Tuesday, August 9, 2016

**GIVEAWAY** Interview-Review Kelly Harms - The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay

I interviewed Kelly last year when her debut, The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane.  
Today she's here to talk about her sophomore novel  just released today,  The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay. I hope you enjoy our conversation, my review and stick around to enter for a chance to win a copy for yourself!!

ISBN-13: 9781250070616
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Release Date: 08/09/2016
Length: 288pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound/Publisher


“Delightful, and sure to captivate readers and gain new fans for author Kelly Wimmer Harms. Sparkling dialogue and a winning heroine, who finds her big-girl panties amid the disaster zone her life has become and head in a new direction, finding love along the way, it had me turning the pages into the night.”—Eileen Goudge, New York Times bestselling author of Garden of Lies

Lily Stewart has reached a crossroads in her life. Her painting career hasn't taken off, her best friend has changed beyond recognition, her relationship is a constant 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. From ten years ago!
Lily decides it's time to gather up the pieces of her life, and the first item on her list of things to fix is that annulment... but you can't just send a text ten years later reading, "Hey BTW we are still married." This is something that must be addressed in person, so Lily decides to track down her husband - the charming, enigmatic man she connected with all those years ago.
Ben Hutchinson left a high-profile dot-com lifestyle behind to return home to his family and the small lake town he loves, Minnow Bay. He's been living off the grid with the express purpose of making it hard to be found—so the last thing he expects is a wife he didn't know he had making her presence known.
By chance, Lily finds her way to the magical Minnow Bay Inn. There she will discover not just a place to lay her head, but new friends, new inspiration, and maybe even a new chance to fall in love.
Kelly Harms lights up the page in this story of the surprising beauty of past mistakes and the unexpected pleasures of correcting them.
The Giveaway is for One Print Copy
US ONLY of The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter
Thanks St. Martin's Press
Good Luck!

Read an excerpt courtesy St. Martin's Press:


