Former Deb Kelly Harms Takes the Deb Interview + A Giveaway of THE MATCHMAKER OF MINNOW BAY

matchmakersWe are thrilled to welcome back a former Deb, Kelly Harms, whose second novel, THE MATCHMAKER OF MINNOW BAY, follows in the delightful footsteps of her debut, THE GOODLUCK GIRLS OF SHIPWRECK LANE. Frustrated painter Lily Stewart can’t pay the rent on her apartment, so she packs up to leave…and, in the back of a drawer, finds a letter telling her her impulsive Las Vegas marriage of ten years before isn’t quite as annulled as she thought it was. So she tracks down her “husband,” Ben Hutchison, a dot-com refugee living off the grid in the small lake town of Minnow Bay, to finish the deed. But in this quaint, quirky town she discovers not just a place to lay her head, but new friends, new inspiration, and maybe even a new chance to fall in love. THE MATCHMAKER OF MINNOW BAY has been praised as “the perfect feel-good read” (Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author of STARLIGHT ON WILLOW LAKEand “funny, charismatic, romantic, and empowering” (Amy Reichert, author of LUCK, LOVE AND LEMON PIE). It’s the perfect book to cap off your summer reading!

If you haven’t already, pick up a copy, or RETWEET/SHARE this post to enter to win one! (US only; details below.)

Without further ado, here’s our interview with Kelly:

Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?

Katniss Everdeen. She’s an a**-kicker and she doesn’t go in for romance. She’s broody, yes, but I was a broody teen too, and I didn’t live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of government sponsored murder and slavery. So… brood away, Katniss. 

Incidentally, for a long time I would sing the movie version of “The Hanging Tree” to my son at night as part of my lullaby rotation because I like slanting melodies that can’t decide which mode they’re in. I changed all the words to fit the theme “The Climbing Tree.” He thinks it’s a song about kids meeting up to climb a big tree that comes alive in the moonlight. One day he will find out the truth and there will be accusing looks.

What three things would you want with you if stranded on a desert island?

A wheel of Brie, a bottle of Champagne, and a working satellite phone. I know this is a cop-out, but I promise I wouldn’t use the phone until the other two were all gone.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Meditate. There is a certain amount of staring off into space that is part of the work of writing. Sometimes you have all day to do so. However, for many of us, the demands and joys of everyday life require us to schedule our writing here or there, carving hours out of already busy days, and then to try to create on demand in those precious bits of time. I think a regular habit of mindfulness, be it walking, stillness, breath-focused, or even yoga asanas, in which you create a peaceful quiet mind some removed distance away from your mental chatter, can actually reduce the amount of think-time you need before you start getting words on the page. After a bit of meditation, you take out your tools and begin to create. You’ll still stare off into space, but it will be more productive staring.

What talent do you wish you had?

Invisibility. I hate opening and closing my curtains every day.

What’s your next big thing?

I had a busy summer moving to my dream house and launching my new book in between lake days and bike rides and puppy hikes. September I begin to put the shine on an idea that I am so excited about; a story that has more me in it than ever before. A single mother, a drastic change, a magical friendship, and a library full of dreams. I can’t wait to share more!

GIVEAWAY: RETWEET on Twitter, and/or SHARE on Facebook by noon (EST) Friday, August 26th to win a copy of THE MATCHMAKER OF MINNOW BAY (US only). We’ll select and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!

Kelly Harms photoKELLY HARMS is a former editor and literary agent who has worked with a wide array of bestselling and award-winning authors of commercial fiction. She traded New York City for the writing life in Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her adorable and sometimes imperious son Griffin. You can find Kelly on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or email her directly.  


NEWS FLASH–Winding Down Edition

newsCongratulations to Kat Stiles, winner of Louise Miller’s THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING!

Check back next week, where we will announce the winner of this weeks giveaway, Lisa Alber’s WHISPERS IN THE MIST

From the 2016 Debs:

Louise Miller is just coming down off the high of book launch! One of her favorite surprises from this week came from a group of bloggers called The Novel Bakers, who create visual creations inspired by a novel. Here is one of their incredible posts!

Jennifer S. Brown is picking up her kids from sleepaway camp today and she’s super excited to have them home again. She’s been writing away on Book 2 and also was excited to write a blog post on Take the Lead about the importance of female friendships.

Heather Young took her oldest child, her beloved daughter, off to college this past week. She did nothing else, and is exhausted and more than a little sad.

Abby Fabiaschi is writing.

Aya de Leon had a great week in media, and appeared live on KQED Forum and was taped for CBS local’s Black Rennaisance. She also had a strategy conference with her agent and her next project will be a young adult novel…after she finishes edits on THE BOSS and the proposal for the third book in the “Justice Hustlers” series for Kensington.


Books: A Case Study


I’ve never met an avid reader who was also an asshole; I’m convinced the two are mutually exclusive. I’m a white, financially secure, American who empathetically did “the skedaddle” with Jeanette Walls in THE GLASS CASTLE, endured footbinding through Lisa See’s SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN, feared Biafra alongside southeastern Nigerians in HALF OF A YELLOW SUN (Chimamanda Ngozi…
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