I’m insanely excited about Kelly Harms’s new book, THE MATCHMAKERS OF MINNOW BAY. I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of it, and I loved every moment. The story is charming, funny, and has some delightful swoony moments. You won’t want to miss it!
Her new book, THE MATCHMAKERS OF MINNOW BAY, has been called “fresh and devastatingly funny,” “delightful,” and “a glorious read,” by an assortment of New York Times bestselling authors and well-bribed reviewers. It’s the story of a woman who has been married for ten long years without realizing it, and the magic that happens when she finally starts paying attention.
See what I mean? It’s amazing! Kelly stopped by to share her thoughts on favorite places, working in publishing, and a sneak peak of a scene from the book!
Where do you love to be?
In a hammock. I have magic hammock radar. If you have a hammock anywhere on your property I will find it, possibly before you do. When I camp I like to sleep in a hammock instead of a tent, and when my son comes along we use the hammock for a reading spot. There really is no more comfortable reading and reclining apparatus out there, and I’ve researched this issue diligently.
What is the hardest thing about your job?
The hardest thing… well, there are a lot of ways to answer that, but something I’ve discovered recently is the challenge of online dating as an author. Fellas want to know what you do, and you want to tell them because you’re proud of your job, and also because you want to show them that you are the kind of lady who prefers dating people who also have jobs. But you can’t tell them any detail at all because you don’t want them to be able to stalk you before you even have a chance to check their hands for axe-murderer callouses. Or, worse than stalking and killing you, they might ask you to read their manuscript.
So then you end up saying something vague like, “I’m a writer,” which makes them ask a million slightly insulting questions to find out if you are a working writer or actually just once wrote an amazon review. This only leaves, “I work in publishing,” which, trust me, you will get zero follow-up questions for. Sometimes it is just easier to tell them you work for the IRS and prepare yourself for the disappointment when they learn the truth.
Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel — something that’s not even in your book.
The main character in MATCHMAKERS is named Lily, but she started out as Iris, and the name change is emblematic of how she started out very differently than she finished. The girls from my first book, THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS OF SHIPWRECK LANE, hatched from my skull fully formed, like two dysfunctional Athenas. Lily dribbled out of my brain like Jell-O still setting up. That’s right, a Jell-O reference for all you Perfection Salad fans out there.
Trying to catch mental Jell-O in your hands is kind of a hopeless endeavor. In the end, Lily didn’t firm up for me until I wrote the chapter about her mentoring a young aspiring artist named Simone. Simone is supposed to practice life drawing and needs a nude model. As I was writing this, Lily surprised me by volunteering for the job and revealing that like many art students, she once did nude modeling for art classes to earn extra money. Then she went on to speak directly to me, the author who was struggling so much to convey her character. It was magical and a little annoying, because then I had to go back to the beginning and rewrite the book with the new understanding of who she was. Here’s the snippet of that scene that finally molded the Jell-O.
I unhook my bra. Like every art student ever, I posed nude for extra money in school. I have zero self-consciousness about it.
“Your boobs are droopy,” Simone tells me.
I raise my eyebrows. “If that’s what you see, start sketching.”
“Why aren’t you embarrassed to be naked?” Simone asks.
“I’m not naked. I have my pants on.”
“Please leave them that way.”
“I promise. Waist up is enough for art school. Plus, it’s still pretty cold in here.”
“Just tell me you’re a little self-conscious,” she pleads.
“Not even a little. When you paint a fruit bowl, you might look hard at each apple, and turn each one over, and look at the shape and the color and find bruises and lumps and see everything there is to see. That’s your job, to see everything. But the apple is just busy being an apple. That’s the apple’s job. What you see has nothing to do with what the apple is.”
“Your apples look more like pears,” she says.
Kelly Harms spent her twenties in the publishing business in NYC wearing uncomfortable shoes and taking spin classes. She is spending her thirties raising
a pack of wolves a wild little boy and a wilder goldendoodle puppy. She plans to spend her forties “resting” in a mental institution.