It was the first novel I’d ever written, and frankly, I was clueless. A dear friend of mine had suggested I write romance because he knows that I’m a true romantic and thought I’d be good at it. So, I assumed I was writing a “romance” without knowing that “romance” like “sci-fi,” “mystery,” and “thrillers”—to name a few-is considered “genre fiction.”—something I didn’t regularly gravitate to as a reader. I thought a “romance” was synonymous with “love story”—as in, oh, say, Jane Eyre.
Consequently, I never set out to write a “romance” in the literary genre interpretation of the word. The idea for the plot came to me from another friend who lamented that it was so difficult for women over thirty to find True Love in New York City. Kathryn, the heroine, is named after Kathryn Howard, Henry VIII’s petite, reheaded fifth wife. And I suppose she loses her head, so to speak, in Miss Match, but that wasn’t what I was thinking at the time. Her surname, Lamb, is an homage to one of my drama teachers when I was at Fieldston, my high school alma mater.
Some of the men in the story are drawn from life, with a generous fictive overlay. Some of the things that happened to Kathryn in the novel actually happened to me or to friends of mine.
Miss Match is a valentine to my hometown, New York City. It feels nostalgic to look back on the text now. It was the first book I sold, and marked my debut; so it will always be close to my heart. And although it was published in March, 2002, it was written several months before 9/11, when the world felt a little bit less cynical than it feels now. Consequently, there are elements of the book that make it now read like a “period piece.”
Except in some niche markets, matchmaking services have been replaced in large part by internet dating sites, where nearly everything happens in cyberspace until a couple decides to actually meet face to face. Some of the personal touch is gone. And the idea of viewing a potential date’s videotape by coming into the office, is probably a notion as outdated just a few short years after publication, as, say, using a typewriter. These days, everything could be accessed online with a protected password.
Therefore, reading the book today yields an entirely different experience than it did just a few short years ago when we were less technologically plugged in. The story now feels somewhat quaint, and yet entirely relevant. Regardless of whatever technology will become integral to our lives in another few years, the yearning for personal connection and fulfillment-to love and be loved-remain constant and evergreen.