We're pleased to have Kelly Harms back at CLC to celebrate the pub day of her sophomore novel, The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay. She was last here in 2013 to feature her delightful debut, The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane (reviewed here). We hope she doesn't wait another three years to publish her next book! Thanks to St. Martin's Press, we have THREE copies of The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay to give away!
Visit Kelly at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
A young painter, Lily has reached a crossroads in her life. Her career hasn't taken off, her best friend may no longer be the trusted friend she thought, her boyfriend is a disappointment, and now she can't keep up with the rising cost of living in the city. With no one to turn to, Lily is forced to move from her beloved apartment, but while packing she comes across a piece of mail that had slipped to the back of her junk drawer: a letter detailing further action needed to finalize the annulment of a quickie Vegas wedding. Ten years ago!
Lily decides it's time to turn over a new leaf and the first item on her list of things to fix is getting the annulment... but you can't just send a reply ten years later, "Hey by the way we are still married." This is something that must be addressed in person. Lily takes to the road to track down her husband - the charming, fun, and sexy man she connected with all those years ago - Ben Hutchinson.
Ben Hutchinson left a wealthy dot-com lifestyle behind to return home to his family and the small town he loves, Minnow Bay. He's been living off the grid and the last thing he expects is a wife he didn't know he had to show up on his doorstep.
By chance, Lily arrives at the magical Minnow Bay Inn, and there she will discover not just a place to lay her head, but new friends, a thriving art community, and maybe even the love of her life. (Courtesy of Amazon.)
What was the experience of writing your second novel like in comparison to writing your first one?
Much harder. I had fun writing Matchmakers itself, but no fun writing the other two much less coherent books that ended up in the “writing to learn from but never show a soul” files. Such large files they are.
What is a favorite compliment you received on your writing? What piece of constructive feedback was most helpful to you?
Kate Moretti, a generous early reader and author of the unputdownable THE VANISHING YEAR, called my main character, Lily, “Shopaholic’s Becky Bloomwood meets Capote's Holly Golightly.” That made my year. I wasn’t writing with either of them in mind, but as I was tapping away, I wondered, “Will anyone relate to a character this flawed? Will readers forgive her foibles?” and I think if Kate is right about her comparison, there is some hope!
I utterly rely on my trusted editor and agent for first reads. Most recently on this new book my editor told me simply: "How about more kissing?" Thy will be done.
Have you based any characters on yourself?
There is a bit of me in everyone except the gallery owner Jenny (who is way cooler than me). Simone is the know-it-all teenager with the improbable dream. Colleen is struggling with ambitions outside of her control, Lily is the Queen of Bad Decisions, and Ben thinks he just wants to be left alone but can’t stay out of the fray.
If you could cast The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay as a movie, who would play the lead roles?
I don’t know! Suggestions please! Ben is a tall bearded lumberjack. Lily is fine boned and big-eyed. Maybe Alison Brie or Ellie Kemper? But back to Ben! Let’s all go look up pictures of hot lumberjacks now.
Tell us about something funny your son recently said or did.
Funny is all so relative to a five year old. He is in the poop joke phase. At least I hope it is a phase. I try to rise above it, but the other day he was meeting a piano teacher and started laughing because, obviously, “pee” is the first sound in the word piano. And then it just slipped out of my mouth: “Good thing it’s not Poop-Ano.” Now my son thinks I should have my own HBO comedy special.
What is your favorite thing about living in Madison?
It’s summer in Madison, Wisconsin, which is basically one long outdoor party. Memorial Day started with a playground fete for 30 kids and their grownups to celebrate my son’s birthday, and then there follows non-stop music and food festivals, beach trips, lake vacations and hikes, and then on Labor Day we all collapse in a heap on the back porch.
What is the last TV series you binge watched?
Oh my stars, I mainlined Crazy Ex-Girlfriend over a week, stopping only to text my friends and tell them to start watching too. It is a damn good thing there is only one season on Netflix or I would never have gotten this post written. Go check it out!
Thanks to Kelly for the fun and laughter and to St. Martin's Press for sharing her book with our readers.
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Giveaway ends August 14th at midnight EST.