Interview with Penelope Bloom, author of Miss Matchmaker
17 Aug 2017
What can you tell us about your new release, Miss Matchmaker?
Miss Matchmaker was such a fun book to write. I always tend to have the most fun when the premise of my book has a ton of built-in tension. In this case, our heroine (Mila) leaves the city for a couple weeks to provide her matchmaking services to a client in a small town. The fun begins when she runs into a cowboy who goes by the nickname “Country”. Flirtation, steam, and plenty of witty banter follow in their first few run-ins.
So what’s the problem? Well, Mila doesn’t realize “Country” is actually Lucas Tate, the man she’s being paid a fortune (that she desperately needs) to set her client up with. Of course, Lucas doesn’t realize Mila is a matchmaker either.
Throw some family betrayals, high stakes, and even some physical danger into the mix and you get what I think has been one of my best books to date. I really can’t wait to share it with everyone.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
I’m a little weird when it comes to my reading habits. If I’m reading romance, it’s on my phone through Kindle Unlimited. If I’m reading anything else, it’s paperback. I have a pretty heavy addiction to anything science fiction or fantasy, so I have a lot of Alistair Reynolds, Orson Scott card, and those types in print, as well as some Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, and Robert Jordan.
I honestly haven’t read much romance since I started writing full time in October. I tried to keep reading at first, but found it really hard not to let what I was reading creep into my own stories. So I think my lack of reading the competition is something that helps me stand out with books that you won’t find anywhere else.
You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?
I’d probably invite some of the writers on my bookshelf. I’d bring Patrick Rothfuss and tell him to hurry the heck up and finish the Name of the Wind series, because I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life. To be honest though, I’m a pretty big introvert, and I’d probably never get around to inviting anyone. Even the thought of a dinner party makes my skin itchy! Ugh!
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I really love the rare moments when it feels like my fingers can’t go fast enough, when the words are just pouring out and it feels totally and completely right. I wish I had those moments more often, but I’ve had a few where I’ve just sat back and had a little wave of goosebumps because I know I nailed it.
When I’m not having those moments, I’m usually struggling to push past every change of scene because I’m overwhelmed knowing I could literally take the next scene anywhere at all and I have no idea which one is right for the story. A big part of writing as quickly as I do though is just trusting my instincts and generally going with my gut when it comes to that, but it doesn’t mean the doubts ever go away.
What’s on your writing desk?
Wellllll, right now there are about 8 water bottles, all of which have one or two sips left at the bottom. There’s an energy drink (the white Monster cans are all I like). A sparkling black rasberry can. A giant bag of gluten free pretzels because I’ve been cursed with a gluten sensitivity AND a lactose sensitivity, so I basically just eat chalky, bland food all day. There’s also the laptop I use to write, which I kind of sort of ran over with my car. Twice, technically (to make a long story super short, I was planning to write out of the house, set my bag down by the front wheel before grabbing the mail, forgot the bag was there with my laptop inside, backed over it, drove forward again over the bag, and yeah… It still works, but I had to get a new screen. And it’s kind of bent now, but apparently it doesn’t mind!)
BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?
Given that my biggest hurdle every single day is self-discipline. I’d happily settle for the lame power of being able to just sit down and get my writing done for the day with no distractions and no stress. That or I’d want to be invisible so I could creepily people watch to get ideas for my books!
What scene in Miss Matchmaker was your favorite to write?
I love the scene really early in the book when Mila goes to tell off Lucas for basically being a jerk the first time they meet. She comes storming up to him on his ranch but twists her ankle before she even gets half a sentence out. Of course, being the gentleman he is (and shirtless, ahem) he carries her inside and gives her something for the swelling. The banter between them was really fun to write, and it felt super natural and funny. I also thought that scene was the first time I was able to really imagine them together and see what their dynamic would be, which is a pretty critical step for me when I’m trying to make the relationship real.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I wouldn’t say I have a quote I live by, but I think in terms of my career, my philosophy has always been to strive for better. It sounds a little cheesy, I guess, but that’s just what it is. I don’t ever want to think I’ve written the perfect book or the perfect scene. I always want to have an open mind to critical reviews, comments, and my own observations about how I can keep getting better at what I do. When I look back at the relatively short time I’ve been an author, my greatest point of pride is knowing how far I’ve already come since I first started, and that’s only possible because I will never stop trying to improve.
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