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Introducing Amanda Stauffer: Match Made in Manhattan

Today I’m departing from my usual focus on historical fiction to introduce my friend Amanda Stauffer and her new novel (released today by Skyhorse), Match Made in Manhattan. We met through Authors18, an online group of writers whose first novels are being published this year. Match Made in Manhattan is the story of the online dating trials and tribulations of Alison, a New Yorker in her late twenties who decides to join after a long-term relationship fizzles out. When I read this novel I quickly became invested in Alison’s dates due to the charm of her narrative voice, which is chatty, personal, and genuine. I was transported back to my 20’s and felt like I was commiserating with a friend about our strange dates. Each chapter features a new man Alison meets online. In a rom-com style, with strong sub-themes of friendship and independence, Amanda’s novel offers probing reflections on relationships and the individual choices we make.
On what inspired her to write the novel, Amanda explains, “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 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.’”
Amanda and I share a fascination with exploring the same situations and relationships from different characters’ points of view. That fascination is why she says Younger Luke is her favorite character in Match Made in Manhattan. Amanda says, “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 [Younger Luke is] the embodiment of these two ideas . . . and also, what a charmer.”
Personally, my favorite character in Amanda’s novel is John the Secret Agent. You’ll have to read her book to find out why. ????
I was interested to know what Amanda removed from the novel during the editing process. She answered, “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.”
I also wanted to know what surprised her most during the publishing process, and she had this to say: “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.”
If you’re not already itching to get your hands on a copy of Amanda’s book, consider this glowing endorsement by Amy Cohen, New York Times bestselling author of The Late Bloomer’s Revolution:
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.”
You can buy Amanda’s novel from these online retailers:
Barnes & Noble
If you’d like to meet Amanda in person, she’ll be at The Strand Bookstore in New York City tomorrow (!), and she’ll also be speaking on a panel with me and Elizabeth LaBan on February 20 at Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn. (I’ll be featuring Elizabeth in my next blog post.)
You can also connect with Amanda online:
Twitter: @aspark7
Instagram: @aspark711

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