“I think I’ve looked at this one too much,” my best friend Renee says to me as we come around the corner and find what I suspect is Magritte’s most annoying piece. It’s got the same strong lines and supreme confidence of his most famous work, The Son of Man, the fancy guy with the bowler hat with a green apple floating in front of his face. But the subject matter of Time Transfixed is very different—a flat fireplace in a streamlined drawing room, with the perspective angled from lower-left corner to upper right, so you know the room is a room, not a box. And of course, the ultra-black locomotive made out of a steam pipe thrusting out of the fireplace. Like it’s … you know.
“Yeah, me too,” I agree. “Or maybe the idea of Time Transfixed is just not sitting well with me right now,” I say. It is the day before art school graduation. Four years living with my best friend and making art and looking at art and eating, sleeping, drinking up art, and tomorrow it is all over.
Time is most certainly not feeling very transfixed.
“Magritte preferred a different translation for the French,” she tells me. “Something about stabbing time with a knife. It’s a lot more aggressive, more active that way.”
“I wish I could stab time with a knife.”
“No, you don’t.”
“Easy for you to say. You’re going off to law school after graduation. Law school, Renee. You’re going to be a lawyer, and make tons of money, and wear suits.” I pause at that. “Have you really thought this through?”
She laughs warmly at me. “Of course I have! It’s going to be great. I love arguing. And you don’t have to wear suits unless you’re in court.”
“Do you even own a suit?” I ask her.
She laughs. “Just the one I bought for the interview. And it was separates so I don’t think it counts. Don’t worry, Lily. I’m still me even if I’m going to be a lawyer. Law school won’t change the fact that I don’t wear pantyhose.”
“When will you sculpt?”
Renee shrugs. “There will be time. Or I can always set it aside for a little while, come back when I’m more inspired. It hasn’t really been as fun for me since … well, since I started planning my future.”
I look at her sideways, thinking, That is what you get for always worrying about your future.
“I don’t think you’ll survive without your art.”
Renee tilts her head at me, looking away from the Magritte for the first time. “Or maybe that’s more you than me. You need to be covered in paint every hour of every day. You are the one who’s talented. You’re the one with the passion.”
“You’re talented! You have passion!”
“Remember what they said to us at orientation freshman year?”
“No,” I say honestly. “Something about reporting date rape?”
“Besides that. They said, if you can do something besides art, you should.”
I open my arms in question. “Well, that’s everyone, though. I can do lots of other things. I can sort of play the piano. I make a good espresso. And a good martini.”
“They meant do any other job. They meant if your soul wouldn’t die from not making art, don’t make art.”
“I think that’s a lousy litmus test,” I say. “Soul death is kind of an extreme bar to set.”
“And yet for you, I think you meet it. You are destined to do this.” She gestures at the museum, as though I am supposed to end up in a place like this. When, much more likely, I’d be lucky to get paid to paint the side of a barn.
“So I’m destined to be poor and tortured for at least the next fifty years, and you, my best friend in the whole world, are destined to sue people for a living?”
Renee smiles mildly. “Well, that’s what I’m hoping.”
I gesture to the Magritte. “I am the fireplace. All out of whack and stagnant. And you are the locomotive, doing useful things and plowing ahead.”
“Actually, I think the locomotive is supposed to be his penis.”
I snort. “You think everything in art is genitals.”
Renee shrugs. “It isn’t?”
We laugh. But my laugh is melancholy. Four years in art school together. Four years living together as best friends, telling each other everything, seeing each other at our absolute worst and absolute best. How can it be over already? How come time isn’t just a little more transfixed?
“There’s room for you to stay in my apartment any time you visit,” I tell her. “It’s such a sweet place; you’re going to be so jealous.”
“I’m just jealous that you don’t have to live in South Bend, Indiana, for the next two years. Promise you’ll visit every weekend you don’t have to work.” Renee grabs my hand. “I can’t believe we won’t be living together anymore. I don’t even know how that’s supposed to work. About seventy-five percent of my clothes are actually your clothes. I’m going to have to go shopping. Promise when you come you’ll bring your Seven jeans for me to wear?”
“Of course. Me, tequila, Seven jeans. I won’t even call first.”
“Perfect. See, things don’t have to change that much. It’s only a few hours in the car. Plus, I’ll have all those law school hotties rounded up for you to date.”
“You are the best friend, Renee. Let’s trade keys tomorrow before the ceremony starts.”
“If you haven’t locked yourself out before then,” Renee says, speaking of my truly extraordinary ability to trap myself out of cars, dorms, studios, and apartments.
I ignore her. “And then when law school is over you can move in with me.”
“I might meet someone, you know,” she says vaguely. “Fall in love. Move to the suburbs.”
“Don’t even joke!”
A shadow crosses Renee’s face. I work very hard not to see it. It feels like the shadow of the locomotive. “Anyway,” she says eventually, “you think you’ll still be in that apartment in two years?”
“Renee, I am going to die in that apartment. In eighty years they will find me in there surrounded by bad paintings, half-eaten by cats. And you know what? I’m pretty okay with that.”
“Well,” she says, turning on her heels and making for the MirĂ³. “As long as you have a plan.”

Copyright © 2016 by Kelly Harms

Kelly hi! Welcome back to The Reading Frenzy.
Tell my readers about your sophomore offering, The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay.
Thank you so much, Deb! So the new book:  Matchmakers of Minnow Bay. Let’s call it a book about fixing old mistakes by making new mistakes. The new mistakes are way more fun.

I love second chance romances.
Between your male, Ben and female, Lily protagonists, who was the more challenging to write and why?
Ben was so easy. If men in real life were as easy as Ben was on the page, I’d have a harem by now. Lily fought me every step of the way. She isn’t the type of person who makes decisions in her own best interest, and this makes her very unpredictable and hard to plot around. Luckily Ben was happy to march in step to Lily’s aimless tango and it all worked together in the end.

Sarah Addison Allen says about your debut “A delicious concoction of reality and fairy tale--the ideal summer book!” What a great line!
Did you include magic in your latest novel too?
I think fantasy is the best word for this one. The town of Minnow Bay is a fantasy town, like Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, where people aren’t perfect, but they sure are interesting and they know how to take care of each other. I wanted readers to be inspired by the idea of community and I loved writing a place so small that one midnight kiss would echo through town before the sun came up.

Kelly your debut, The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane and your new novel, Matchmakers of Minnow Bay have really catchy titles.
Tell us how they were chosen?
Thanks! Naming Matchmakers was fun but my excellent editor Laurie Chittenden had to save me from myself because I had some real stinkers on the brainstorm list including “Checking Out at the Minnow Bay Inn.” Which I will save for a cozy mystery series.

Many authors say the urgencies of deadlines and such was a shock with their second book.
Did you also feel this way?
Yes, and I solved this by having ridiculously long deadlines.

