sum up (what I think are) the most poignant themes in the final chapter. If I had to pick just one, I guess it would be: Finding your match can definitely be a challenge, but the dating process itself needn’t feel onerous or hopeless. If you’ve learned even one thing from your date — be it about a job you never knew existed, a neighborhood you’ve never visited, or a new outlook — then you’re ultimately emerging net positive.
- What are some of your down time or relaxing hobbies?
I like to run, read (of course), glassblow, and bake cakes and all manner of desserts that require a blowtorch.
- What genres of books do you like to read?
My bookshelves are predominantly lined with literary fiction, though I’ve got a shelf of historical fiction and way too many books on architectural history. I didn’t read chick lit growing up, but now I obviously do, and that genre has a few dedicated shelves in my bedroom as well.
- Are you writing any books that you care share with us?
Indeed! I’m midway 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, and settings that transport the reader from the northeast to Napa to Paris to Hawaii, the book follows these women from their teenage years through to adulthood and motherhood. The manuscript features a strong, chatty narrative voice, not dissimilar from that of MATCH MADE IN MANHATTAN, though it delves into more complex themes, like the give-and-take of female friendship, and how family upbringing, wealth, health, and failure can alternately bolster and undermine sisterhood—and how alternately easy and hard it can be to forgive and forget.
- How would you like the readers to contact you?
I love hearing from readers, and they can contact me through Instagram (@aspark711), Twitter (@aspark7), or message me through my website (amandastauffer.wordpress.com)
- Is there anything about yourself or “Match Made in Manhattan ” that you want to share?
My protagonist, Alison, is more or less me, so once you read the book, there will be very little about me that surprises you. As for fun facts, I’ve got 2:
- 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.
- 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.
in The United States
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 book or a career in comedy.
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.