Roselle Lim captures hearts with her new novel...plus a book giveaway
|© Shelley Smith|
Roselle Lim is the critically acclaimed author of Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune, and Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop. She lives on the north shore of Lake Erie and always has an artistic project on the go. (Bio adapted from Roselle's website.)
Newly minted professional matchmaker Sophie Go has returned to Toronto, her hometown, after spending three years in Shanghai. Her job is made quite difficult, however, when she is revealed as a fraud—she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In a competitive market like Toronto, no one wants to take a chance on an inexperienced and unaccredited matchmaker, and soon Sophie becomes an outcast.
In dire search of clients, Sophie stumbles upon a secret club within her condo complex: the Old Ducks, seven septuagenarian Chinese bachelors who never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life. (Courtesy of Amazon.)
I wrote this book during the pandemic. I've lost my father-in-law to cancer during that time and yes, there is a palpable thread of melancholy and grief running through this novel. I wanted to make sure I added enough whimsy and humor to offset and balance the underlying tone.
The last few years of the pandemic was so difficult for me personally and I wrote a book reflecting this. It's truer to my overall vision that life isn't perfect and you have to make the best of what you get--with a lot of humour and grace.
How is Sophie similar to or different from you?
Sophie is an optimist and I'm naturally a pessimist. This is the biggest and most fundamental difference between us. She's still able to see all the wonderful possibilities despite the darkness looming overhead. I'd be the one first to shout the sky is falling then hide in a cave I'd have prepared long beforehand. I catastrophize by habit and I swear that I'm trying to break this. Writing about Sophie taught me that joy can be found in unexpected places.
If Sophie Go were made into a movie, which songs would be on the soundtrack?
It has to be all the Beatles songs that I've woven into the entire novel. If I have to narrow it down to five songs: "Here Comes the Sun," "The Long and Winding Road," "Octopus' Garden," "Across the Universe," and "All You Need is Love." These songs accompany or mention important scenes in the book.
Since Sophie is a big fan of sweets, what is your favorite candy?
I'm going to cheat and name my favourite snack instead. Since Sophie also loves her snacks, I think it's a fair swerve. My absolute, would hoard and never share item, is Japanese shrimp rice crackers (ebi senbei). The ones that I adore are infused with cheese. It's about the crunch and the umami. If you haven't tried it yet, you should.
If we were to visit you right now, what are some places you would take us to see?
If you're visiting me in Toronto, I'd take you to Casa Loma, a storybook castle with hidden passages. Then we'd head to Streetsville, a picturesque small town with so much charm in the middle of the city, and the last stop would be outdoor skating rink at Nathan Phillips Square. These places are important to Sophie and Mr. Particular. When you read the book, you'll be able to see how each of these wonderful places contribute to the story.
Which TV series are you currently binge watching?
The Bear!!! I can't gush enough about it. My favorite character is Marcus and I adore him. The series itself was compelling and of course, with all the food/restaurant shots, it was spectacular, albeit stressful in some places. I'm so thrilled that there will be a season two.
Thanks to Roselle for chatting with us, Berkley for coordinating the interview, and BookSparks for sharing her book with our readers!