Kelly youve sat on both sides of the publishing table and you even mentioned in our last interview that you miss rubbing shoulders with the people in the industry but as your roll as author you love working in your pajama pants.
Which job do you think is more demanding?
I think they are very different kinds of demanding. Authorship and single parenting are a particularly interesting combination and it’s certainly the hardest work I’ve ever done. And, as I look down the hall and see my son building an outrageously elaborate world out of Lego, Magnatiles, and the couch cushions, I feel it’s the best work too.

I was checking out your website and it hasnt been updated for awhile and you havent tweeted lately either, yet youre very active on Facebook.
I was just reflecting on this as I was renovating my website last week! Between publications, some things happened in my life that reshaped my idea of a social circle. I needed real time friendship, had to conserve my emotional energy, and I wanted to shrink my world down to something manageable. Now it’s time to open the circle again and see what wonderful things come in. And as I do, I plan to be careful to notice when my dearest friends are getting quiet too, so I can be for them what they have been to me.

Kelly its been three years between books.
Will the next one come sooner and are you working on it now?
Heh! You better believe it. I love this new project on my laptop right now. I cannot wait to share it with the world! And tell you all about it when that happens.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Will you be touring with this release and are your events listed?

I prefer hiding at my desk to public appearances for all but a few occasions—to be sure to know when I peek my head out, Like my page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorkellyharms/ or sign up for my news emails at www.kellyharms.com.

My Review
The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay
by Kelly Harms

Harms’ sophomore offering, The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay is a deferred coming of age story, a story about friendship, love and starting over. Her characters run the gamut from straight-laced to ultra quirky. Her town of Minnow Bay was quaint, eccentric and as much of a character as any of her actors. Her dialogue was easy to read and kept the flow of the story going. Her protagonist Lily is portrayed at first as a bit of an air-headed pushover who lets her friends and lovers lead her by the nose and I personally wanted to shake her a few times. But it was the way Harms beautifully manipulates Lily from a clueless yet steadfast doormat into a strong capable woman at the end that rocked this read.

To say artist Lily Stewart was having an off week would be a gross understatement. She’s being evicted from the only place she’s called home for the last ten years. Her so-called friends won’t lend her a dime or give her a place to sleep until she can land on her feet. She’s totally tapped out financially, her artists muse has taken an extended vacation and while cleaning out a kitchen drawer while packing she discovers that her trip to Vegas nine and a half years ago just keeps on giving because that stranger she married on a whim, yeah well she never filed the annulment papers and they’re still man and wife. So she’s putting her real life on hold and is off to some middle of nowhere town called Minnow Bay Wisconsin to rectify that situation. What she finds when she gets there is not what she expected.

 Kelly's debut

Connect with Kelly - Website - Facebook - Twitter

MEET Kelly:
Kelly Harms is the author of The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane and The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay. She has also worked with New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors, Edgar, RITA, and Agatha award winners, and Indie Next List Picks in her time as an editor at a division of HarperCollins and later as an agent at the Jane Rotrosen Agency. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her son Griffin and puppy Scout.

Today's Gonereading item is:
The Authors playing card game
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  a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Oh, I think this one would be a fantastic read with such a set up. I haven't read the first book, but I agree about the great title names.
    Haha, glad I'm not the only one who is still trying to keep all the social media spots up to date and taking my time between books.

    Enjoyed the interview and review, Debbie!

  2. I would treasure this delightful novel which sounds captivating and lovely. I read the first book and loved it. The author is so talented, creative and writes with depth. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway.

    1. Thanks for sharing traveler, I'm glad you enjoyed her debut
      Good Luck

  3. Great excerpt and interview! Thanks for sharing both!

  4. I read another review of this yesterday and liked the sound of it. Not so sure about Lily though especially at the beginning, but what I notice is I demand far more from book characters than myself!! Emilie Richards talks about anxiety and deadlines in her most recent post, I guess it never goes away. Definitely putting this one on my reading list just to see how compassionate I can be with Lily!

    1. Thanks Kathryn there is definitely a fine line that is easily crossed by a frustrating character but I think you'll find that Lily doesn't reach that point, she didn't for me anyway. I hope you get to read it!

  5. LOL on the ridiculously long deadlines. Sounds like a great read!

  6. I didn't read her debut but after reading your interview with her, I am adding it to my 'to be read' list. Thanks