An Interview with Amanda Stauffer, author of 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.


“(SPOILER) Alison gets her happy ending, but it may not be what you'd expect...”  -- Reality Steve

 “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



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 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.


Prior to the release of Match Made in Manhattan, Amanda Stauffer answered a few questions about her novel and her writing process. Match Made in Manhattan was published by Skyhorse on January 23, 2018.

Question - Please describe what the book is about.

Amanda Stauffer - 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. 

Q - Where did you get the idea?

AS - 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”.

Q - What’s the story behind the title?

AS - My agent overrode my original (more serious-sounding) title and came up with Match Made in Manhattan. Publisher totally dug it, so it stuck.

Q - No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.

AS - 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.

Q - Tell us about your favorite character.

AS - 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.)

Q - If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?

AS - Definitely Dan. At his core, Dan’s a kind-hearted and candid guy who’s a little lost and searching when he meets Alison. Their relationship is the most open, honest, and unadulterated. Plus, they both know how to have a good time. I feel like Dan and I would be buds IRL.

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

AS - 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.

Q - How long did you take to write this book?

AS - Three months of writing; one month of querying; two years to publication.

Q - What kind of research did you do for this book?

AS - 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.

Q - What did you remove from this book during the editing process?

AS – 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.

Q - Are you a plotter or a pantser?

AS - Definite plotter. I had this book outlined 5 years before I finally got around to writing it.

Q - What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?

AS - 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.

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

AS - 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.

Q - Can you share your writing routine?

AS - 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.

Q - Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?

AS - 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.

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

AS - 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.)

Q - How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

AS - One: the one I started writing last year and am still working on – albeit in fits and starts due to day job, publishing promo stuff, etc.

Q - Do you have any writing quirks?

AS - Nothing comes to mind, but I’m quirky in my everyday life so I’m sure I have many writing quirks. . . I just haven’t realized that they’re quirks yet because they seem normal to me.  

Q - Tell us about yourself.

AS - 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.

Q - How did you get into writing?

AS - 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.

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

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

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

AS - Historic structures reports and conservation treatment reports – do those count?

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

AS - 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.

Q - Which book influenced you the most? 

AS - 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 :)

Q - What are you working on right now?

AS - 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. 

Q - What’s your favorite writing advice?

AS - 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.
Q – What book are you currently reading?  

AS - Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari.

Q - What was the most surprising event or experience during your publishing process?

AS - 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 interested in reading Match Made In Manhattan or learning more about Amanda Stauffer, please check out the following links.



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