I love a good romantic-comedy whether it’s presented as a show, film, live theatre, or as a fun read. It’s an escape from all the heavy decisions and news we are faced with in our every day lives. Sure, it’s candy for the brain – an indulgence (only no calories to worry about). My latest read came at the perfect time as I escaped to Lake Como recently. Yes, the land of dazzling handsome men and equally stunning women all soaking in the sun kissed towns that spot the coast. Sigh. Given that I had very limited packing space with one carry-on, it was a no-brainer to downloaded a few titles including The Unmatchmakers — a juicy read by Toronto’s Jackie Lau, onto my Kobo eReader.
This a great end-of-summer love story with a twist on the arranged-relationship trope. From the author of DONUT FALL IN LOVE comes a love story set in the forested paradise of Canadian cottage country that asks the question: can love beat the odds when the odds are two mothers dead-set against it? I had a chance to check in with the author to learn more about this fun read and why she love this genre!
Lead character, Leona, fantasizes of being in relationships but she’s also very aware of her mom’s life and love lessons when it comes to men. Can you tell us more?
Jackie: Leora’s father made promises to her young mother when she got pregnant, then left her high and dry. Her mother has been against relationships ever since and doesn’t believe in romantic fairy tales; her best friends have also had terrible experiences with relationships. She didn’t want her daughter to make the same mistakes she had, and thus, she’s always focused on ensuring Leora was “strong and independent,” according to her own definitions. But Leora has long had romantic daydreams, which provide escapism for her, and she’s had a number of relationships…and this is not the first time her mother has tried to sabotage one.
Summer rom-coms are so fun. What do you love about writing in this genre?
Jackie: I’m very much a summer person! I’ve lived in Canada my whole life, but I hate winter. (Though it’s a great excuse for the characters in a romance to snuggle for warmth.) Summer presents so many opportunities for enjoying the outdoors. And I love writing about people falling in love. Another thing I love writing about are family dynamics, which are an important part of The Unmatchmakers.
Any funny personal matchmaking stories?
Jackie: To be honest…no. Nobody ever tried to play matchmaker for me. I met my now-husband when I was 21, in my final year of university, so maybe it would have been different if I’d been single at an older age.
Your nod to the Canadian summer cottage experience is a refreshing change right down to the butter tarts — with or without raisins!? Oh, the discussions! But do you think Muskoka is having a hot moment? (even, Hollywood types are visiting more)
Jackie: I had not heard that! It was just the obvious place to set the story, as the main characters live in Toronto, like the characters in most of my books. I like writing Canadian settings.
Do you have a recipe for rom-com writing – what are some of your must-haves when forming a story?
Jackie: I really enjoy writing opposites-attract couples. I think they provide tons of opportunity for comedy! And entertaining secondary characters—for me, this usually includes family—are key, too. Plus, there’s got to be something keeping the leads apart…
You’re a Torontonian! What are your favourite summer date places in Toronto?
Since I love food, I’d definitely say going out for ice cream or gelato. There are lots of great places in the city. Also, dinner on a patio! And just wandering around is fun on a nice, warm night. I haven’t been to the island in a long time, but I think that could be a great summer date, too.
If you’re wondering where I stand on raisins in butter tarts, I’m not sure I’ve actually had a butter tart with raisins? But they sound unnecessary to me.
The Unmatchmakers by Jackie Lau, Kobo Original eBook can be downloaded here.