I have been a huge fan of Claudia Carroll's for years, long before I started blogging, and love how supportive she is to bloggers such as myself and always willing to help out. Claudia's new book Meet Me in Manhattan is being published in Ireland on 26th March so when I was planning this feature week I decided to contact Claudia to find out a bit more about it.
Huge thanks to the lovely Sharon at Shaz’s book blog for asking me to visit her wonderful blog to tell you all about my new book. Always a pleasure to talk books and particularly with Sharon, who’s the most avid supporter of authors that I know.
Anyway, my new book is out on March 26th and it’s called Meet Me in Manhattan. And it’s about catfish. The internet kind, that is. Never heard of them? Then lucky you. This clearly means that you’re in a deeply committed relationship and have never had to dip as much as a toe into the murky waters of internet dating.
But I have, you see and my God, did I think there was a story to be told here. Thing is you see, people lie online. All the time. And OK, so you might have the odd little white lie, where you knock of a few years off your age or a few pound off your waistline; everyone seems to be at that and over time, you allow for it.
I’m talking about catfish here, who are people – and it’s woman as we as guys, by the way, and who invent wholly fictitious fake profiles, purely to lure in the unsuspecting. Some of them you see, can be so plausible, that it’s actually scary.
Which is where the germ for Meet Me in Manhattan came from. I wanted to write about a character who the most together woman you could ever meet when it comes to meeting guys online; in fact, if she were ever to be a contestant on Mastermind, Holly Johnson could take ‘dating sites’ as her specialized subject. From Tinder to Elite Singles, she’s tried out them all and although Mr. Right hasn’t pitched up just yet, she’s convinced just a matter of time.
Holly’s main source of pride, however, is that she can spot a catfish – the online kind – a mile off by now. Could practically do it in her sleep, she figures.
Which is when late one lonely night, she gets chatting to one Captain Andy McCoy, via online singles.com. And on paper, he seems just perfect for her. He’s a pilot with Delta airlines, US based and living in Atlanta, but flying in and out of Ireland all the time. Not only that but Andy’s a widower with a six year old son who’s pestering his Dad to ‘go out and find me a new Mom.’
So of course, like any perennially single girl, Holly thinks chi-ching. So here was a guy who had already been married and therefore wasn’t afraid of commitment? This, she decides is the dating holy grail, so she and Andy start messaging, day and night. Messages quickly turn into long, meandering phone calls and pretty soon, Andy becomes the first person she talks to in the morning and the last at night. Her virtual best friend.
Then, as Andy is flying into Dublin for the weekend anyway, they arrange to meet up. But the unthinkable happens and he stands her up. His excuse though, is perfectly plausible. Holly buys it and they arrange to meet up again, one week later. However this time, Holly has to stand him up, as a work catastrophe has just gone stratospheric on her. A third meeting is arranged, but this is where Holly’s best friend - who works for a mobile internet security company- steps in. Why don’t I just run a few small background checks on this guy, she urges. Just to make sure he’s all he says he is.
But when she does, the results shock Holly to her core. Because it turns out that just about everything her ‘Captain Andy’ has ever told her in a downright lie. Ever practical though, Holly decides not to take this lying down. She works as a researcher and like any good journo, she’s on the scent of a story now. Plus as Christmas is coming and she doesn’t have plans, she figures why not track this idiot down and find out exactly what he has to say for himself?
So she hotfoots it all the way to New York where ‘Captain Andy’s’ computer has accurately been traced but when she does, she’s in for the surprise of her life.
And no, I’m not telling you any more! What really inspired me to write Meet me in Manhattan though was the fact that our dating landscape has changed so much in the past few years. And in Ireland not only is the pool to choose from small, but also you’ve got the added problem that everyone knows everyone. If you meet a guy, chances are someone you know will know his sister’s neighbour’s best friend’s granny. It’s easy to get a handle on people here.
But not on dating sites, where as far as I can see it’s like the Wild West. Anything goes and anyone can get away with anything.
Which of course, is a dream come true for a novelist…
Sadly for us in the UK Meet Me in Manhattan will not be available until later in the year but the good news is that there is a free short story In a New York Minute being published on 26th March which is available to pre-order now.