Roselle Lim’s latest book Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club published in August 2022. Roselle 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. You can find her as @rosellewriter on Instagram and Twitter or at www.rosellelim.com.
Synopsis of Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club from the publisher:
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 put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life.
Roselle answers some questions that I posed to her about Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club:
1. What inspired you to start writing Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club?
Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club is born from my love of my grandparents and my hometown, the city of Toronto. When I was growing up, I spent weekends with my grandparents at Asian grocery stores and malls around the city. On rare occasions, we’d visit Chinatown at Broadview downtown and buy fresh blue crabs and other special treats there. Once we’ve all returned home, I loved listening to the clacks of mahjong tiles as my grandparents played multiple rounds. This was there they came to life—they had the funniest stories and a wicked sense of humor. They all passed decades ago and I missed them. When writing this novel, I found a way to reach back and connect with them in a way—to weave my wonderful memories into these characters, giving them echoes of all my fond memories.
2. What kind of research did you have to do?
Before I started this journey, I didn’t know much about modern matchmaking. Traditional matchmaking with its uses in numerology, birth charts, etc. was easier to research. Luckily, I had a friend who is a matchmaker. I interviewed her and she gave me a rundown on current trends and how they pertained to seniors and dating. I learned that they are a growing demographic, and that seniors even though they are married, will live separately, especially if they’ve been widowed in the past. Modern matchmaking is almost a science about compatibility between two people when in contrast, the old ways in general, are more about family compatibility than the individual.
3. Can you share something with me about your book that is not in the blurb?
With my debut and my sophomore novels, I wrote about excellent support systems—loving families (found and by blood) and affectionate parents. Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club is an examination of how parental relationships can be toxic. I wanted to illustrate how expectations, demands, and financial blackmail can contribute to abuse, and how these things can be normalized as reasonable asks. There is an expectation that filial piety, in my culture, overrides the rights of the adult child. I wrote Sophie’s parents as a firm contrast to what I’d written in previous books because this is what life is like—the good and the bad.
4. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
While drafting is my joy, revising is the bane of my existence—though I’m learning to live with it and training myself to like the process better. As a perfectionist, revising brings all of the flaws to light, magnified in all their glory. It should be viewed as an opportunity to fix and polish. One writer friend compared the process of revising in terms of home improvement. To revise is to paint, decorate, and make the space live up to its fullest potential. As I continue to try and love revising, I must remind myself that revisions is closer to the end of the process and for that I’m begrudgingly grateful.
5. What are you reading now and what have you read recently that you loved?
I’m currently reading an ARC of Lauren Kung Jessen’s Lunar Love. The main character is also a matchmaker. These are the books I’ve loved recently: Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy Lin is a fave of mine because of her lyrical prose and atmospheric writing, Kellye Garrett’s Like a Sister which is a very witty mystery, and Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron which is an Emma retelling romance set in Toronto with Desi characters.
Buy Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club at Bookshop.org.