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THE MATCHMAKER is my fifth psychological thriller. I get to meet so many wonderful people every day in my day job as a practising psychologist and meet people in my own life whose constantly inspiring lives fuel my imagination. What started as a tale of one woman’s dream of becoming a highly reputed and sought after Matchmaker turned into so much more than I could ever have imagined. Life is complicated at the best of times but always worthy of persevering with. What I’ve come to realise is that not everyone who seems to be content with their life is. People tend to put up a facade that hides what lies beneath; feelings of frustration, and a sense of not belonging in their lives. What happens behind closed doors usually remains there.

What if there was such a person as a Perfect Matchmaker, someone who always gets it right, matching the right people? That was my biggest inspiration for the book and storyline. That and creating an intriguing, fascinating character whose life is full of obstacles yet who manages to rebuild their life not only once but twice. MARCIA BAILEY came to me when I least expected her to. Just like all my characters, she was merely a figment of my imagination, unreal but so very real and relatable to me. The kind of woman I imagined would be the perfect matchmaker, perfect at her job and the envy of her competition. The kind of person clients immediately put their trust in to find them a special person to share life with, a soulmate and love of their lives. I’d been thinking a lot about online dating versus matchmaking, real face to face introductions and the opportunity to meet someone with similar values and aspirations. Falling in love and being loved by that special, one in a million, person is what truly matters more than anything to most of us.

But what qualities must we have to attract the right person and, significantly, what makes The Matchmaker so good at her job? Marcia is a very gifted, intuitive, and experienced matchmaker. She brings her own experiences of life and men with her and knows people, their minds and hearts. You’ll not get that kind of professionalism and insights in online dating. Sure, many find love online but a majority don’t. When I came up with the idea of a real life matchmaker, I researched online dating services and talked with real matchmakers in London, New York and Stockholm. All of them have one thing in common: they know and understand what people want and seek and have vast experience of matters of the heart; who and what works well and not so well.

Marcia Bailey is her own person, unafraid and determined to follow her dreams. Matchmaking comes as natural to her as living her life on her terms and conditions. I asked myself whether it would be possible to have the cake and eat it. If she could live life her way and still have a happy and fulfilled life, her own perfect match and successful career. The MeToo movement didn’t exist when Marcia went through a lot of what women go through all the time. What if everything she endured happened now? Would things be different for her? Is there such a thing as atonement and amending mistakes to become a better person?

The other thing that inspired me to write the story, is how simple it can be to vanish without a trace, even now in a highly technical world. Marcia did just that. She left behind her past not once, but twice and did exactly what she wanted, following her dream and finding the best life for her. But PERFECT LIVES DON’T COME CHEAP. There’s always a price to pay for happiness, love and fulfilment.

I hope you’ll want to read and find out more about Marcia and the people in her life. Perhaps, you’ll find a part of yourself in her and my other characters. I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

The Matchmaker is out now via West Harbour Books

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